Female book and literary editor speaks on the phone while looking over a written manuscript laid out on table

What you need to know


Editors plan, review, and revise content for publication.

What is this career like?

Although most editors work in offices, a growing number now work remotely from home. The work can be stressful because editors often have tight deadlines.

Some of the things an editor might do:

  • Read content and correct spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors
  • Rewrite text to make it easier for readers to understand
  • Verify facts cited in material for publication
  • Evaluate submissions from writers to decide what to publish
  • Work with writers to help their ideas and stories succeed
  • Develop story and content ideas according to the publication’s style and editorial policy
  • Allocate space for the text, photos, and illustrations that make up a story
  • Approve final versions submitted by staff
  • Promote articles and content on various social media networks
What skills are needed?
  • Creativity: Editors must be creative, curious, and knowledgeable in a broad range of topics. Some editors must regularly come up with interesting story ideas and attention-grabbing headlines.
  • Detail oriented: One of an editor’s main tasks is to make sure that material is error-free and matches the style of a publication.
  • Good judgment: Editors must decide if certain stories are ethical or if there is enough evidence to report them.
  • Interpersonal skills: In working with writers, editors must have tact and the ability to guide and encourage them in their work.
  • Writing skills: Editors must ensure that all written content has correct grammar, punctuation, and syntax. Editors must write clearly and logically.
What is the pay?

The average pay for editors in the United States ranges from $33,620 to $126,800 as of May 2020.

The specific pay depends on factors such as level of experience, education and training, geographic location, and specific industry.

What is the career outlook?

Employment of editors is projected to decline 7 percent from 2019 to 2029, as print media continues to face strong pressure from online publications.

Editors who have adapted to online media and are comfortable writing for and working with a variety of electronic and digital tools will have the best prospects in finding work.

Although the way in which people consume media has changed, editors will continue to add value by reviewing and revising drafts and keeping the style and voice of a publication consistent.

What education is required?

Employers generally prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree in communications, journalism, or English. They also prefer candidates who have experience in a few types of media, such as newspapers, social media, and television.

Candidates with other backgrounds who can show strong writing skills also may find jobs as editors. Editors who deal with a specific subject matter may need previous related work experience.

Discover some of the courses you will take pursuing a degree in Communications, Journalism, or English/Creative Writing.