What Are Entry Level Jobs for an Editor?

Learn about entry level jobs available in the editing field. Get info about job duties and requirements, and see employment outlook and salary information for each position. Schools offering Children`s Book Illustration degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Overviews

Editors usually start out as writers, reporters or assistant editors before becoming an editor responsible for assigning stories, editing copy and maintaining the integrity of a news operation. Read on to find out about these entry-level jobs, including their job duties, employment outlooks and salaries.

Important Facts About Entry Level Editing Jobs

Freelance Writer Reporter Proofreader or Copyeditor
Entry-level Education Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree in journalism or communications Bachelor's degree
Key Skills Writing, creativity and motivation Writing, objectivity and stamina Writing, grammar, attention to detail
Work EnvironmentOffice setting or remotely from homeOn location Office setting or remotely from home
Similar Occupations Public relations specialistAnnouncer Technical writer

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Freelance Writer

Before you become an editor, you may begin your career as a freelance writer and build a portfolio of work. Freelance writers write about a multitude of subjects for a number of different publications, including newspapers, magazines, advertising agencies and other venues, including online content. Usually you would work under contract as a self-employed, independent contractor or you may work on commission. You could work on short-term projects, such as an investigative series.


News organizations often hire reporters to cover general news stories and occasional features. Reporters are assigned stories, follow leads, interview people, research events and observe news at the scene in order to write about it. If you want to be a reporter, you should be able to organize, compile and present information in a way that is both informative and entertaining for your readers.

Large news organizations often use a team of general assignment reporters to cover a variety of news topics, such as accidents, town meetings, community events and business profiles. Smaller news organizations may expect their reporters to do a lot more. Many are required to prepare a story and also take photographs and submit video for online content.

Once you prove yourself, you may be given a beat, which would give you a specific topic that you would cover all the time. It could be politics, sports, local issues or government. Reporters can be promoted to columnist. Columnists are responsible for researching and writing opinion pieces on different topics.

Proofreader or Copy Editor

Proofreaders and copy editors are responsible for making sure that written copy conforms to company style and is grammatically correct. Many print news organizations edit copy to comply with writing style developed by the Associated Press (AP), while other companies develop their own style book. If you want to become a proofreader or copy editor, you must be knowledgeable of your company's style. If you prove yourself as a proofreader or copy editor, you could be promoted to be an assistant or managing editor.

Job Outlook and Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), writer and author employment is expected to increase at an average rate of 8% over the 2016-2026 decade (www.bls.gov). The BLS expects there to be jobs available in online media and public relations. Nonetheless, there will be strong competition.

The pay scale for freelance writers varies from publication to publication. Some pay a set amount per story, while others pay by the word or by the hour. As an independent contractor, you are responsible to pay any income taxes or fees. Some municipalities require you to have a business license. In 2019, PayScale.com reported a median hourly pay of $23.99 for freelance writers. Earnings varied greatly, with the middle 80% making between $10.33 and $55.12 per hour.

The BLS expects a 10% decline in reporter and correspondent employment over the 2016-2026 decade. There will be a lot of competition for jobs as companies hire fewer workers and downsize in the field. However, the BLS does note that you might have better prospects if you work for smaller companies and have experience in multimedia journalism.

In May 2018, the BLS reported a $41,260 mean annual income for reporters and correspondents. The middle 80% made between $23,490 and $100,930 a year. While these professionals earned $35,860 on average working for newspaper, periodical, book and directory publishers, they made a higher average wage of $48,220 working in radio and television broadcasting.

Editor employment in general is not expected to change much over the 2016-2026 decade, according to the BLS. Online media will offer the most job opportunities, while there will be fewer jobs in print media.

Proofreaders and copy markers earned an annual average income of $41,950 in May 2018, according to the BLS. Most of these editorial professionals made between $23,220 and $63,080. Legal services offered one of the highest average wages of $58,370, while proofreaders and copy markers working for newspaper, periodical, book and directory publishers earned an average wage of only $38,020.

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