What qualifications do you need to be a proofreader?

In this article we look at what qualifications you need to become a UK proofreader.

In general it will really depend on what type of proofreading you would like to do and in this article we explain why.

Academic proofreading

Academic proofreading companies may not always require a specific proofreading qualification but you will need a university degree, usually at a Master’s level. It doesn’t have to be necessarily in subject area you are proofreading in as they generally will have you working on a range of academic texts. Read our article about free proofreading courses and whether they are worth it or not.

In-house tests:

Academic proofreading companies know what they are looking for. Thus, they will have their own proofreading tests that you will need to pass in order to work with them. And you don’t just have to pass the test, there may be a probationary period and then ongoing quality checks to keep you on your toes.

Publishing houses

Publishers on the other hand are much stricter. You will need to have a recognised qualification from either one of two certification bodies. We go in to detail of what these organisations and qualifications are in our course on how to become a proofreader.


What matters most to businesses is if you have relevant, related experience. Business documents are very different from academic documents.

The corrections required are more subtle than working with a foreign speaker.

*I strongly recommend a very good knowledge of the use of capital letters, as businesses tend to overcapitalise* Sometimes all I have ended up doing for document after document is correcting the miscapitalisations!

In my experience businesses are the easiest clients to work for.

The main ‘qualifications’ they look for are being reliable, easy to contact and the ability to take on large projects at the last minute.

That said, you would still need to have a university degree ideally in English or linguistics.