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Copy Editor Salary

An average Copy Editor in the United States can expect to take home roughly $42K annually. Career duration is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by geography. Unfortunately, some people in this line of work are without benefits — slightly less than a third lack coverage. On the flip side, the larger part have medical insurance and the greater part receive dental plans. Job satisfaction for Copy Editors is high. This report is based on responses to the PayScale salary survey.
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$29,459 - $63,977
(Median)
$29K
$42K
$64K
MEDIAN: $41,532
10%
50%
90%

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$10.81 - $34.63
(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
$29,459 - $63,977  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $3,091  
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).
)
$26,390 - $67,554  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 16 May 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
$10.81 - $34.63  
   
Overtime
$17.78 - $41.40  
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 - $3,091  
   
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).
)
$26,390 - $67,554  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 16 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 460
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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 who go on to become Senior Copywriters may see their salaries climb quite a bit. Median pay for Senior Copywriters is $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 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. Skills that pay less than market rate include Graphic Design, Adobe InDesign, and Microsoft Word. Most people experienced in Editing also know Copywriting.

Pay by Experience Level for Copy Editor

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


Experience is an important factor influencing the compensation of Copy Editors. Those in the early stages of their career can expect to make around $35K; however, individuals with five to 10 years of experience bring in $45K on average — a distinctly larger sum. For Copy Editors, 10 to 20 years of experience on the job amounts to an average salary of $51K. More than 20 years of experience mean a somewhat bigger median paycheck of $53K, but it's not much more than what less experienced people make.

Pay Difference by Location


With a pay rate for Copy Editors that is 28 percent greater than the national average, Los Angeles offers a comfortable salary for those in this profession. Copy Editors can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like New York (+27 percent), Detroit (+26 percent), Washington (+26 percent), and Philadelphia (+25 percent). Atlanta is the lowest-paying area, 8 percent south of the national average.

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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%

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 176 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
14%

Common Health Benefits

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