What Degree Do You Need To Be An Editor

By Kenneth Tester Kenneth is a Data Analyst expert that has worked on a variety of finance and insurance related publications throughout his career. He has collected and compiled data that propelled the pieces he has collaborated on onto the pages of major media outlets and education sites. 9 minute read

For those who excel at writing, an editor’s job may be right for you. These media and communication experts prepare written content for publication in a book, magazine, newspaper, or website.

Everything from the big-picture story planning to the fine-tuning of text proofreading may fall under their purview as they assist in the content creation process. 

Students who want to be editors should have an education at a four-year institution that teaches them how to manage their time effectively while also teaching them how to write compelling stories that are free of errors like spelling and grammar.

What You Can Expect From a Profession With a Degree in Editing

Editors play a variety of functions based on the industry they work in, the sort of magazine they work for, and the precise job titles they are given.

Some editors, particularly those employed by large publications or organizations, may have specialized roles. Others, on the other hand, specialize in a wide range of editing duties.

Starting out, an editor may decide what stories to cover and how they will be told in the publication. This covers the audience for the work, as well as the author’s preferred writing style.

In order to achieve these editorial aims, the editor may work closely with the author. Editors determine whether or not an article should be printed in a publication and what alterations the author must make.

The editor may be on the lookout for grammatical and stylistic errors, factual inaccuracies, and awkward or confusing language.

Some editors write their own content for the publication or organization, while others only review and improve the work of others. US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the median yearly wage for editors was $63,400 as of 2010.

Those working in religious, grant-making, civic, and professional organizations earn the most money, with a median salary of $71,520 in 2020. Sadly, less than one in ten editors in the United States work in this field. 

Scientific and technical services pay a median salary of $69,150 whereas the other information services business pays a median salary of $69,000.

The 2020 median compensation for editors in the newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publisher business was $58,260, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said.

Editorial positions are expected to grow at a slower-than-average rate of just 5 percent between 2020 and 2030, according to the BLS.

As print media consumption declines, the number of editor positions is expected to decline as well, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Online publications and websites, on the other hand, still require someone to write and edit their content.

Current and aspiring editors who can adapt to electronic communication and work well in a fast-paced environment can still succeed in this career, even if traditional editing roles are decreasing.

There are likely to be roughly 11,200 editor job opportunities every year between 2020 and 2030. Despite their appearances, editing jobs are far from obsolete in today’s digital world.

Only one in ten editors will be self-employed by 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Discrepancies among salary comparison sites show that the earning potential of freelance editors can vary greatly.

According to ZipRecruiter, the national average compensation for freelance writers in early 2021 was $69,599. This was much higher than the $53,657 average recorded by Glassdoor at the time.

Why Do You Need a Degree in Editing?

Editing is a great career choice if you have an eye for spotting errors and the ability to develop a story. However, you can only go so far with your natural writing and editing abilities. You’ll need a four-year college degree to work as an editor, especially at a prestigious journal.

Students who aspire to be editors should major in something that requires them to write a lot and that includes coursework on how to write for a variety of various types of written communication. They could study literary and rhetorical devices, as well as the rules of ethical journalism. 

Even if you can write effectively in one voice or style, it doesn’t guarantee you can write well for a variety of audiences and purposes, in different tones and forms, or with different objectives in mind.

A writing-intensive college degree program will give you plenty of opportunities to practice writing and revising your work, as well as broaden and deepen your skills as a writer and editor.

Students aren’t solely prepared for the responsibilities of an editor’s job by what they learn in the classroom. Aspiring editors can benefit greatly from real-world writing and editing experience beyond the typical classroom assignments.

By participating in college publications, you can gain this experience through internships at media companies or publishing houses.

Getting experience writing and editing a wide range of different types of texts and material throughout your time in school might help you thrive in your editor career launch.

Even if you don’t end up working in the field, you’ll have the opportunity to meet people in the industry and cultivate a professional reputation, as well as gain valuable hands-on experience.

If you want to gain experience in writing and editing, you don’t have to wait until you’re in college. Dedicated high school students can write for their school’s newspaper or magazine, join writing groups online, read books on writing, and most importantly, practice writing to improve their skills.

What degree is required to work as an editor?

Requirements for Editors’ Education

A college education is essential to becoming an editor, especially if you plan to do more than proofreading. In fact, most editors have at least a bachelor’s degree. Eighty percent of workers in this field have bachelor’s degrees or more, according to O*NET. 

Master’s degree holders make up another 17% of the workforce in this field. A post-baccalaureate certificate rounds out the top three most prevalent degrees of schooling for this career.

An editor’s college education is crucial for a number of reasons. It’s important to remember that the editor’s job description is vast and includes a wide range of responsibilities. As an editor, you may be responsible for everything from conceiving a tale to supervising other authors. 

As a creative professional, an editor must be able to control other creative professionals, such as writers and artists. Their managerial abilities are a must, but they must also be eager and capable of editing manuscripts from start to finish on their own initiative as well.

Particularly specialized editing jobs may need more training and education beyond a bachelor’s degree. Examples include editors and writers who are expected to have a master’s or even a doctorate degree in the relevant field of science.

On the other hand, even senior editor positions at newspapers, magazines, and publishing houses rarely require candidates to have a doctorate.

What Degree Should You Complete to Become an Editor?

Starting out as an editor requires at least a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, like English and communications or journalism. If you want to work as an editor in a certain sector, you may want to consider concentrating your studies in that field.

English Degrees for Future Editors

Even though English as a major in college has a bad reputation, a degree that emphasizes reading and writing has more value than most people realize – especially for those who want to work as editors.

The study and critique of literature written in English is a major focus of English majors. Poetry and narrative writing (the writing of stories, both fictional and nonfictional are often included in English major curricula.

There are a variety of electives that English majors can choose from in addition to the core curriculum. If this is the case, some students may have to devote the majority of their time in college to studying only certain types of writing and certain authors from specific historical and cultural backgrounds, for example, women authors or minority authors).

The study of literature and philosophy or the study of literature in a foreign language may be the focus of other students’ academic pursuits.

For the most part, however, English degree programs focus more on reading and critiquing existing works of literature than on encouraging students to create their own original works of fiction or non-fiction.

Communications Degrees for Editor Professions

A communications degree covers a broader range of topics than a degree in English. Communications programs, on the other hand, tend to look at the industry as a whole, as well as the various forms of media in which communication takes place, rather than just literary works.

Studies in the literary analysis will likely be less of a focus for a communications major than they would be for an English one, but you may still have the opportunity to learn about the media industry, communication behavior, popular culture in the press, and communication research methods.

With a wide variety of electives and concentrations to choose from, a communications degree can be tailored to your specific needs.

While studying communications, you may want to focus on audiences and persuasive rhetoric; culture; society; politics; advocacy; activism; public relations; communications; entrepreneurship; healthcare communications; data; network science; digital journalism and new media; film study; visual communications. 

In order to pursue a profession in editing, you’ll need to have taken courses in the media industry and in the creation of communications messaging, such as persuasive rhetoric.

Editorships Requiring Journalism Majors

Journalism is an excellent choice of major if you want to work as an editor for a magazine or newspaper. As the term implies, journalism is the practice of creating and disseminating news-related material, and this degree program places an emphasis on teaching students how to do just that, rather than only studying the literary or media market research of others. 

A different major may be more appropriate for someone hoping to work in a publishing house as an editor. Media studies and writing for the media are probably part of a journalism curriculum, but students will also take reporting classes from the beginning to the end, as well as classes on quantitative methods and digital skills for multimedia content creation. 

In journalism ethics and communication law, classes are essential. Students of journalism are frequently required to attend seminars on a variety of topics, including sports reporting, feature article writing, expressing one’s own opinions, and covering issues of race, ethnicity, and community.

College majors in writing

For this reason, it’s not surprising that some editors come to the sector having a background in writing before they begin their career as editors.

In general, a degree in writing focuses more on the development of writing abilities than on the study of literary works or the media and communications sector. It’s possible to earn a degree in writing in many different ways.

Creative writing degrees are the most well-known sort of writing degrees and normally include a curriculum that focuses on the creation of creative forms of written communication such as poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, scripts, and screenplays. Freelance writers and other non-creative writers are the primary focus of professional writing schools. 

For a wide range of career opportunities, students in a broad range of fields can benefit from concentrations in either general writing or creative writing.

A degree in technical, business, or science, and medical writing is available to those who seek a degree that is more narrowly focused.

Other Content Areas of Study for Editors Besides STEM and Pre-Law

Certain editors are subject matter specialists first and media and communications professionals second. A scientist may become the editor of a scientific publication that publishes papers and findings that have been peer-reviewed. 

If you want to be an editor in this capacity, you could major in one of the stems science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines or another subject of interest, while taking advantage of every opportunity to develop your writing and editing skills through coursework and practical experiences.

Being an editor is a creative profession that does not necessitate starvation. Editors play a crucial part in the development of written material in the modern-day.

Not only do they check final copies of material, but they also determine the featured stories and narrative techniques of a newspaper.

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