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How to Become a Certified Proofreader

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As a proofreader, you're responsible for ensuring that there are no typographical errors, style issues or other mistakes in the original drafts and subsequent drafts of a manuscript. Since keen eyes are required, some prospective employers might want to know that you've been vetted in some way and are ready to deliver what you promise. In Canada, you can take a proofreading exam and become a Certified Proofreader through the Editor's Association of Canada. But as a U.S. proofreader, you don't have a comparable option -- but you can pursue education or certification in a similar field to help show you have the necessary qualifications.

Paths to Pursue

For U.S. proofreaders, one option is to take the Certificate in Editing and Proofreading course through ACS Distance Education. After the 600-hour course, you'll take an exam and receive a certificate. Another option is to take Poynter News University's online course, Poynter ACES Certificate in Editing, which is certified by the American Copy Editors Society. While copy editing and proofreading are different, it's still a course from a reputable organization -- and one that can teach you to read copy carefully -- and can lend credibility to your resume. And finally, showing a potential client or employer your scores on a proofreading assessment test could also help prove your skills. Take oDesk's U.S. English Proofreading Skills Test for Associated Press Style, which rates your ability based on a set of 40 questions, or the Brainmeasures English Proofreading Skills Certification for AP Style, and then share your results with people looking to hire you.


Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.

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