Free proofreading courses – are they worth it?

If you spend a few minutes online you will quickly find a whole host of free online proofreading courses. You are sure to ask yourself: “Are they worth it”?

Step 1 – Before you do consider training we recommend that you focus on your language skills.

Why is this?

Proofreading courses will not teach you grammar!

Professional proofreading and editing courses teach the how and when to amend or annotate a document. They assume an existing above-average knowledge of spelling, punctuation, grammar, capitalisation etc. according with English-language convention.

Back to the free online courses

The answer is generally no, they are not worth it if they are not associated with a reputable proofreading course provider. 

So, if they are a) taster courses for a longer course, in which case I would say they definitely are worth it or b) you use them to see what proofreading entails and if you would really enjoy the work involved.

As the owner of a proofreading company I would not pay any attention to free courses not associated with reputed course providers as a way of building experience as they can be of varying quality and depth.

Rather work on getting experience by proofreading for friends and family. Even better if they are non-native English speakers.

If you really want to become a proofreader then you will need to invest the time and money in completing a paid course that is recognised in the industry and I will get to those a little later.

When should you take a free online proofreading course?

In my opinion the only really one situation in which you should take a free course and that is when it is offered as a taster to a large, ratified qualification.

Two leading UK proofreading course providers offer brief yet useful taster courses for their full paid online courses – and those are the ones that are industry recognised.

The taster courses allow you to experience the course as if you were paying for it. They will allow you to familiarise yourself with the layout, tools and technology and help you decide if you want to take the full course.

So, in that case then definitely yes, take the free course.

A free course in itself will never be considered a legitimate qualification

However, in other circumstances free online proofreading courses that are not affiliated with a recognised organisation are not worth it as publishing houses and academic proofreading companies will not consider them as qualifications.

A quick Google search will reveal the following free proofreading courses.