How to become a proofreader

Freelance proofreader works on variety of texts and corrects grammar and language errors. 

Skills you need:

Below are some of the main skills required to become a proofreader

  • Attention to detail
  • Passion for writing and reading
  • Attention to detail 
  • Focus 
  • Concentration 
  • Negotiating skills 

Here are the steps you need to take.

Step 1. We would advise you to first brush up on your grammar and punctuation as these are at the core of all that you will be doing.  See here >>

Proofreading courses DO NOT teach grammar, rather they teach you HOW to proofread. So you need to already have a good grasp of grammar.

A “good grasp” of grammar would imply you know things like:

what a phrasal adjective is?

the rules of capitalisation?

the basic differences between American and UK spelling?

Step 2. Next you should take the free proofreading tests from xx and yy.

Step 3. Once you have done those and passed with flying colours then you should do the free proofreading taster courses offered by xx and yy.

Step 4. So you have brushed up on your grammar, completed and passed the free proofreading tests and done the free proofreading taster courses? Next is to do a proper, paid-for course!

Qualifications and requirements 

What level of English is required?

You need an English language proficiency or native or near-native to work for most companies. You will need to know the rules of grammar and punctuation very well. 

Perks of being a proofreader

Remote work and Work flexibility

Complimenting services (Related fields)

Equipment needed:



The process of proofreading:

Proofreading (Process)

Publishing process (Process overview)

Publishing industry (Industry)

Proofreading versus Editing

(Comparison to proofreading)

Different types of proofreading roles

General proofreaders (Types of proofreaders)


Copy editors 


Once you have a qualification and are confident in your grammar, you then need to get experience with the type of documents you want to specialise in.

The proofreading market in the UK broadly consists of:

Legal proofreading

Publisher proofreading 

Academic proofreading 

Technical proofreading 

Translation and Bilingual Proofreading 

Academic proofreading

– This includes proofreading and most times editing, the work of foreign, non-native English-speaking students.

  • Essays
  • Theses
  • Dissertations
  • Reports

Proofreading for publishers

– The majority of publishers require a proofreading qualification, unless you have prior experience with another publisher. This is perhaps the hardest niche of the market to break in to. Referrals and word-of-mouth recommendations are what help you to get your foot in the door most times.

Proofreading for businesses/corporate bodies

– Many businesses avail of proofreading services to proofread their documents. These include:

  • blog posts
  • white papers
  • annual reports
  • brochures

Networking events are a good way of finding business clients. They can be good clients to have as the have a steady flow of documents throughout the year, so it will give you an element of recurring revenue.

Proofreading for novelists (self-published or not)

Enjoy working on books and novels? Then this may be the type of proofreading for you. Proofreading novels and books can be very rewarding but you need to carefully manage expectations

These are the very basics of becoming a proofreader.

To learn all the steps you need to take we offer a complete online, self-study course on how to become a proofreader in the UK.

The course is currently in development. Register your interest below for the course to be notified when it launches.

Proofreader’s marks (Annotation)

Careers related to proofreading




Proofreading training providers

Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) 

Publishing Training Centre 

College of Media And Publishing 


Software for proofreading:

Microsoft Office 

Google G-Suite 

Google Docs

Adobe Acrobat 

Spelling and Grammar Checks 

What file formats does a proofreader work with?

Word documents