Editor Career Description


Editors plan, review, and revise content for publication.

What they do

Editors typically do the following:

  • Read content and correct spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors
  • Rewrite text to make it easier for readers to understand
  • Verify facts cited in material for publication
  • Evaluate submissions from writers to decide what to publish
  • Work with writers to help their ideas and stories succeed
  • Develop story and content ideas according to the publication’s style and editorial policy
  • Allocate space for the text, photos, and illustrations that make up a story or content
  • Approve final versions submitted by staff

Editors plan, coordinate, and revise material for publication in books, newspapers, or periodicals or on websites. Editors review story ideas and decide what material will appeal most to readers. During the review process, editors offer comments to improve the product and suggest titles and headlines. In smaller organizations, a single editor may do all the editorial duties or share them with only a few other people.


Work Environment

Most editors work in offices, whether onsite with their employer or from a remote location. They often use desktop or electronic publishing software, scanners, and other electronic communications equipment.

Jobs are somewhat concentrated in major media and entertainment markets—Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, DC—but improved communications and Internet capabilities are allowing editors to work from a greater variety of locations.

Overseeing and coordinating multiple writing projects simultaneously is common among editors and may lead to stress or fatigue.

Self-employed editors face the added pressures of finding work on an ongoing basis and continually adjusting to new work environments.


How to become an Editor

A bachelor’s degree in communications, journalism, or English, combined with previous writing and proofreading experience, is typically required to be an editor.

Employers generally prefer candidates who have a bachelor’s degree in communications, journalism, or English.

Candidates with other backgrounds who can show strong writing skills also may find jobs as editors. Editors who deal with specific subject matter may need related work experience. For example, fashion editors may need expertise in fashion that they gain through formal training or work experience.

Many editors start off as editorial assistants, writers, or reporters.

Those who are particularly skilled at identifying good stories, recognizing writing talent, and interacting with writers may be interested in editing jobs.



The median annual wage for editors was $61,370 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $32,620, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $122,280.

Job Outlook

Employment of editors is projected to decline 7 percent from 2019 to 2029. Despite some job growth in online media, decreases in traditional print magazines and newspapers will cause a decline in overall employment of editors.

Similar Job Titles

Acquisitions Editor, Business Editor, Editor, Features Editor, Legal Editor, News Editor, Newspaper Copy Editor, Science Editor, Sports Editor, Web Editor, Advertising Editor, Copywriter, Copy Desk Chief

Related Occupations

Producer, Broadcast News Analyst, Reporter and Correspondent, Publications Specialist, Copy Writer


More Information

The trade associations listed below represent organizations made up of people (members) who work and promote advancement in the field.  Members are very interested in telling others about their work and about careers in those areas.  As well, trade associations provide opportunities for organizational networking and learning more about the field’s trends and directions.

  • Editorial Freelancers Association - Members of this organization are editors, writers, indexers, proofreaders, researchers, desktop publishers, translators, and others who offer a broad range of skills and specialties. The EFA hosts online, asynchronous courses, real-time webinars, and on-demand recorded webinars designed especially for freelance editors, writers, and other editorial specialists around the world.  Courses are open to members and non-members.
  • Investigative Reporters and Editors - IRE is a grassroots nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of investigative reporting. One of this organization’s primary purposes is educating fellow journalists in the latest techniques of finding, understanding and reporting on stories. Explore their different training options.
  • MPA- The Association of Magazine Media - MPA members represent over 500 magazine media brands that span a vast range of genres across online, mobile, video and print media.
  • National Association of Black Journalists - The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) is an organization of journalists, students and media-related professionals that provides quality programs and services to and advocates on behalf of Black journalists worldwide. Their Media Institute may be worth a look if you are considering a career in this field.  For students, scholarships, internships and media projects are also worth a look.
  • National Newspaper Association - The mission of this organization is to protect, promote and enhance America's community newspapers.

Magazines and Publications

Video Transcript

A combination of creativity, writing skills and detail orientation help editors sharpen the quality of writing for all different types of media. Editors plan and revise content for publication in books, newspapers, magazines, or websites. They review story ideas and decide what material will appeal most to readers, and comment on how to improve it. In smaller organizations, a single editor may perform all of the editorial duties or share them with only a few other people. There are several types of editors: Copy editors proofread text for errors and check for readability, style, and ensure it meets the publication’s policies. They may confirm sources or verify facts, and arrange page layouts. Publication assistants at book-publishing houses evaluate manuscripts and proofread drafts. Those employed by small newspapers often answer phones, and proofread articles. Assistant editors are responsible for a particular subject such as local news or sports. Executive editors typically have the final say about what is published, and oversee hiring. Managing editors work for magazines, newspapers and television broadcasters, and oversee daily operations for the news department. Most editors work full-time schedules in offices, though working from home is increasingly common. Coordinating multiple projects under high-pressure deadlines can be challenging, and may require work weeks longer than 40 hours. Employers generally prefer a bachelor’s degree in communications, journalism, or English, along with media experience. For some positions, strong writing skills from reporting or writing, may be enough.

Content retrieved from: US Bureau of Labor Statistics-OOH www.bls.gov/ooh,
CareerOneStop www.careeronestop.org, O*Net Online www.onetonline.org