Copy Editor Salary (United States)

A typical Copy Editor in the United States can expect to take home roughly $40,510 annually. The pay spectrum stretches from $25,667 to $66,114 per year. Total cash compensation varies from around $29,322 to approximately $63,743; higher pay grades include potential for bonuses and profit sharing as high as $3,010 and $4,966, respectively. Geography and years of experience each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. About a third of professionals in this line of work do not receive benefits; however, more than half report medical coverage and more than half claim dental coverage as well. Men are in the minority in the field, with female Copy Editors making up 71 percent of workers. Job satisfaction for Copy Editors is high. The data for this synopsis comes from respondents who took the PayScale salary survey.
Copy Editor Salary (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$29,322 - $63,743
(Median)
29K
42K
51K
64K
MEDIAN: $41,623
10%
50%
75%
90%
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Copy Editor Salary (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$10.75 - $33.90
(Median)
11
14
17
25
34
MEDIAN: $17.00
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%
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National Salary Data

 (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$23K$46K$69K
Salary
$29,322 - $63,743  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $3,010  
Profit Sharing
$201.34 - $4,966  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$25,667 - $66,114  
PayScale
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 3 Sep 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 675
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$14$28$42
Hourly Rate
$10.75 - $33.90  
   
Overtime
$17.98 - $41.06  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$28K$56K$84K
Bonus
$0.00 - $3,010  
   
Profit Sharing
$201.34 - $4,966  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$25,667 - $66,114  
PayScale
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 3 Sep 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 494
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Job Description for Copy Editor

The basic function of copy editor is to review, make changes, and sometimes rewrite articles written by others. Copy editors are often considered a "last line of defense" before a written piece is published for the public eye to see. They usually work for newspapers, magazine productions, and other types of written publishing companies. Being a writer or reporter is often a prerequisite for doing this job, as there is a considerable amount of knowledge that needs to be learned before they can do what is expected of them properly. They check facts, make sure the writing fits the selective style of the company, correct grammar and spelling mistakes, and ensure the article is logically sound. A copy editor must consider other corrections for the work before it is published. He or she also makes visual layout changes to a publication when concerning newspapers and magazine pages. As far as education goes, a Bachelor's degree in English, journalism, or communications is usually expected or required.
Copy Editor Tasks
  • Check facts and ask questions to the author.
  • Ensure that text agrees with the approved style.
  • Check text to ensure copy is well written and logically structured.
  • Correct grammar and spelling.
  • Check documents and other items for readability, style, and agreement with editorial policy.

Common Career Paths for Copy Editor

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Copy Editors may enjoy a sizeable increase in earnings as they climb the career ladder. For example, top-notch roles like Senior Copywriter can offer an extra $28K annually than lower-level jobs in the same field. Copy Editors can earn $10,072 or $3,762 more per year when they move into roles as Managing Editors or Editors, a common transition for those in the field.

Copy Editor Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Copy Editor

Survey results suggest that Copy Editors put a wide range of professional skills to use. Those who have experience with Design can expect to be compensated well for these skills, typically earning 9 percent more than the national average, respectively. At the other end of the pay range are skills like Graphic Design and Adobe InDesign. Those proficient in Editing are, more often than not, also skilled in Copywriting.

Pay by Experience Level for Copy Editor

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Experience is important when determining pay for Copy Editors. New salaries start at $35K and reach $44K in five to 10 years. After spending one to two decades on the job, pay usually hovers around $51K. Salary increase slows as Copy Editors pass 20 years in their field, with average salaries hovering around $53K. Experienced employees who have 10-20 years of experience make up 20 percent of the workforce; inexperienced individuals who have been working for less than one year comprise less than five, and senior people with more than 20 years under their belt fill out the remaining 13 percent. Workers in this area tend to have one to nine years of experience.

Pay Difference By Location

Los Angeles
up arrow 32%
Detroit
up arrow 29%
Portland
up arrow 26%
up arrow 25%
Philadelphia
up arrow 23%
Washington
up arrow 22%
Boston
up arrow 12%
Dallas
up arrow 12%
up arrow 10%
0%
Denver
0%
National Average
$41,000
Austin
up arrow 2%
Atlanta
up arrow 4%
Larger circles over a city indicate a job is popular in that location.
Surpassing the national average by 32 percent, Copy Editors in Los Angeles receive some of the highest pay in the country. Other big spenders include Detroit, Portland, New York, and San Francisco, top-paying cities where Copy Editors see paychecks higher than average (+29 percent, +26 percent, +25 percent, and +25 percent). In Virginia Beach, salaries are 15 percent below the national average and represent the lowest-paying market. A couple other locations with smaller-than-average paychecks include Atlanta (-4 percent) and Austin (-2 percent).

Related Job Salaries

Experience Affects Copy Editor Salaries

National Average
$41,000

Skills That Affect Copy Editor Salaries

Design
up arrow 9%
Writing Procedures & Documentation
up arrow 3%
Editing
up arrow 2%
Proofreading
up arrow 2%
Copywriting
up arrow 2%
Technical Writing
up arrow 2%
National Average
$41,000
Graphic Design
up arrow 12%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied Image
Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5 based on 253 votes.

Gender

Female
71%
female alumni
 
Male
29%
male alumni

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
5%
1-4 years
42%
5-9 years
20%
10-19 years
20%
20 years or more
13%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 69% dental benefits Dental: 57%
vision benefits Vision: 44% employee benefits None: 30%
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