Copy Editor Salary

For Copy Editors, annual average wages total $42K per year. The most important factor affecting compensation for this group is experience level, followed by the particular city and the particular employer. Female Copy Editors make up most of the survey respondents at 70 percent. Most Copy Editors report high levels of job satisfaction. Although a majority have medical coverage and more than half have dental coverage, just under a third claim no health benefits at all. The figures in this rundown are based on the results of PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$29,561 - $63,810
(Median)
$30K
$42K
$64K
MEDIAN: $41,552
10%
50%
90%

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$11.04 - $34.82
(Median)
$11
$18
$35
MEDIAN: $18.00
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
$29,561 - $63,810  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $2,553  
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).
)
$26,896 - $67,474  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 692
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
$11.04 - $34.82  
   
Overtime
$17.78 - $41.90  
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 - $2,553  
   
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).
)
$26,896 - $67,474  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 451
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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. The most common next step for a Copy Editor is to become a Managing Editor or an Editor. The former position pays an additional $10K per year on average, and the latter position pays $4K more per year.

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Popular Employer Salaries for Copy Editor


Self-Employed offers the lowest pay, with a median salary of just $54K. The pay scale doesn't vary widely, either; compensation ranges from $14K to $114K.

Popular Skills for Copy Editor


Copy Editors report using a diverse set of skills 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, Microsoft Word, 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.


Copy Editors with a rich background of experience are typically rewarded with larger paychecks. The average worker who claims fewer than five years of experience earns around $35K. In contrast, however, individuals who report five to 10 years in this occupation see a much larger median of $45K. After working for 10 to 20 years, Copy Editors make a median 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


Los Angeles offers some of the highest pay in the country for Copy Editors, 28 percent above the national average. Copy Editors will also find cushy salaries in New York (+26 percent), Detroit (+25 percent), Philadelphia (+24 percent), and Washington (+24 percent). Trailing the national average by 6 percent, Atlanta is the market with the smallest paychecks. Employers pay around 3 percent less in San Diego and 2 percent less in Denver, below-median salaries for those in this field.

Related Job Salaries

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Experience Affects Copy Editor Salaries




National Average
$41,000


Skills That Affect Copy Editor Salaries

Design
up arrow 7%

Editing
up arrow 2%

Writing Procedures & Documentation
up arrow 2%

Proofreading
up arrow 1%

Technical Writing
up arrow 1%

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 158 votes.

Gender

Female
70 %
Male
30 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
5%
1-4 years
41%
5-9 years
20%
10-19 years
20%
20 years or more
14%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 69% dental benefits Dental: 57%
vision benefits Vision: 45% employee benefits None: 29%
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