How to Become an Editor

If you are aspiring to make a career in editing, then you will find some useful information here. The very first thing that you need to do though, is decide what kind of industry you would like to be a part of.
If you like reading and have a good command over the English language, then you would surely like to know about making a career in editing. This will open many new career opportunities for you, and it will give you a chance to do something that you are really passionate about. Not everyone is cut out for this job because more than all the qualities mentioned above, it requires a keen eye for detail, and for spotting mistakes, that most casual readers are likely to miss.

One of the prerequisites for becoming an editor is to know all about English grammar and composition, and all its subtleties and nuances. Apart from this, it is also necessary to get the right education. Once you have suitable qualifications and experience, you can even get a job in a major publishing house, or a magazine of your choice.


You can either major in English, or Journalism/Mass Communication, in order to become eligible for the job. If you have a Master's degree in either of the subjects, it will be even better. Remember that you cannot apply for a job unless you went to college.

Although qualifications matter, beyond a certain point, it is your work experience that counts more. If you have worked in the publishing industry before, and if you have done any editing-related job in the past, it will count. Most people get discouraged, when they hear that they need a degree in any of these three fields of study; however, with the right attitude and perseverance, you can overcome a lack of these degrees, as well. Thus, there is no simple answer to what holds more importance because ultimately, it all depends on your sincerity and commitment.

The Difference Between a Publisher and an Editor

You must remember that editing is a sub-profession in the publisher's office, and he/she plays a key role in the publishing process. Thus, a publisher is someone who undertakes all the jobs required, in order to publish a book or a magazine, and an editor is merely a cog in this machine. Without proper editing, the publishing task will be incomplete. Publishing also involves other tasks such as marketing, PR, advertising, printing, getting sponsors, and many other activities.

What Does it Take to Become One

The answer can be divided into various steps, which need to be followed.
  • The very first thing that you need to do is determine what line of work you wish to make a career in. Make a decision between books, magazines, and website content. Within each of these industries, there are many more sub-categories, as well. For example, an editor working for a technology magazine is very different from the one who works on medical journals and education books.
  • Once you know the answer to this question, you must go and do some courses that will help you. If there is a particular field of study that is missing from your CV, you must learn and develop that skill as soon as possible. This may involve short-term English grammar crash courses, technical courses on certain subjects, and even full-time Master's degrees in some cases. You must also remember that the salary is not very high in the beginning, but there is tremendous scope for growth here.
  • The next important thing is to gain some suitable work experience. You must be ready to start small, and work your way up, unless you have some good contacts. In the meantime, keep developing your networking skills, as well; this will open up some new avenues for you. Sooner or later, you will get a big break, and an opportunity to work at a fairly big establishment.
Being an editor is not easy, and it is a pretty grueling and tough task. These steps are similar in all cases, whether you work for a publishing company, a magazine, or a start-up. However, the only difference is that you will need different supplementary skills for each profession, and a lot will depend on your prior work experience.