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Copy Editor Salary (United States)

Median pay for Copy Editors in the United States is around $41K per year. Residence and years of experience each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Although slightly less than a third lack health benefits of any kind, more than half do enjoy medical insurance, and the greater part get dental coverage, too. Men are in the minority of survey respondents, with female Copy Editors making up 70 percent. Most Copy Editors report high levels of job satisfaction. This report is based on answers to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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.
)
$29,468 - $63,679
(Median)
29K
41K
51K
64K
MEDIAN: $41,384
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.
)
$10.71 - $34.07
(Median)
11
14
18
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
$29,468 - $63,679  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $3,294  
Profit Sharing
$239.58 - $2,023  
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).
)
$26,109 - $66,002  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 11 Dec 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 676
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
$10.71 - $34.07  
   
Overtime
$17.49 - $41.56  
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 - $3,294  
   
Profit Sharing
$239.58 - $2,023  
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).
)
$26,109 - $66,002  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 11 Dec 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 474
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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 pays an average $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

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, with boosts between 3 percent and 9 percent. At the other end of the pay range are skills like 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.
For many Copy Editors, more experience generally translates to higher pay. 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 $44K. On average, Copy Editors make $51K following one to two decades on the job. 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

Los Angeles
up arrow 32%
Detroit
up arrow 29%
Philadelphia
up arrow 25%
up arrow 23%
Dallas
up arrow 13%
Baltimore
up arrow 13%
Boston
up arrow 11%
up arrow 10%
Denver
0%
Austin
0%
National Average
$41,000
up arrow 1%
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. Copy Editors will also find cushy salaries in Detroit (+29 percent), San Francisco (+25 percent), Philadelphia (+25 percent), and New York (+23 percent). The lowest-paying market is Virginia Beach, which sits 15 percent below the national average. Employers also pay below the national average in Atlanta (4 percent lower) and Chicago (1 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%
Editing
up arrow 3%
Technical Writing
up arrow 3%
Proofreading
up arrow 2%
Copywriting
0%
National Average
$41,000
Microsoft Word
up arrow 5%
Graphic Design
up arrow 12%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied Image
Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5 based on 222 votes.

Gender

Female
70%
female alumni
 
Male
30%
male alumni

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
4%
1-4 years
42%
5-9 years
21%
10-19 years
19%
20 years or more
13%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 69% dental benefits Dental: 58%
vision benefits Vision: 44% employee benefits None: 30%