Copy Editors

An Author Looking Over a Copyedited Manuscript

Copy editors, sometimes called line editors, read manuscripts for correct grammatical usage and spelling. They edit the manuscripts to conform to the publisher's style, which includes such points as capitalization, abbreviations, and the use of numbers. They polish the writing style, make sure the style and structure is consistent throughout the manuscript, and flag the text with questions about details that may need elaboration or clarification from the writer. Magazine and book publishers, newspapers, newsletters, corporations of all kinds, advertising agencies, radio stations, television stations, and Internet sites employ copy editors. There are approximately 96,690 editors (including copy editors) employed in the United States.

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Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) Line Editors
Duties Read printed material of all types to check for accuracy, correct grammar, and appropriate style; use appropriate proofreaders' marks to note areas in the text to be corrected; use computer files or online content management systems to make corrections to manuscripts and other materials
Salary Range $25,000 to $100,000+
Work Environment Primarily Indoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Primarily major urban areas and publishing hubs such as Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York
Minimum Education Level
  • Bachelor's Degree
School Subjects
  • English
  • History
  • Journalism
Experience Internship or volunteer service; on-the-job training
Personality Traits
  • Artistic
  • Enterprising
  • Hands On
  • Organizational
  • Research
  • Writing
Certification or Licensing None
Special Requirements None
Employment Prospects Fair
Advancement Prospects Fair
Outlook Decline
Career Ladder
  • Managing Editor
  • Project Editor
  • Copy Editor
  • Proofreader
  • Editorial Assitant