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Copy Editor Salary (United States)

Yearly wages for Copy Editors in the United States typically come in around $42K annually. Total cash earnings of Copy Editors range from $26K on the low end to $66K on the high end; the final amount can include bonuses and profit sharing proceeds that occasionally exceed $3K and $5K, respectively. Residence is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by career duration. Some workers in this field — just under one in three — are not awarded benefits. Medical coverage is reported by a majority and dental plans are enjoyed by more than half. Most Copy Editors are women (71 percent). The majority of workers are highly satisfied with their job. The numbers in this rundown were provided by PayScale's salary survey participants.
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  
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  
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 experience if they take an upper-level role like Senior Copywriter. The position tends to pay $68K annually. Typical career progression for a Copy Editor involves becoming a Managing Editor or an Editor, roles that pay $10K more and $4K more on average.

Proofreader Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Copy Editor

Survey results suggest that Copy Editors use a fairly large toolkit of professional skills. Most notably, skills in Design, Writing Procedures & Documentation, Editing, and Copywriting are correlated to pay that is above average. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include Graphic Design and Adobe InDesign. 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.
For many Copy Editors, experience and pay levels seem to be correlated; more years in the business generally lead to more money. 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 $44K. Copy Editors with one to two decades of relevant experience report an average salary of approximately $51K. 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 $53K on average. Most employees in this workforce have between one and nine years of experience; a majority of those surveyed fall within this distribution. Experienced employees who have 10-20 years of experience make up approximately one in five of the workforce; inexperienced individuals who have been working for less than one year comprise less than five percent, and senior people with more than 20 years under their belt fill out the remaining nearly one in eight.

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.
For those looking to make money, Copy Editors in Los Angeles enjoy an exceptional pay rate, 32 percent above the national average. Other urban areas shelling out big bucks include Detroit, Portland, New York, and San Francisco, where Copy Editors typically earn around 29 percent, 26 percent, 25 percent, and 25 percent more than usual. Trailing the national average by 15 percent, Virginia Beach is the market with the smallest paychecks. A couple other locations with smaller-than-average paychecks include Atlanta (4 percent lower) and Austin (2 percent lower).

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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%