Copy Editor Salary (United States)

Copy Editors in the United States can expect to earn an average of $40,510 annually. The range in pay spans from $25,667 to $66,114 per year. Residency is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by career length. Some workers in this field—around one third—are not awarded benefits. Medical coverage is reported by a majority and dental plans are enjoyed by more than half. Men are solidly outnumbered in the field, with women representing 71 percent of workers. Work is enjoyable for Copy Editors, who typically claim 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.
)
$29,322 - $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  
PayScale
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  
PayScale
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' salaries may rise greatly in accordance with career advancement. Those who assume a higher-end position such as a Senior Copywriter may get paid an extra $28K per year. Copy Editors typically move into roles as Managing Editors or Editors, where they can expect an extra $10,072 or $3,762 per year.

Copy Editor 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. Those who have experience with Design can expect to be compensated well for these skills, typically earning 9 percent more than the national average, respectively. Skills that pay less than market rate include Graphic Design and Adobe InDesign. For most people, competency in Editing indicates knowledge of Copywriting.

Pay by Experience Level for Copy Editor

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
For Copy Editors, experience seems to be a major factor in determining pay. Beginning workers can expect to earn $35K starting out, which grows to $44K after five to 10 years. Those with one to two decades of experience under their belt tend to see salaries around $51K. Salaries tend to grow less rapidly after achieving 20 years of experience, with more senior Copy Editors earning an average of $53K per year. Experienced employees who have 10-20 years of experience make up about one-fifth 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 13 percent. A majority of the workforce has between one and nine years of experience.

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.
Copy Editors will find that Los Angeles offers an impressive pay rate, one which exceeds the national average by 32 percent. Copy Editors will also find cushy salaries in Detroit (+29 percent), Portland (+26 percent), New York (+25 percent), and San Francisco (+25 percent). Those in the field find the lowest salaries in Virginia Beach, 15 percent below the national average. Workers in Atlanta and Austin earn less than others in this profession; their -4 percent and -2 percent-salaries fall short of the national average.

Related Job Salaries

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%
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