Interested in becoming a proofreader while working from the comfort of your own home? This guide will help get you started (with real examples).
Online Proofreading Jobs for Beginners
If you're a wordsmith, becoming a freelance writer isn't your only option for finding work online. Proofreading and copy-editing might be attractive opportunities for you.
This type of work has become increasingly popular as a work-from-home job, especially for those who understand grammar and punctuation. And of course, the fact you get to enjoy all the benefits of working from home (or anywhere you choose) is a much-welcome bonus.
Online proofreading jobs are certainly an attractive way to make money, but is it right for you? Keep reading to find out.
What is Proofreading?
A lot of people tend to confuse copy-editing and proofreading. While the work requires much of the same skills (and we'll be helping you to find both opportunities to help you broaden your horizons), the two are not entirely synonymous.
While copy-editing is one of the first steps in the editing process, proofreading is the last. As a copy-editor (or line editor, general editor, etc.), you'll be actively correcting grammatical errors in syntax, sentence structure, paragraphing, punctuation, and more. But as a proofreader, all you need to do is point out any lingering mistakes plaguing the text.
Legit Places to Find Online Proofreading Jobs
We'll take a more in-depth look at the exact skills necessary to work as a proofreader, as well as where to learn those skills and what general income potential to expect, later in this guide.
For now, let's focus on finding work.
There are a few different approaches you can take, each best suited to a particular type of proofreading job (academic, legal, fiction, etc.). To help take the effort out of the search for you, we've gathered a list of legit places to find online proofreading jobs.
Proofreading Jobs for Absolute Beginners
If you've got no previous experience as a proofreader (or only very little), there are many sites that won't be willing to hire you.
But that doesn't mean there aren't any opportunities whatsoever. In fact, there are quite a few companies offering proofreading services that are willing to take on absolute beginners; giving you the chance to shine.
Here's a list of our best recommendations. Wherever possible, we included the pay rate you can expect to receive.
While you don't need to have any prior experience as an editor or proofreader, CACTUS Communications does have some strict requirements in terms of your education level. Pay is generally between $14 and $19 an hour.
The pay is ridiculously low at just $0.25 per 100 words, but you won't need to have any prior experience to apply for a proofreading position at Domainite. If you're able to work at the industry-standard of +/- 3,000 words an hour, that translates to the Federal minimum wage of $7.50/hour.
Gramlee is “always looking for exceptional editors,” but it doesn't seem like past experience is a strict requirement. While they charge clients $0.02/word, Gramlee doesn't disclose how much of that fee gets paid to their editors.
Although they aren't currently hiring (but will be again in the future), Kibin offers copy-editing and proofreading services 24/7. This means freelancers can enjoy a steady stream of work and earn up to $19,000 a year.
Another company that isn't hiring editors at present, Kirkus gives preference to editors and proofreaders familiar with the Chicago Manual of Style. It seems you don't necessarily need to have experience though. Keep an eye on this page for openings.
Life Tips seems to be giving preference to editors willing to work in-house at the moment, but they do occasionally hire remote proofreaders as well. Their only requirement seems to be passion, and some experience in search engine marketing.
While Polished Paper hires only “exceptional editors,” they don't specify experience as a must-have, so long as you can pass their 35-question editor test.
Proofreading Pal hires two kinds of proofreaders: those with a graduate degree and 5 years experience, and those who are still completing their graduate or postgraduate education with a minimum GPA of 3.5. If you fit into the latter group and are interested in getting started as a freelance editor, you can earn $500 to $3,000/month as a beginner.
You don't appear to need any prior experience as a proofreader to join ProofreadingServices.com‘s team of full-time and part-time remote proofreaders. All you need to do is pass their 20-minute preliminary test. Pay ranges from $19 to $46/hour, making them an ideal platform for those with experience as well.
There's no published experience level required, but there is a 50-minute test to complete and pass. Bookmark Wordy's application page, as they'll only be hiring again in the first quarter of 2020.
Proofreading Jobs for Those with Experience
Once you have a fairly decent amount of experience as a proofreader, take a look at the following opportunities. Once again, we've included their advertised pay wherever possible.
American Journal Experts
A division of Research Square, American Journal Experts require all applicants to have some documented affiliation (current or former) with an R1 or R2 doctoral university. Pay is between $11 and $25 an hour on a per-word basis.
Demand Media Studios
In order to become a proofreader for Demand Media Studios, you'll need to have at least 2 years experience in the field. Although, the pay rate is relatively low: $3.50 per reviewed article (typically a few pages at most).
Edit 911 has some high qualification requirements: a PhD in English (or any other writing-intensive field), a published scholarly writer, and a teacher or book editor with documented evidence. However, the pay is relatively high too.
If you have a degree, regardless of the field, and past experience as an editor, EditFast will pay you 60% of the fee charged to clients. While not confirmed, it seems that freelancers are able to set their own rates, but take a look at this page to get a ballpark figure of what EditFast quotes clients.
While freelance editors are the backbone of Enago, they have some strict requirements: Master's/PhD/other post-doctoral research experience, a certificate, and 5 years experience editing, writing, and/or proofreading academic papers.
English Trackers are currently processing their most recent batch of applicants, but if you have a PhD or verifiable experience as an academic editor for at least 2 years, bookmark this page.
Although they aren't always hiring, when positions are open, IXL Learning looks for experienced editors and proofreaders. Keep an eye on their careers page for opportunities.
Previously Wordfirm, ManagedEditing is looking for editors with a college degree and 5+ years experience.
OneSpace is currently looking for small business and accounting editors with prior experience in working with enterprise brands based in specific locations.
Although they haven't been accepting new applicants since April 2017, ProofreadNOW.com will let you sign-up for employment emails to get notified when positions reopen. You'll need at least 5 years experience to qualify.
Scribbr doesn't specify how much experience you'll need to apply, but as long as you have a Bachelor's degree (or higher) and have worked on academic papers before, you can apply for a $20 to $25/hour position.
If you have a university degree and at least 3 years experience, Scribendi may have a position open for you. Pay is reportedly $25/hour at 1,000 to 1,500 words per hour.
If you're willing to do some writing as well as editing and proofreading, joining Scribe Media‘s team may be an attractive opportunity for you. You'll need to be in regular contact with the rest of the team, but pay is up to $50 to $65/hour.
While not currently hiring, Sibia does ask for 3 years extensive experience when positions open.
Keep an eye on the SmartBrief careers page for editor and proofreader job listings. The company has offices in New York and Washington DC, but also hires remote freelancers with previous experience.
Although unpublished, WordsRU‘s rates are reportedly above-average. You'll need a Master's or PhD as well as 2 years experience to be considered.
Similarly, Wordvice requires that applicants be enrolled in or have completed any graduate degree program and have 2 years experience. However, you can include your own expected pay rate.
Proofreading Jobs From Home Freelance Websites
If you're looking for ways to connect with individual clients, rather than an agency acting as the middleman, you'll be happy to know there are a number of freelance websites with opportunities for proofreaders.
One thing you should always bear in mind when it comes to freelance websites is that they aren't free. You'll need to pay either commission or a membership fee.
Here are our top picks.
The largest freelancer platform in the world, you can find proofreading work as a complete novice or experienced veteran on Upwork.
While not quite as freelancer-friendly as Upwork, Guru offers an attractive alternative or supplement for finding proofreading jobs no matter your skill level.
FlexJobs is a membership freelancer platform that helps you get into direct contact with proofreading clients.
You can post proofreading gigs with a price range of $5 to $99 on Fiverr and have clients come to you.
Learn How to Make Money Proofreading
Okay, so now you know where to find online proofreading jobs for beginners… But what if you're a complete novice to the task?
Even if you've already got some experience as a proofreader, doing so on a freelance basis is a whole new ball game compared to having an office job with a publishing house or newspaper. There are still a few skills you'll need to learn.
For that, we recommend starting with the Learn How to Transform Your Passion for Words and Reading into a Thriving Proofreading Business free webinar by ProofreadAnywhere.com.
How Much Money Can You Make Proofreading?
As you saw in the breakdown of different sites, what you earn is dependent on two things:
- Where you find work
- How much work you get
That said, there is a ballpark figure: Glassdoor suggests a starting annual income of $36,000.
What Skills Do I Need?
Being a proofreader is more than just looking for spelling mistakes. You need to have great grammar skills in general, including expert knowledge of punctuation rules and proofreading marks.
Testimonials and a portfolio go a long way. But some of the bigger sites may even ask for a degree in English or journalism. Be sure to check the requirements on a per-job basis, rather than assume all proofreading jobs ask for the exact same skill set.
How Flexible are the Hours?
One of the many attraction points for freelance proofreading (as opposed to doing the same job in a more traditional, office environment) is that it can be very flexible. You don't have set hours that you'll be required to work.
That said, there are two caveats to this flexibility:
- You need to meet the deadlines set – no excuses
- Sometimes, those deadlines are fairly tight – you could receive a document that will take 8 hours to proofread, with a deadline for the next day
In order to build a successful career as a proofreader, you'll need to put in a fair number of hours every week. This is especially true for beginners – once you gain more experience and can land those higher-paying jobs, your hours can steadily decrease as you see fit.
Getting started is usually the hardest part, but with the resources we've provided, you're sure to be making a success of your online proofreading endeavors in no time!