Online Class: Proofreading and Copyediting 101

If you are looking for a new career path or if you are a writer who wants to improve your writing skills, learning how to proofread and copyedit with our easy to follow, in-depth course, may be just what you need.

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Course Description

Become a Skilled Proofreader or Copyeditor
If you're looking for a new career path or if you're a writer who wants to improve your writing skills, learning how to proofread and copyedit with our easy to follow, in-depth course, may be just what you need.  Learning these specialized skills will help improve your overall writing ability and may provide a career path that is both lucrative and in high demand.  In today's world, proofreaders and copyeditors are sought after not only in the corporate environment and Internet-related ventures, but also by start-up companies, small businesses, and entrepreneurs. Freelance proofreading jobs are bountiful, and many companies offer work-from-home opportunities as an additional benefit.
This online course will cover:
  • Exactly what proofreading and copyediting will entail.
  • The tools you need to be an efficient proofreader or copyeditor.
  • The basic skills you need to learn, taught to you in an easy-to-understand manner.
  • Step-by-step instruction on how to proofread or copyedit.
  • How to apply your newly learned skills. 
  • Tips to make you a professional proofreader or copyeditor with just a little practice.
  • How to proofread and copyedit different kinds of writing such as fiction, blogs and articles.
  • How to proofread and copyedit your own work.
  • How to secure employment as a proofreader or copyeditor.
  • How to start your own proofreading or copyediting business upon completion of the course.
  • Current salary information.
  • Practice exercises to implement your new skills.
This course is designed for everyone, regardless of education, experience, or background.  No matter who you are or what you want to achieve in life, gaining proofreading and copyediting skills will improve your written communications, help you think more clearly, and perhaps start you on the road to a brand new career.

How much can I earn as an online proofreader?

While the amount can vary drastically depending on the type of writing you proofread (for example: personal blogs vs. scientific articles), full-time online proofreaders can make anywhere from $50,000 - $75,000 annually. As a freelancer, you can make anywhere from $20.00 / hour to $60.00 / hour, depending on the content, your accuracy/experience, and speed of delivery. The more experience you have professionally as a proofreader with a track record of providing quality editing services, the more money you will make. Keep in mind that most proofreading jobs now are fully remote, so you will be doing this work in the comfort of your home, on your own time with no commuting costs.

Do I need a college degree to pursue a career in proofreading?

No, technically you do not need a college degree to be a proofreader. If you have years of writing and editing experience already, for example, that would have more weight than an English degree (with little experience). Some full-time, salaried proofreading positions may require a college degree, that is up to the company's hiring policies. But to become a freelance proofreader or copyeditor doesn't require any degree. If you have a college degree already but not in the field of Language Arts, that's fine as well. You don't need to return to college to get a degree in writing and editing in order to become an effective and successful proofreader. You do need to know (or learn) everything a proofreader does and you must have above average proofreading and editing skills to be a successful professional proofreader in the long-term, and this course will show you everything the job entails and all the required skills employers will expect of you.

Who should take this proofreading course?

This proofreading course is for anyone interested in proofreading and copyediting as a career or as a freelancing gig. This course is a practical and comprehensive guide to becoming a professional proofreader. It reviews specific job requirements and provides exercises to build understanding and mastery of proofreading requirements. While this course does include proofreading exercises as well as what proofreading and grammar skills proofreaders will really need to know, it is not specifically a grammar and punctuation course. In other words, your motive to take this course should be because you want to become a proofreader (one that gets paid), and that you already have great grammar/writing/editing skills or you have a love for writing and editing already and want to earn a living using these skills. If you are looking to improve your writing, grammar, and punctuation skills, UniversalClass offers several grammar courses that will help you build and refine those skills.

What are the benefits of taking this course?

There are many benefits to taking this course. Besides the obvious benefits of learning what a proofreader does, what a copyeditor does, and all the editing rules and guidelines you must know and follow, you'll also learn what specific editing skills you need to work on and refine, as well as how to advertise your services and how to find (and land) freelancing gigs. If you are planning to pursue proofreading and copyediting professionally, you'll want to register for the CEU Certificate version of the course so that you can list formal training on your resume. Upon successful completion of the certificate course, you can add the CEU credential to the "Professional Development" section of your resume. This will alert potential clients that you actually know how to follow proofreading standards and that you can create and adhere to the client's style sheets and style guides.

Course Motivation

Whether or not you want to take a new career path and become a copyeditor or proofreader is irrelevant at this point.  This course will teach you all you need to know about proofreading and copyediting, and we'll discuss career paths after we learn these fields.  For now, however, let's concentrate on you and your writing.  Let's focus on how improving your proofreading and copyediting skills will improve the way you present yourself on paper, no matter what you write.  Truthfully, even if you do want to become a professional proofreader or copyeditor, presenting yourself well on paper is something you must be able to do just to be considered for a job.

Think about it for a minute.  Copyediting and proofreading are two skills you cannot afford to be without because they will help to increase your communication skills so that you can get what you want out of your words and your life. 

Here are some ways you can utilize proofreading and copyediting skills in your career and life:

  • In e-mails.  If you've ever sent out an e-mail that is work-related (most of us have), then you know how important it is that those e-mails sound professional at all times.  Professionalism is more than in the wording, however.  It extends to grammar and punctuation.  Being able to proofread or copyedit important e-mails will improve your image to customers, coworkers, and most importantly, bosses who may be considering you for the next big promotion.
  • Web pages and other Internet documents.  Have you ever visited a site that was worded very poorly or filled with typos?  Before you blame it on the laziness of the author, think again.  Proofreading and editing your own work can be the most challenging task to do if you don't know how to do it properly.  The truth is that when we write something, it's in our heads just as much as it's on paper.  It's easy to read something as you see it in your mind and not on the screen in front of you.
  • At work.  If you've ever been asked to write a report, create a newsletter, memo, or any other form of communication in the workplace, learning how to proofread and edit your own work will make whatever you write more professional and earn you even more respect. It's just like with e-mails. 
  • Correspondence.  Do you write a lot of letters? Whether they are personal or professional, the last thing you want is to have unclear thoughts or misspelled words.  Learning how to proofread and copyedit your letters will help you present your thoughts  more clearly and eliminate misconceptions. 
  • For creative writing endeavors.  Maybe you want to be a writer and publish creative works.  Let me tell you something, "Don't fool yourself into believing that if you have a great story or novel, the editor won't care if it needs a lot of cleaning up."  It's just like getting dressed in the morning.  If your outfit doesn't match, you don't look good.  If a great story is mismatched with unclear thoughts and other errors, the story itself does not look good.  That's the bottom line.  You need to sharpen your proofreading and copyediting skills before you even think of trying to publish a body of work.
  • For a new career or career advancement.  If you want to be a professional proofreader or copyeditor, you need to learn how to do the job correctly.  This course will provide you with enough instruction to start your career and give you the skills you need to adequately proofread or copyedit any body of work.  The more you apply these skills, the better you're going to be.

 Proofreading and Copyediting Defined  

Now that we've established how many ways that proofreading and editing skills can be applied to your everyday life, let's define what they actually are.

The biggest misconception that most people have is in believing that proofreading and copyediting are basically the same thing.  While they are similar in nature, they are not the same by any means.  There is a big difference between the tasks of a proofreader as compared to the tasks of a copyeditor.  It's why, if you go through job listings, you will see some positions open for copyeditors and some for proofreaders, but never just one single position for a "proofreader and copyeditor." 

Proofreading is done after a body of work is completed, but before it goes to press or is distributed.  To put it simply, it's the last step taken in the completion of the work.  A proofreader's job is to scan text for grammar, syntax, and punctuation errors. The meanings of words and terminology are not important to proofreaders.  Their job focuses on the accurateness of the text and the layout in a body of work that is otherwise finished and ready to be published or distributed. 

While proofreaders concentrate on the form of the complete text, copyeditors concentrate on the details and terminology in a manuscript or draft. Copyeditors check for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors in text that hasn't yet been formatted.  Although the text they check is never just a rough draft, it's considered a less-than-final version until it's been edited.
The copyeditor is expected to ensure that the text flows, that it is sensible, fair, and accurate, and that it will provoke no legal problems for the publisher. 

Copyeditors do fact checking and they question terms that raise doubts or that aren't familiar to them.  Although copyeditors don't always implement the changes, they always note the changes for the author to make.  They also look for consistency in a body of work.  If a maid is referred to as a maid in one chapter, the copyeditor makes sure that the author does not switch to servant when making references to the same person in subsequent chapters. 

We will delve into the details of copyediting and proofreading later in this course, but for now you need to know that a copyeditor's task is in the individual details.  A proofreader's task, on the other hand, is in the final and overall presentation of the body of work.

In Conclusion
Copyediting and proofreading skills are two things that will advance your communication skills and make everything you write more professional and effective.  Now that you understand the definitions of both jobs, throughout the rest of this course, we'll delve into the details and teach you how to copyedit and proofread your own work or that of others.  No matter if you want to just improve your skills or start a new career, you're going to learn all you need to know in this course.  Good luck!
  • Completely Online
  • Self-Paced
  • 6 Months to Complete
  • 24/7 Availability
  • Start Anytime
  • PC & Mac Compatible
  • Android & iOS Friendly
  • Accredited CEUs
Universal Class is an IACET Accredited Provider

Course Lessons

Average Lesson Rating:
4.4 / 5 Stars (Average Rating)
"Extraordinarily Helpful"
(12,627 votes)

Lesson 1. Introduction to Proofreading and Copyediting

This lesson describes how you can use proofreading and copyediting skills in your career. 30 Total Points
  • Lesson 1 Video
  • Lesson discussions: Course Background Information Survey; Reasons for Taking this Course
  • Complete Assignment: An Introduction
  • Complete: Assignment 1: Proofreading and Copyediting
  • Assessment: Lesson 1 Exam

Lesson 2. The Use of Style Sheets and Style Guides in Proofreading and Copyediting

This lesson defines style guides and sheets and demonstrates their importance in copyediting and proofreading. 50 Total Points
  • Lesson 2 Video
  • Lesson discussions: Style Sheets and Style Guides
  • Complete: Assignment 2: Style Sheets and Style Guides
  • Assessment: Lesson 2 Exam

Lesson 3. Finding the Appropriate Style Guides

This lesson explains different style guides available and their importance in relation to the content you are proofreading. Additional lesson topics: Research Guides 39 Total Points
  • Lesson 3 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 3: Print and Online Style Guides
  • Assessment: Lesson 3 Exam

Lesson 4. How to Create and Use a Style Sheet

This lesson describes how to create and use a style sheet as a copyeditor or proofreader. 55 Total Points
  • Lesson 4 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 4: Creating Style Sheets
  • Assessment: Lesson 4 Exam

Lesson 5. Proofreaders' Marks and How They Are Used to Copyedit and Proofread

This lesson describes what proofreaders' marks are and how to use them to copyedit or proofread bodies of work. Additional lesson topics: Common Writing Mistakes; Decline and Fall of the Ligature 49 Total Points
  • Lesson 5 Video
  • Lesson discussions: Proofreaders' Marks
  • Complete: Assignment 5: Proofreaders' Marks
  • Assessment: Lesson 5 Exam

Lesson 6. Your Job as a Proofreader

This lesson outlines the tasks performed by a proofreader. Additional lesson topics: Proofreading Skills 39 Total Points
  • Lesson 6 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 6: Proofreader's Responsibilities
  • Assessment: Lesson 6 Exam

Lesson 7. How to Proofread

Learn how to be an efficient and capable proofreader. Additional lesson topics: Five Grammatical Errors; Proofreading test; Proofreading Tips 49 Total Points
  • Lesson 7 Video
  • Review 5 Practice Worksheets
  • Complete: Assignment 7: Proofreading Tips
  • Assessment: Lesson 7 Exam

Lesson 8. Proofreading Practice

This lesson contains proofreading practice exercises and assignments. Additional lesson topics: Proofreading Exercise; Proofreading Quizzes 54 Total Points
  • Lesson 8 Video
  • Review 4 Practice Worksheets
  • Complete: Assignment 8: Proofreading Practice
  • Assessment: Lesson 8 Exam

Lesson 9. The Job of a Copyeditor

This lesson defines the individual tasks that a copyeditor completes when editing a body of work. 50 Total Points
  • Lesson 9 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 9: Copyeditor Job Types
  • Assessment: Lesson 9 Exam

Lesson 10. How to Copyedit

Learn how to copyedit different types of content (copy). Additional tips on being an effective copyeditor. Additional lesson topics: Copyediting exercise 40 Total Points
  • Lesson 10 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 10: Copyediting Newspapers and Magazines
  • Assessment: Lesson 10 Exam

Lesson 11. Copyediting Practice

Practice being a copyeditor with these lesson assignments and exercises. 47 Total Points
  • Lesson 11 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 11: Copyediting Practice
  • Assessment: Lesson 11 Exam

Lesson 12. How to Copyedit or Proofread Your Own Work

Learn how to successfully copyedit and proofread your own work. 48 Total Points
  • Lesson 12 Video
  • Lesson discussions: Proofreading/Copyediting Your Own Work
  • Complete: Assignment 12: Copyediting Your Own Work
  • Assessment: Lesson 12 Exam

Lesson 13. Copyediting or Proofreading as a Career

Know the skills and education required to work as a proofreader or copyeditor within a company or as a freelancer. 56 Total Points
  • Lesson 13 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 13: Education and Skills of Proofreader/Copyeditor
  • Complete: Final Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 13 Exam

Lesson 14. Final Exam

Final Exam 48 Total Points
  • Lesson discussions: Your Opinion Matters: Course Rating; Course Comments; Program Evaluation Follow-up Survey (End of Course)
  • Assessment: Final Exam
Total Course Points

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Understand the use of style sheets and style guides in proofreading and copyediting.
  • Demonstrate matching the appropriate style guides for various project types.
  • Demonstrate how to create and use a style sheet.
  • Describe proofreaders' marks and how they are used to copyedit and proofread.
  • Describe your job as a proofreader.
  • Demonstrate basic proofreading skills.
  • Describe the job of a copyeditor.
  • Demonstrate basic copyediting skills.
  • Describe methods for copyediting and proofreading your own work.
  • Summarize copyediting or proofreading career opportunities.
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

Additional Course Information

Online CEU Certificate
  • Document Your Lifelong Learning Achievements
  • Earn an Official Certificate Documenting Course Hours and CEUs
  • Verify Your Certificate with a Unique Serial Number Online
  • View and Share Your Certificate Online or Download/Print as PDF
  • Display Your Certificate on Your Resume and Promote Your Achievements Using Social Media
Document Your CEUs on Your Resume
Course Title: Proofreading and Copyediting 101
Course Number: 57700121
Lessons Rating: 4.4 / 5 Stars (12,627 votes)
Languages: English - United States, Canada and other English speaking countries
Availability: This course is online and available in all 50 states including: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, and Washington.
Last Updated: July 2022
Course Type: Self-Paced, Online Class
CEU Value: 1.1 IACET CEUs (Continuing Education Units)
CE Accreditation: Universal Class, Inc. has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
Grading Policy: Earn a final grade of 70% or higher to receive an online/downloadable CEU Certification documenting CEUs earned.
Assessment Method: Lesson assignments and review exams
Syllabus: View Syllabus
Course Fee: $95.00 U.S. dollars

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Student Testimonials

  • "I thought it was an excellent course. Your feedback was constructive and timely. Thank you very much." -- Charles M.
  • "This course was a great experience, the first online I have taken. I found the lessons, support, and ease of navigation on the site very approachable, comprehensive and well explained. The instructor was readily available, extremely prompt in grading, and quick to answer questions and recommendations. I would highly recommend him and hope I have the pleasure of his guidance in the next course. In addition, the reasonable price makes it very affordable." -- Sulane B.
  • "This proofreading/copyediting course was great! The lessons provided made me think about the job I would be doing when I eventually am hired! Knowing the more I practice, the better I will get, and the more hireable I become makes me want to do the practice lessons repeatedly." -- Amanda D.
  • "It was a very helpful course. I have already begun incorporating what I have learned in my daily writing assignments. Thank you for your comments on my work. They kept me focused." -- Denise S.
  • "This course was excellent and answered all the questions I had regarding proofreading and copyediting." -- Diane H.
  • "I found this course to be extremely informative. It provided valuable tools needed to perform the task." -- Stephanie H.
  • "Great lessons! Reinforced previous knowledge and help discover tips and tools to continue building on." -- Faylee F.
  • "First off, I want to say thank you to Universal Class for providing such great instruction in Proofreading and Copyediting, and at a very affordable price. From the overall ease of the signing up for the course, to the navigation of the site, I found it to be a great experience. I learned so much about how to be a better writer, as well as areas that needed improvement with supporting materials to have as a reference later on. I would highly recommend Universal Class to others, and I plan to return for additional courses as a way to improve my skills both personally and professionally. My last comment is about Daphnee St. Val, a wonderful instructor that provided helpful feedback and tips on how to move forward. She made recommendations on materials to support my efforts to become a better writer as well. I give Daphnee a 10+!" -- Elena O.
  • "I'm very satisfied with the knowledge acquired through this course. The step by step lesson flow made it easier to understand the requirements of both proofreading and copyediting." -- James O.
  • "I really enjoyed this course. It was just the right amount of information in easy to digest bites. I would definitely recommend to anyone interested in the topic." -- Amber L.
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