What are the Different Proofreader Jobs?

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

A proofreader must be an expert in spelling, grammar, and sentence construction. With these abilities, there are many fields that offer proofreader jobs, or positions that require excellent proofreading skills. By taking a proofreader job, a person can play a major part in making written work correct and giving it a more professional appearance.

Proofreaders in Hollywood often provide coverage on scripts.
Proofreaders in Hollywood often provide coverage on scripts.

Many proofreader jobs spill into the category of editing. Magazines, books, and even screenplays need proofreaders to ensure that any published material is correct. Editors may start out as proofreaders and work their way into a mentoring position, helping writers with notes and suggestions as well as basic corrections to grammar and spelling.

Book proofreaders read through a manuscript before publication.
Book proofreaders read through a manuscript before publication.

Writers are paid for their ability to convey ideas, rather than their stellar spelling skills, and can often be absolutely hopeless at proofreading their own work. Before sending it to potential agents or publishers, some may wish to have the manuscript examined for errors. For this reason, there are many proofreader jobs available as writers' assistants. This can be a great job for aspiring writers who want to apprentice themselves to a master.

Freelance and in-house proofreaders can handle books, articles, brochures and other types of printed material.
Freelance and in-house proofreaders can handle books, articles, brochures and other types of printed material.

In Hollywood, proofreader jobs are a fixture of agencies. Tasked not only with checking scripts for errors, proofreaders in the movie world often provide coverage to scripts. This includes writing a basic summary and recommendation of the script. Writing coverage is a coveted job, as it usually allows flexible hours and is paid per script. Many aspiring screenwriters pay the rent doing coverage while learning all they can about good and bad writing.

People who enjoy proofreading may take on side projects during their free time.
People who enjoy proofreading may take on side projects during their free time.

Many administrative assistant or secretarial jobs will contain a heavy proofreading component. In order to ensure that company email and publications look professional, it often falls to assistants to catch any errors missed by busy or careless employers. Offering proofreading skills can be a good way to gain attention and value in an office setting; by making employers look more professional, assistants may be seen as team players and people interested in the welfare of the company.

For those who enjoy working from home, many proofreader jobs are available on the Internet. Websites and blogs often require good proofreader support and allow work to be done over the computer, rather than in an office setting. Many of these jobs allow workers to craft their own schedules and do work whenever they have time available. For proofreaders with families or other jobs, working online can be a great way to supplement income without a rigid schedule.

Proofreaders may tackle multiple projects at once.
Proofreaders may tackle multiple projects at once.
Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a wiseGEEK writer.

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Discussion Comments


@Scrbblchich-- You are right but there are also good, reliable platforms that basically act as the second person between the employer and the proofreader. These are good places to work and of course, there are plenty of websites that are looking for proofreaders and they are not scammers.

I'm a proofreader and I work from home, but I don't take random freelance jobs that may or may not pay. Currently, I'm working with two websites, proofreading their content before they put it up. It's like a regular job in all aspects, except that my office is at home.

It's actually great that there are more opportunities for people like us now, thanks to the internet. Writers and proofreaders have found it easier to get a job without having to move geographically.


@turquoise-- Yes, they do. As you know, universities have various programs and centers within themselves. And many of these centers publish their own work. They may publish articles and pieces written by faculty or students, or they may publish things like weekly newsletters. And university centers do hire proofreaders to make sure that everything is fine before these things are published.

I was a research assistant at a center at my university when I was doing my graduate degree. And we had a proofreader in our office because we were publishing articles written by our faculty members regularly. So she had a full-time job and had to read through everything and make corrections before they were sent out and published.

So basically, any place that publishes written pieces, they have to be working with a proofreader.


Do universities require proofreaders at all?


Getting a job as a writer's assistant is usually a pretty good gig, assuming you've agreed on a fee beforehand, with the provision that the fee can be increased if you run into more work than you thought.

A man paid me $300 for editing his book. It was the worst proofreading job I've ever had. $1 per page was not nearly enough. I went through that book four times and I don't think I got all the blips. Spell check was useless. There's no telling how many hours I spent on that darn book. If you figure I was getting $25 an hour, I spent way, way more than 12 hours on that book. It took me three months to go through it completely. I couldn't believe anyone could write like that, and I supposedly got the manuscript after his wife went through it! Lord knows what it must have looked like before.

So agree on a fee up front, and don't give the manuscript back until you get paid.


A *huge* caveat for people looking for proofreading jobs from home. There are scammers aplenty out there, and they will happily take your money.

If you apply for a proofreading job, know your stuff. You may need to get something like a Chicago Manual of Style or something similar to make sure you're making all the right edits, but nothing takes the place of knowing poor grammar and bad punctuation when you see it.

I'd always recommend a degree in English, with a background in writing, preferably in newspapers, because that kind of training will help hone your skills to an acceptable level.

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