How to Become a Proofreader Step-By-Step Guide for Beginners


how-to-become-a-proofreader-online-the-common-cents-club-featured-image

Do you have an eye for spotting typos and an irresistible urge to fix them? Do you often get asked to look over emails and essays for people? If so, you could have the skills to get paid to use your proofreading and grammar skills like I did–even if you’re a beginner!

How to Become a Proofreader Step-by-Step:

  1. Understand the scope of work a proofreader does
  2. Understand the difference between a proofreader, copy editor, and developmental editor
  3. Choose a proofreading niche
  4. Improve your proofreading skills and style guide knowledge
  5. Find proofreading jobs
  6. Consider taking a proofreading course (optional)
  7. Master your mindset (optional)
  8. Utilize the best tools for proofreaders (optional)
how-to-make-money-from-home-as-proofreader-common-cents-club-pinterest

This post may contain affiliate links. Read the disclosure for more details.

First, Can You Really Earn Money Proofreading Online?

Yes!

I wondered the same thing when I wanted to quit my job and work from home. Even though I had doubts, I eventually replaced my full-time income. Freelance proofreading was one of the first ways I earned money online.

So how do you get started as a proofreader?

The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Proofreader

In addition to the steps to take to become a proofreader, this article will also answer:

  • How much does a proofreader make?
  • How to find clients as a freelance proofreader
  • Tools to help you make money proofreading

1. Understand the Scope of Work a Proofreader Does

A proofreader checks (and double-checks) works to correct errors, such as:

  • Typographical errors (“typos”)
  • Misspellings
  • Inconsistencies in style or layout
  • Missing punctuation

Proofreading is the final step in the editorial process to fix mistakes, so final drafts are error-free upon publication.

2. Know the Difference Between an Editor vs. Proofreader

Most people use the words editor and proofreader interchangeably. They are different, however, and have distinct roles. When it comes to publishing a book, there are several different levels of editingOpens in a new tab. that happen before a proofreader looks at a book.

Developmental Editing happens first. Developmental editors focus on the foundation or “big picture” of a book to substantively edit the overall story, characters, and plot. Heavy editing, such as removing sections, reorganizing chapters, and re-writing sections happen with a developmental editor.

Copy Editing happens next. Copy editors work on the sentence-level of a manuscript, blog post, magazine article, textbook, or essay. Copy editors improve clarify, flow, fix grammar mistakes, check facts and style guides.

Proofreading: The final polish is done by proofreaders. They are responsible for finding any typos, punctuation mistakes, grammar issues, or other errors that slipped through the cracks before something is published.

How Much Money Does A Proofreader Make Per Hour?

Freelance proofreaders can expect to earn between $25-$44 per hour.

Recently, a group of freelance proofreaders answered my survey: On average, how much do you earn per hour proofreading?

Here are the results:

  • $25-$34 per hour (62.5%)
  • $35-$44 per hour (25%)
  • $15-$24 per hour (12.5%)
how much does a proofreader make per hour survey results

So of those experienced proofreaders who responded, nobody was earning less than $15 per hour and no one was earning more than $45 per hour.

The vast majority (87.5%) of proofreaders surveyed were earning between $25 – $44 per hour.

-the common cents club

According to ZipRecruiter, the average hourly pay across the United States is $22 per hour in November 2020.

Since freelance proofreaders typically find their own clients, they can increase their rates after gaining more experience.

The amount of money a proofreader earns varies based on your skill level, experience, references, location, and niche.

3. Choose a Proofreading Niche

Proofreaders can earn money to review any written content. Books are an obvious one, but our world is surrounded by words. This means there are plenty of potential work opportunities for proofreaders.

Proofreaders can proof:

  • Blog posts
  • Website pages
  • Legal Documents
  • Transcripts
  • Court Reports
  • University and online courses
  • Scholarship Essays
  • Resumes
  • Podcast Notes
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Novels
  • Nonfiction books
  • Textbooks
  • Children’s books

Becoming an expert in one niche, such as Sci-Fi novels, is one way to become a go-to proofreader. This is also a way to pick work you enjoy, get referrals, and raise your rates faster.

4. Improve Your Proofreading Skills

Proofreading is not something everyone can do well. Proofreaders must have:

  • in-depth knowledge of style guides for their niche (Chicago, APA, AP, or MLA)
  • an eye for consistency
  • meticulous attention to detail

Proofreaders must also work well with others, as shown by:

  • Excellent written and oral communication
  • Ability to meet deadlines
  • Comfortable with Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or some other editing software

If you have these skills, practice! Read as a proofreader. If you want to test your skills, take a test like thisOpens in a new tab.. If you do well and enjoy it, becoming a freelance proofreader might be perfect for you.

5. Find Freelance Proofreading Jobs

If you’ve decided you’re ready to earn money as a proofreader, you are probably wondering how to find proofreading jobs.

FlexJobs

FlexJobsOpens in a new tab. is one of the best places to find legitimate remote proofreading jobs online.

When I searched “proofread” there were 489 job results. There was a mix of remote and local, freelance and employee, part-time, full-time, and temporary proofreading jobs. So there’s a great chance you’ll find the type of proofreading job you’re looking for on FlexJobs.

FlexJobs is Recommended Because:

  1. LEGITIMATE JOBS – They screen the job listings to make sure they are legitimate.
  2. EASY TO USE – You can find exactly what you’re looking for fast (e.g., 100% remote, flexible schedule, part-time).
  3. SUPPORT – Real, friendly people on the customer service team.
  4. SATISFACTION GUARANTEE – Get a refund within 30 days if you are unhappy with the service.

The downside of FlexJobs is the investment of $14.95 per month to access these superior services to find work-from-home jobs.

🔥 For a Limited Time, However, You can Access All FlexJobs Listings for 50% Off! Use Promo Code: FLEX 🔥

It’s likely you will earn your money back when you land your first job. Remember, it’s risk-free to join too because of their money-back guarantee and ability to cancel anytime.

How to Find Freelance and Online Proofreading Jobs

The ultimate guide to finding freelance editing jobs teaches more in-depth ways to find proofreading work if you want to become a freelance proofreader or editor.

Further, here are more online proofreading job listings:

  • Indeed has job listings for proofreaders hereOpens in a new tab.
  • Upwork has freelance proofreading jobs hereOpens in a new tab.
  • Utilize LinkedIn to find proofreading jobs hereOpens in a new tab.
  • Scribendi hires editors and proofreaders hereOpens in a new tab.

You can network with anyone who would need proofreaders, such as bloggers, authors, and business owners on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

6. Complete a Proofreading Course Online

Many new proofreaders want to refresh their skills and boost their confidence before putting themselves out there as a freelance proofreader. A great place to start is this Free Proofreading Workshop.Opens in a new tab.

If you want extra guidance and comprehensive skills training, General Proofreading: Theory and PracticeOpens in a new tab. is an online proofreading program that shows you step-by-step how to start making money as a proofreader. It’s run by Caitlin Pyle of Proofread Anywhere.

About This Proofreading Course

Some General Proofreading Theory and Practice Program facts:

  • takes about 1-2 months
  • costs less than $500
  • boosts your proofreading skills so you can proof confidently
  • teaches you all about finding clients and running a freelance business
proofread anywhere general proofreading course sneak peek

What’s Included in the Proofread Anywhere Course

In over 40 lessons, you will learn:

  • the essential grammar skills you need and practice tests to make sure you have it down
  • proofreading niches and how to grow your income the fastest
  • how to research grammar questions you’re not sure about
  • how to set your rates
  • the tax stuff you need to know as a freelance proofreader
  • where to find your first clients
  • how to bill clients
  • how to pitch clients and write proposals
  • how to set up a website to advertise your proofreading services
  • and how to be flexible and work with client’s preferences

Then for a final stamp of approval, if you go with the Ignite Plus version of the General Proofreading courseOpens in a new tab., you’ll get to prove your worthiness to become a certified proofreader with a final exam.

Go with the Ignite Plus version of the General Proofreading course to prove your worthiness on a final exam and become a certified proofreader.

-THE COMMON CENTS CLUB

The exam is hand-graded and you need to score at least 90% to pass. If you invest in yourself to learn the skills that can earn you money proofreading, I highly recommend this extra add-on.

Perhaps the most valuable part is the Facebook Community.

As a student of the best proofreading course online, sometimes called the Proofread Anywhere course, you get exclusive access to a Facebook Community that is only for you and your fellow proofreading students.

Facebook communities are super valuable because they provide:

  • Fast and accurate answers to all of your questions
  • Support and encouragement if you face a challenge
  • Help from those who are just a couple steps ahead of you

The Course Downside

The one downside I have for this course is that it’s text-based. Although those interested in proofreading typically enjoy reading, I am also a visual learner and enjoy video courses.

Get Extra Proofreading Training

Ultimately, General Proofreading: Theory + Practice is the best online proofreading training I’ve found. When you consider the alternative time and money that would be needed to get a college degree, this is an excellent value for anyone serious about learning how to make money as a proofreader.

If you are ready to make extra money working from home as a proofreader, stop over-thinking it and commit to your future by signing up today.

7. Flip Your Scarcity Mindset

If you’re hesitant about investing in a course or think I’m off-my-rocker for recommending such a thing, I completely get it.

The first time I saw a price tag of an online course I had sticker shock. The frugal part of me pinched my wallet tighter.

However, I realized if I follow the steps that are laid out for me in a course, I will earn this money back within a few months AND have new skills with the ability to keep earning more money for the rest of my life. This realization was a game-changer.

Fast forward two years, and I drop money on online courses regularly. Using proven plans with clear steps is the only way I’ve been able to successfully work from home while being home with two little kids.

8. Use Tools to Help You Become a Better Proofreader

Below are optional additional resources that can help you start a proofreading side hustle from home and become more efficient with your time.

Proofreading & Editing Tools

Proofreading & Editing Books

Freelance Proofreading & Editing Resources

You’re Ready to Start Proofreading!

Follow these steps, keep refining your skills, review the proofreading workshop Opens in a new tab.and the proofreading courseOpens in a new tab. if needed, and you’ll be well on your way to making money on your own schedule as a proofreader.

You’ll help others make their writing shine by fixing typo after typo, and proudly returning work to clients even better than it was.

They’ll be grateful for your work, you’ll be happy to help, and your bank account will continue to grow.

Can you see it already?

Rooting for you!

Find typos all the time? Learn How to Become a Proofreader Online and Work From Home with this Step-by-Step guide to Freelance Proofreading for Beginners.

Val Breit

Val Breit empowers women to create a life they love with simple money hacks and productivity tips. Once buried in debt, stuck in a stressful 9-to-5 job, she hated that money stood in the way of her dream to be a stay-at-home mom. After getting intentional with how she spent her money and time, Val and her husband paid off $60,000 in debt. Now she is blessed to be a work-from-home mom, earning a full-time income online, doing work she loves.

Recent Content