Copy Editor Salary

The average Copy Editor in the United States can expect to rake in roughly $42K per year. The most important factor affecting compensation for this group is experience level, followed by the particular city and the individual firm. While slightly less than a third report receiving no health benefits, a majority do receive medical coverage, and the larger part have dental, as well. Most workers in this position report high levels of job satisfaction. Female Copy Editors make up most of the survey respondents at 71 percent. The information for this rundown comes from respondents who completed PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$29,549 - $63,710
(Median)
$30K
$42K
$64K
MEDIAN: $41,550
10%
50%
90%

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$10.99 - $34.80
(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
$29,549 - $63,710  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $2,560  
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).
)
$26,874 - $67,353  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 20 Jun 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 686
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
$10.99 - $34.80  
   
Overtime
$17.83 - $41.60  
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 - $2,560  
   
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).
)
$26,874 - $67,353  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 20 Jun 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 453
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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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As Copy Editors transition into upper-level roles such as Senior Copywriter, they may see a strong upturn in salary. Senior Copywriters earn $69K on average per year. 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 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 generally report applying a varied skill set to their work. Most notably, skills in Design, Writing Procedures & Documentation, Editing, and Technical Writing are correlated to pay that is above average. At the other end of the pay range are skills like Graphic Design, Microsoft Word, and Adobe InDesign. The majority of those who know Editing also know 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. 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. People with 10 to 20 years of experience make an average of about $51K in this role. Folks who have racked up more than 20 years in the field report incomes that aren't that much higher than less experienced individuals' earnings; the veterans make just $54K on average.

Pay Difference by Location


For Copy Editors, busy Los Angeles offers a higher-than-average pay rate, 28 percent above the national average. Copy Editors will also find cushy salaries in Detroit (+27 percent), New York (+26 percent), Philadelphia (+24 percent), and Washington (+24 percent). In Atlanta, salaries are 6 percent below the national average and represent the lowest-paying market. Workers in San Diego and Denver earn salaries that trail the national average for those in this profession (3 percent less and 1 percent less, respectively).

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Experience Affects Copy Editor Salaries




National Average
$41,000


Skills That Affect Copy Editor Salaries

Design
up arrow 7%

Writing Procedures & Documentation
up arrow 4%

Editing
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 160 votes.

Gender

Female
71 %
Male
29 %

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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