What does an Editor do?

By Jordan Fabel •  Updated: January 5, 2022  •  8 min read  •  Creative
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Do you love words and reading? Are you considering a career as an editor? If you are, you should understand what an editor does.

There are many different types of editors, with different job duties. Let’s look closely at what an editor does and answer the question, what does an editor do, along with others.

What does an Editor do?

What is an Editor?

An editor is someone that reads critically. They look for ways to refine a story, an article, or any other text. It’s common for editors to work for publications, freelance, and for many other types of companies.

As an editor, you won’t just be looking for spelling and grammatical errors. In fact, this might not be a part of your job. Instead, you will be looking for ways to improve or polish the story for the reader.

What does an Editor do?

Editors have many responsibilities. Often, they are responsible for checking facts, along with spelling and grammar. They may also be responsible for making sure an article fits the in-house style guide.

As an editor, you will also cut out content when it doesn’t fit. You may be responsible for polishing an article to focus on specific areas, as well. Some of the job duties may include:

Your actual job duties will be determined by the type of editor you become. They may include all or some of the above, along with other job duties.

Different Types of Editors

1. Beta Readers

A beta reader is an entry-level editing position. you don’t have to have much editing experience, or any, to become a beta reader. your job will be to read the material and provide an opinion.

Beta readers provide feedback for authors. They may have to fill out a survey or questionnaire about the material. The duties of a beta reader are very similar to those of a focus group for a product.

2. Proofreader

A proofreader is a type of editor specifically looking for typos, spelling errors, and grammatical errors. They are usually used during the final stages before publishing.

When you work as a proofreader, you may provide a little bit of feedback. however, you won’t be looking to change the story. Instead, you will be looking for mistakes in the spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

3. Content Editor

A content editor will look at everything within the written text. Whether it’s a book or an article, they will look at the story being told, the characters, the plot, and more. They will be responsible for making sure the writing is accurate and fits the audience.

Content editors will do extensive editing. They will make sure the content is high in quality and very engaging. Some will even look at the marketing strategy of the writing.

4. Associate Editor

A common position for editors at a magazine or newspaper, an associate editor may also be called a section editor. They will be responsible for seeking out content for publication.

As an associate editor, you will read and review materials. You will choose topics that fit best with the readers and make some tweaks to the content. The goal of an associate editor is to choose the right content for the publication.

5. Copy Editor

You might be called a line editor if you are a copy editor. This position is a type of editor that looks at the grammar, formatting, spelling, and facts of the written content. Copy editors pay close attention to grammar and punctuation. They must be familiar with many different writing styles.

6. Contributing Editor

Another type of editor, a contributing editor will provide services for a newspaper or magazine. They are a bit of a roving editor that will work on what they want. They may also contribute to the publication regularly.

7. Online Editor

A term used to describe any type of editor for online content, an online editor looks for errors in websites, blogs, and other online content. They usually work as freelancers. As an online editor, you will be looking for grammatical and spelling errors, along with providing feedback for the content.

You can also climb the ladder and become a chief editor or an editor-in-chief. These positions are at the top of the food chain for the editing world.

Requirements to Become an Editor

1. Get a Bachelor’s Degree

You will need a bachelor’s degree to become an editor. Most editors will have a degree in journalism, communications, or English. If you want to become an editor, focus on learning about sentence structure, grammar, and spelling, while getting your degree.

2. Gain Experience

You will need some experience to become an editor. You can get experience working for your high school newspaper or college publication. Internships are also a good place to gain experience. Many editors start as writers or journalists before becoming an editor.

3. Consider a Graduate Degree

If you want to climb the ladder or work as a book editor, you might need a graduate degree. While it’s not required, it can help you land the job you really want as an editor.

With the right education and experience, you can become an editor.

Common Skills Editors Need to Develop

As an editor, whether for books or a publication, you will need the right skill. Some of the common skills you should develop include:

There are many skills to develop if you want to become an editor. Focus on these main skills and you will be better prepared for this career.

Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming an Editor

How much can I make as an editor?

The average salary of an editor, according to Indeed.com, is about $52K per year. However, your salary will depend on the type of editor you become and where you work. Some locations, such as San Francisco, Austin, Chicago, and New York City tend to pay a higher salary.

Your salary will also be determined by your experience. new editors won’t make as much as those with experience. According to TheBalancecareers.com, if you become a book editor, you can earn anywhere from $31K to about $115K per year.

Entry-level positions won’t pay as much. For example, an editorial assistant or copy editor will make around $22 per hour. As you gain experience, you can earn more and earn promotions in the editing industry.

What type of work environment do editors enjoy?

Most editors will work in an office environment. However, a growing number of editors are working as freelancers or for employers from home. It has become rather common for editors to work from home. Since you don’t need any special equipment, you can easily work from home with the right computer and publishing software.

What type of hours do editors work?

Most editors work full-time with regular office hours. They may work a 9-to-5 schedule most of the time with some overtime when deadlines are approaching. Some editors will work more than just 40 hours per week and late hours can become common in this field.

Is this a high-demand career?

It really depends on how you look at this career, whether it’s in high demand or not. If you look at print media, it has been unchanged for many years. However, the online world of content has exploded. More and more editors are needed for online content in today’s work environment.

Becoming an editor is a good career choice for the right person. You must love to read and you will need to be able to catch mistakes. Learning what an editor does will help you make a decision for your career.

If you decide you want to become an editor, you will likely spend at least four years in college. Then, you will need to gain some experience and work your way up to this position. Once you become an editor, it can be a very rewarding career.

Jordan Fabel

Jordan Fabel

Covering different 'paths' that people's lives can take. Creative, foster parent, ticket dismissal, you get the idea. Exploring the requirements, certifications, exams, and obviously, approved courses along each path.