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Copy Editor Salary

Copy Editors in the United States pull down an average of $42K annually. Career length is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by geography. Men are in the minority of survey respondents, with female Copy Editors making up 70 percent. Work is enjoyable for Copy Editors, who typically claim high levels of job satisfaction. Although slightly less than a third lack health benefits of any kind, more than half do enjoy medical insurance, and a majority get dental coverage, too. This snapshot results from replies to PayScale's salary survey.
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$29,552 - $63,907
(Median)
$30K
$42K
$64K
MEDIAN: $41,721
10%
50%
90%

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$10.66 - $34.54
(Median)
$11
$18
$35
MEDIAN: $17.00
10%
50%
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
$29,552 - $63,907  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $3,206  
Profit Sharing
$247.90 - $2,035  
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).
)
$26,230 - $67,222  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 1 Apr 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 679
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$15$30$45
Hourly Rate
$10.66 - $34.54  
   
Overtime
$17.35 - $42.45  
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$30K$60K$90K
Bonus
$0.00 - $3,206  
   
Profit Sharing
$247.90 - $2,035  
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).
)
$26,230 - $67,222  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 1 Apr 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 467

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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 experience a large salary bump if they progress into a role such as Senior Copywriter. The latter position pays an average of $69K annually. Managing Editors or Editors are common next-step roles for Copy Editors moving up in their careers; annual pay for Managing Editors is $10K higher on average, and it's $4K higher for Editors.

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Popular Skills for Copy Editor


Copy Editors report using a pretty varied skill set on the job. Most notably, skills in Design, Writing Procedures & Documentation, Editing, and Technical Writing are correlated to pay that is above average. Skills that are correlated to lower pay, on the other hand, include Graphic Design, Adobe InDesign, and Microsoft Word. Those educated in Editing tend to be well versed in Copywriting.

Pay by Experience Level for Copy Editor

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.


In general, experience and pay appear to be strongly linked; those with more experience usually bring in higher incomes. Salaries for the relatively untried average out to around $35K, but survey participants with five to 10 years of experience earn a significantly higher median of $45K. For Copy Editors, 10 to 20 years of experience on the job amounts to an average salary of $51K. Veterans who have surpassed the 20-year mark may make only slightly more than those who are navigating the mid-career stage; the more senior group reports median earnings of around $54K.

Pay Difference by Location


Home to some of the best pay for Copy Editors, Detroit offers exceptional salaries, 27 percent above the national average. Copy Editors can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like New York (+27 percent), Los Angeles (+26 percent), Philadelphia (+24 percent), and Washington (+23 percent). Atlanta is home to the smallest salaries in the field, lagging the national average by 8 percent.

Related Job Salaries

United States (change)

Experience Affects Copy Editor Salaries




National Average
$41,000


Skills That Affect Copy Editor Salaries

Design
up arrow 9%


Editing
up arrow 3%

Proofreading
up arrow 2%

Technical Writing
up arrow 2%

National Average
$41,000

Copywriting
up arrow 1%


Microsoft Word
up arrow 6%

Graphic Design
up arrow 14%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 197 votes.

Gender

Female
70 %
Male
30 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
5%
1-4 years
41%
5-9 years
21%
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%