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Do You Need Qualifications to Work as a Proofreader?

Here at Proofreading Academy, we’re often asked whether you need qualifications to become a proofreader. The short answer is, “no.” Qualifications are great, but the only things you need to become a proofreader are knowledge, skills, and experience.

In this post, then, we’ll look at what you do need to proofread effectively.

Do You Need a Degree to Proofread?

Many people think you need an English degree to become a proofreader. And it’s true that studying English is good preparation for proofreading. Some employers might even require you to have a degree (or some other qualification) in a proofreading role.

However, you don’t need a degree to work as a freelance proofreader. What you do need is:

  • An excellent understanding of the English language.
  • Insight into the proofreading process and editing techniques.
  • The ability to follow a brief or style guide.
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Word (and other software if you want to proofread other document types, such as PDFs and slideshow presentations).

And you don’t need to spend years studying for a degree to get these. In fact, you can learn about all of the above by taking the Becoming A Proofreader course.

How to Gain Experience as a New Proofreader

The other key factor for those new to proofreading is experience, as you’ll want to be able to show clients that you’ve achieved good results on similar work before.

If you’re struggling to find work when starting out, then, you can gain experience by:

  • Proofreading documents for friends, family, and colleagues.
  • Volunteering your services or offering a reduced rate to new clients (this is also a good way of getting experience of different types of documents).
  • Doing the practical exercises in the Becoming A Proofreader course.

The more work you do, the more experience you’ll get and the more your proofreading skills will develop. And the better you get, the more clients you’ll get, too.

Other Qualifications and Training

This isn’t to say that extra qualifications and training aren’t worth it. As noted above, an English degree is a great starting point for learning to proofread. And if you want to specialize in a particular area (e.g., academic proofreading for scientific journals), it usually helps to have a relevant qualification or work experience in a similar field.

There are also plenty of dedicated training schemes for proofreaders and editors available (e.g., the materials provided by professional societies such as the CIEP and EfA).

However, none of these are necessary in order to start a career in freelance proofreading.

Becoming A Proofreader

You don’t need qualifications to become a proofreader. All you need is the Becoming A Proofreader course. Developed by proofreaders and editors with years of experience, the course covers all the skills and knowledge you need to start working as soon as you finish.

Even better, if you pass the course with a score of 80% or higher, you are guaranteed work with our partner company, Proofed. Sign up for a free trial today to find out more.

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