How to become an Editor

This article provides in-depth information into What is an Editor? What Editors do? Degrees for Editors, Steps to become Editor and much more.

Editors ensure the written quality of print and online publications. Their duties might include reading manuscripts, making sure that a writer's formatting fits house style guidelines, correcting grammatical or factual errors, and making suggestions for improvement. They may also be responsible for selecting articles or manuscripts for publication, assisting with design layout, and overseeing other aspects of publication. Here is an article which details on how to become an editor and what you can expect while pursuing this career path. 

What does an Editor do ?

Content Editors are responsible for all aspects of content, which includes development, design, production, presentation, evaluation, and analysis. They will use data and feedback from users to help evaluate and enhance the value of a set of written materials and websites.

  • Prepare, rewrite and edit copy to improve readability, or supervise others who do this work.

  • Read copy or proof to detect and correct errors in spelling, punctuation, and syntax.

  • Allocate print space for story text, photos, and illustrations according to space parameters and copy significance, using knowledge of layout principles.

  • Plan the contents of publications according to the publication's style, editorial policy, and publishing requirements.

  • Verify facts, dates, and statistics, using standard reference sources.

  • Review and approve proofs submitted by composing room prior to publication production.

  • Develop story or content ideas, considering reader or audience appeal.

  • Oversee publication production, including artwork, layout, computer typesetting, and printing, ensuring adherence to deadlines and budget requirements.

  • Comply with media law and ethical guidelines.

  • Meet deadlines and budget requirements

  • Arrange for copyright permissions.

  • Make manuscript acceptance or revision recommendations to the publisher.

Steps for becoming an Editor


Pursue Your Editing Interests

The first step to becoming an editor involves identifying and pursuing specific editorial work. Prospective editors should identify what type of editorial work they wish to do. For example, fashion magazine editors should have an interest in fashion, whereas book editors should enjoy literature. Other specialty areas include medical and legal publishing. Identifying the industry in which one wants to work may help prospective editors determine what training they need.


Earn A Bachelor's Degree

The second step to becoming an editor centers around earning a bachelor's degree. A college education is required for most editing jobs. Although it's possible for someone who demonstrates strong writing and editorial skills to train on the job, a bachelor's degree in English, communications or journalism is often a prerequisite for one seeking to become an editor.


Acquire Supplemental Skills

The third step to becoming an editor involves acquiring supplemental skills. Since most editing is done on a computer, prospective editors also might take classes in computers, graphic design, and Web content management, which can help them to better understand specific editing issues, such as layouts and character limits. Because more and more manuscripts are being submitted in electronic format, it's important for editors to have a working understanding of computers and editing software.


Gain Work Experience

The fourth step to becoming an editor consists of gaining work experience. Entry-level editorial positions in publishing houses or with news organizations can allow aspiring editors to gain professional experience. Recent graduates often start out as editorial assistants or may begin their careers as writers and then advance to work under, or as, an editor-in-chief.

Editor Salaries


Editor Degree Levels


An associate degree in professional writing and editing builds professional writing and editing skills in students. Students will develop a solid grounding in the use of language, grammar, and punctuation, which will assist them writing, proofreading, and editing.

Editing for Writers
  • Techniques of editing

  • Rules of language clarity

  • Basic proofreading and copyediting techniques

  • Investigate and apply editing techniques in a range of writing contexts

  • Investigate and apply proofreading techniques

  • Investigate and apply the use of appropriate punctuation and grammar

Editing Techniques
  • Tone and style

  • substantive editing of text

  • Editing for completeness, accuracy, and consistency

  • Appraise a variety of written material to be edited

  • Investigate and apply industry principles of grammar, syntax, spelling, and punctuation

  • Review, refine and amend texts to enhance the clarity of written communication

Editing for Publication
  • Editing pre-production techniques for publication

  • Appraising manuscripts

  • Processes for checking references, copyright, and other factors required for publication

  • Critically analyze the role of editor, publishing team and the author-editor relationship

  • Investigate and apply industry principles of structural editing, proof-reading, clarity, and layout

  • Analyze, evaluate, and apply advice and editorial input


A bachelor’s degree in journalism provides a solid education for anyone wishing to work as an editor. Journalism programs require students to learn graphic design, story writing, and copyediting. Students also take courses in media ethics and media law. Journalism students also often serve as writers and editors for the school newspaper, and that experience transfers well to the professional world.

Media Content Creation
  • Creation of a digital portfolio

  • Basic audio editing techniques using Adobe Audition

  • Photography framing and composition

  • Apply key audio and video concepts essential to media content creation

  • Demonstrate the role of sound and vision in telling non-fiction stories

  • Implement audio, video and photographic output for publication

Introduction to Media Studies
  • Media Texts and Analysis

  • Audiences and Representations

  • Media Representations of Gender, Sexuality, Class, and Race

  • Introduce students to the major concepts in media studies

  • Equip students with theoretical tools for critically analyzing media

  • The ability to relate specific texts to broader social contexts

Global Media Industries
  • Globalisation, cultural intelligence and media imperialism

  • Verbal, non-verbal and mediated intercultural communications

  • Content creation and distribution

  • Evaluate and enhance media, information and cultural literacies

  • Analyse global trends and local contexts in various media industries

  • Effectively communicate in contexts of cultural diversity


A master’s degree in Writing, Editing, and Publishing locates you in a rich arts environment with a strong vocational emphasis. You will learn how to write and edit academic papers, business documents, fiction, non-fiction, review, and many other genres. You will also gain knowledge about the ever-changing landscape of the international publishing industries.

  • The writing style and the news story

  • The characteristics of feature articles

  • Opportunities for publication

  • Identify and critically evaluate the functions and conventions of journalistic reporting

  • Demonstrate practical hard news writing skills

  • Initiate, plan, research, and produce a feature article of publishable standard

Research for Writers
  • Research for Journalism and Media

  • Conventions of publishing

  • Publication Opportunities

  • Identify and critically evaluate a range of creative research methodologies

  • Demonstrate practical skills in collecting, collating, and synthesizing research data

  • Conceptualise, methodologies, collate data, contextualize, and produce a writing project

Script Adaptation: Stage, Screen and Multimedia
  • Theories of adaptation

  • Determining structure through journeys, acts, and beats

  • Developing character

  • Critique the rationale for adaptations of existing and future works

  • Identify the various theoretical approaches to adaptation

  • Envision, plan, and compose an adaptation of their own from a source text