Career Choice: Editor

Career Choice: Editor
  • Type: Career Type
  • Opening Intro -

    College students with a talent for writing may wonder where those attributes will lead them.

    For students who are skilled orators, a position with the corporate communications department is one option.


Other areas include working as a web writer, as a book author or as a technical writer. For writers who are excellent spellers, who can grasp grammatical rules and are able to easily spot and correct syntax errors, seeking work as an editor can be an option. Editors work with writers and video photographers, reporting to senior editors and publishers.


Editors perform a variety of editorial duties including procuring work, revising and editing content, laying out stories and verifying facts. Editors are tasked with improving readability, correcting text according to accepted standards and adhering to style guides such as the MLA, Chicago Manual of Style and the AP Stylebook. Editors may supervise writers, reporters and other editors and hire freelancers to handle specific assignments. Editors may work with print publications such as newspapers, magazines, books or technical guides or online with websites or blogs. [1]


Employment as an editor requires the candidate to have excellent writing skills and experience as a writer. A stint with the school newspaper or an internship with a publisher can be helpful. A bachelor’s degree is usually required, with that degree in English, journalism or communications reports the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. [2] Editors must be proficient at using computers and communication devices and be able to handle deadlines. Creativity, self-motivation, the ability to perform and complete extensive research, and a desire to move up are each positive traits for this position.

Average Salaries

Nearly 100,000 people were employed as editors as of May 2010 earning a mean annual wage of $59,340. Editors in the 10th and 25th percentiles earned average annual salaries of $28,880 and $37,980, respectively. The median annual wage for this position was $51,470. For editors in the 75th and 90th percentiles, their average salaries were $71,640 and $96,800, respectively according to the BLS. Recent college graduates can expect to earn below the national median.

Industry Salaries

The decline of print media has challenged editors to look for opportunities elsewhere, including with online sources. Nevertheless, the industry “Newspaper, Periodical, Book, and Directory Publishers,” employed more than 57 percent of all editors, paying an average annual wage of $58,270. Top pay, however was with computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing,” an industry where editors averaged $92,950, but employing just 30 editors. Employing 800 editors were “software publishers” that paid $82,300 annually. Another high paying field, motion picture and video industries, employed 3,360 workers as of May 2010, paying an average of $74,200 annually. [3]


For the 10-year period ending 2018, the BLS anticipates that demand for editors will decrease slightly. Competition for newspaper jobs will remain keen as such publications make the transition from print to online. The publishing industry continues to contract as an increased number of authors choose to self publish rather than work with a publishing house. Freelance opportunities are showing some growth, but such editors must pay for their own benefits including health insurance.


[1] O*Net OnLine: Summary Report for: 27-3041.00 – Editors; 2010

[2] U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition; Authors, Writers and Editors; Feb. 2010

[3] U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Occupational Employment Statistics; 27-3041 Editors; May 2010

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Categories: Career Planning