Editor: Career Summary, Employment Outlook, and Education Requirements

Research what it takes to become an editor. Learn about salary, job skills, employment outlook and degree requirements to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Children`s Book Illustration degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an Editor?

Editors might have managerial duties or work directly with text for websites, periodicals or books. These professionals look to improve the quality of written work by checking for spelling, grammar and punctuation errors. They also make sure a reader can easily understand the meaning of the piece. Editors may also work with writers to help them with their ideas and evaluate writers' submissions for publication. Depending on their place of work, editors can help develop content ideas to match a certain publication style. They can also create space for the text and photos in a story. Editors typically have the final approval of all submitted work. Read about the skills needed for editors and the education necessary for this field, as well as the average salary and the career outlook.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Communications, journalism, English
Key Skills Writing, interpersonal communication, research, attention to detail
Job Growth (2014-2024) -5%*
Average Salary (2015) $64,910*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Do Editors Do?

Editors work for news organizations, book and magazine publishers, trade magazines, technical journals, educational institutions and Internet services. Editors' responsibilities are determined largely by the type and size of their employer and their level on the organizational chart. Some positions involve proofreading, verifying facts, statistics and content editing. These editors are expected to focus on the language itself. Other editors oversee larger segments of the publishing process. This means identifying needs in the market, developing or assessing ideas for coverage, evaluating content, budgeting and managing staff.

What Education Do I Need?

No single degree leads directly to a career as an editor. Publications that cover special-interest areas, such as art or literature, typically require editors to have an advanced degree in that field. However, a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism or a bachelor's degree in English or communications may help you gain the necessary writing and grammatical skills to understand various types of writing and editing.

As a journalism student, you learn to identify multiple research techniques and reporting styles that journalists employ in their writing. You also learn to develop various types of writing such as radio, magazine, newspaper and feature writing. Additional courses in journalism or communication can help you address wider issues in editing such as journalism laws and ethics, public relations management, problems in advertising and media analysis. Many editors gain familiarity with the production side of the publication process by interning in a publisher or newspaper office. Others start out as writers and contribute to a school paper or assist the editor on campus.

What is my Career and Employment Outlook?

As the numbers of online sources and publications increase, editors with technical and Internet proficiency will continue to have an advantage in the job market. However, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that editors would see an employment decrease of 5% between 2014-2024, with the industry losing about 6,200 jobs. The BLS also reported that New York had the highest number of editors, and editors in New York earned an average annual salary of $80,340 in May 2015. According to the BLS, at the same time, editors overall earned an average income of $64,910 a year.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

A few related careers include technical writers; writers and authors; and reporters, correspondents and broadcast news analysts. All of these careers require a bachelor's degree. Technical writers communicate complex and technical information in their writing. Their work may include instruction manuals and detailed journal articles. Writers and authors create content for various media, such as books, songs or advertisements. Reporters, correspondents and broadcast news analysts inform the public about news events, and can work in radio, television, newspaper and more.

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