Online Class: Proofreading and Copyediting 101

If you are looking for a new career path or if you are a writer who wants to improve your writing skills, learning how to proofread and copyedit with our easy to follow, in-depth course, may be just what you need.

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Course Description

Become a Skilled Proofreader or Copyeditor
If you're looking for a new career path or if you're a writer who wants to improve your writing skills, learning how to proofread and copyedit with our easy to follow, in-depth course, may be just what you need.  Learning these specialized skills will help improve your overall writing ability and may provide a career path that is both lucrative and in high demand.  In today's world, proofreaders and copyeditors are sought after not only in the corporate environment and Internet-related ventures, but also by start-up companies, small businesses, and entrepreneurs. Freelance proofreading jobs are bountiful, and many companies offer work-from-home opportunities as an additional benefit.
This online course will cover:
  • Exactly what proofreading and copyediting will entail.
  • The tools you need to be an efficient proofreader or copyeditor.
  • The basic skills you need to learn, taught to you in an easy-to-understand manner.
  • Step-by-step instruction on how to proofread or copyedit.
  • How to apply your newly learned skills. 
  • Tips to make you a professional proofreader or copyeditor with just a little practice.
  • How to proofread and copyedit different kinds of writing such as fiction, blogs and articles.
  • How to proofread and copyedit your own work.
  • How to secure employment as a proofreader or copyeditor.
  • How to start your own proofreading or copyediting business upon completion of the course.
  • Current salary information.
  • Practice exercises to implement your new skills.
This course is designed for everyone, regardless of education, experience, or background.  No matter who you are or what you want to achieve in life, gaining proofreading and copyediting skills will improve your written communications, help you think more clearly, and perhaps start you on the road to a brand new career.

Introduction to Proofreading and Copyediting

Whether or not you want to take a new career path and become a copyeditor or proofreader is irrelevant at this point.  This course will teach you all you need to know about proofreading and copyediting, and we'll discuss career paths after we learn these fields.  For now, however, let's concentrate on you and your writing.  Let's focus on how improving your proofreading and copyediting skills will improve the way you present yourself on paper, no matter what you write.  Truthfully, even if you do want to become a professional proofreader or copyeditor, presenting yourself well on paper is something you must be able to do just to be considered for a job.  

Think about it for a minute.  Copyediting and proofreading are two skills you cannot afford to be without because they will help to increase your communication skills so that you can get what you want out of your words and your life. 

Here are some ways you can utilize proofreading and copyediting skills in your career and life:
  • In e-mails.  If you've ever sent out an e-mail that is work-related (most of us have), then you know how important it is that those e-mails sound professional at all times.  Professionalism is more than in the wording, however.  It extends to grammar and punctuation.  Being able to proofread or copyedit important e-mails will improve your image to customers, coworkers, and most importantly, bosses who may be considering you for the next big promotion.
  • Web pages and other Internet documents.  Have you ever visited a site that was worded very poorly or filled with typos?  Before you blame it on the laziness of the author, think again.  Proofreading and editing your own work can be the most challenging task to do if you don't know how to do it properly.  The truth is that when we write something, it's in our heads just as much as it's on paper.  It's easy to read something as you see it in your mind and not on the screen in front of you.
  • At work.  If you've ever been asked to write a report, create a newsletter, memo, or any other form of communication in the workplace, learning how to proofread and edit your own work will make whatever you write more professional and earn you even more respect. It's just like with e-mails. 
  • Correspondence.  Do you write a lot of letters? Whether they are personal or professional, the last thing you want is to have unclear thoughts or misspelled words.  Learning how to proofread and copyedit your letters will help you present your thoughts  more clearly and eliminate misconceptions. 
  • For creative writing endeavors.  Maybe you want to be a writer and publish creative works.  Let me tell you something, "Don't fool yourself into believing that if you have a great story or novel, the editor won't care if it needs a lot of cleaning up."  It's just like getting dressed in the morning.  If your outfit doesn't match, you don't look good.  If a great story is mismatched with unclear thoughts and other errors, the story itself does not look good.  That's the bottom line.  You need to sharpen your proofreading and copyediting skills before you even think of trying to publish a body of work.
  • For a new career or career advancement.  If you want to be a professional proofreader or copyeditor, you need to learn how to do the job correctly.  This course will provide you with enough instruction to start your career and give you the skills you need to adequately proofread or copyedit any body of work.  The more you apply these skills, the better you're going to be.

 Proofreading and Copyediting Defined  

Now that we've established how many ways that proofreading and editing skills can be applied to your everyday life, let's define what they actually are.

The biggest misconception that most people have is in believing that proofreading and copyediting are basically the same thing.  While they are similar in nature, they are not the same by any means.  There is a big difference between the tasks of a proofreader as compared to the tasks of a copyeditor.  It's why, if you go through job listings, you will see some positions open for copyeditors and some for proofreaders, but never just one single position for a "proofreader and copyeditor." 

Proofreading is done after a body of work is completed, but before it goes to press or is distributed.  To put it simply, it's the last step taken in the completion of the work.  A proofreader's job is to scan text for grammar, syntax, and punctuation errors. The meanings of words and terminology are not important to proofreaders.  Their job focuses on the accurateness of the text and the layout in a body of work that is otherwise finished and ready to be published or distributed. 

While proofreaders concentrate on the form of the complete text, copyeditors concentrate on the details and terminology in a manuscript or draft. Copyeditors check for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors in text that hasn't yet been formatted.  Although the text they check is never just a rough draft, it's considered a less-than-final version until it's been edited.
The copyeditor is expected to ensure that the text flows, that it is sensible, fair, and accurate, and that it will provoke no legal problems for the publisher. 

Copyeditors do fact checking and they question terms that raise doubts or that aren't familiar to them.  Although copyeditors don't always implement the changes, they always note the changes for the author to make.  They also look for consistency in a body of work.  If a maid is referred to as a maid in one chapter, the copyeditor makes sure that the author does not switch to servant when making references to the same person in subsequent chapters. 

We will delve into the details of copyediting and proofreading later in this course, but for now you need to know that a copyeditor's task is in the individual details.  A proofreader's task, on the other hand, is in the final and overall presentation of the body of work.

In Conclusion
Copyediting and proofreading skills are two things that will advance your communication skills and make everything you write more professional and effective.  Now that you understand the definitions of both jobs, throughout the rest of this course, we'll delve into the details and teach you how to copyedit and proofread your own work or that of others.  No matter if you want to just improve your skills or start a new career, you're going to learn all you need to know in this course.  Good luck!
  • Completely Online
  • Self-Paced
  • 6 Months to Complete
  • 24/7 Availability
  • Start Anytime
  • PC & Mac Compatible
  • Android & iOS Friendly
  • Accredited CEUs
Universal Class is an IACET Accredited Provider

Course Lessons

Average Lesson Rating:
4.4 / 5 Stars (Average Rating)
"Extraordinarily Helpful"
(11,836 votes)

Lesson 1. Introduction to Proofreading and Copyediting

This lesson describes how you can use proofreading and copyediting skills in your career. 33 Total Points
  • Lesson 1 Video
  • Lesson discussions: Course Background Information Survey; Reasons for Taking this Course
  • Complete Assignment: An Introduction
  • Complete: Assignment 1: Proofreading and Copyediting
  • Assessment: Lesson 1 Exam

Lesson 2. The Use of Style Sheets and Style Guides in Proofreading and Copyediting

This lesson defines style guides and sheets and demonstrates their importance in copyediting and proofreading. 50 Total Points
  • Lesson 2 Video
  • Lesson discussions: Style Sheets and Style Guides
  • Complete: Assignment 2: Style Sheets and Style Guides
  • Assessment: Lesson 2 Exam

Lesson 3. Finding the Appropriate Style Guides

This lesson explains different style guides available and their importance in relation to the content you are proofreading. Additional lesson topics: Research Guides 39 Total Points
  • Lesson 3 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 3: Print and Online Style Guides
  • Assessment: Lesson 3 Exam

Lesson 4. How to Create and Use a Style Sheet

This lesson describes how to create and use a style sheet as a copyeditor or proofreader. 55 Total Points
  • Lesson 4 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 4: Creating Style Sheets
  • Assessment: Lesson 4 Exam

Lesson 5. Proofreaders' Marks and How They Are Used to Copyedit and Proofread

This lesson describes what proofreaders' marks are and how to use them to copyedit or proofread bodies of work. Additional lesson topics: Common Writing Mistakes; Decline and Fall of the Ligature 49 Total Points
  • Lesson 5 Video
  • Lesson discussions: Proofreaders' Marks
  • Complete: Assignment 5: Proofreaders' Marks
  • Assessment: Lesson 5 Exam

Lesson 6. Your Job as a Proofreader

This lesson outlines the tasks performed by a proofreader. Additional lesson topics: Proofreading Skills 39 Total Points
  • Lesson 6 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 6: Proofreader's Responsibilities
  • Assessment: Lesson 6 Exam

Lesson 7. How to Proofread

Learn how to be an efficient and capable proofreader. Additional lesson topics: Proofreading test; Five Grammatical Errors; Proofreading Tips 49 Total Points
  • Lesson 7 Video
  • Review 5 Practice Worksheets
  • Complete: Assignment 7: Proofreading Tips
  • Assessment: Lesson 7 Exam

Lesson 8. Proofreading Practice

This lesson contains proofreading practice exercises and assignments. Additional lesson topics: Proofreading Exercise; Proofreading Quizzes 54 Total Points
  • Lesson 8 Video
  • Review 4 Practice Worksheets
  • Complete: Assignment 8: Proofreading Practice
  • Assessment: Lesson 8 Exam

Lesson 9. The Job of a Copyeditor

This lesson defines the individual tasks that a copyeditor completes when editing a body of work. 50 Total Points
  • Lesson 9 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 9: Copyeditor Job Types
  • Assessment: Lesson 9 Exam

Lesson 10. How to Copyedit

Learn how to copyedit different types of content (copy). Additional tips on being an effective copyeditor. Additional lesson topics: Copyediting exercise 40 Total Points
  • Lesson 10 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 10: Copyediting Newspapers and Magazines
  • Assessment: Lesson 10 Exam

Lesson 11. Copyediting Practice

Practice being a copyeditor with these lesson assignments and exercises. 47 Total Points
  • Lesson 11 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 11: Copyediting Practice
  • Assessment: Lesson 11 Exam

Lesson 12. How to Copyedit or Proofread Your Own Work

Learn how to successfully copyedit and proofread your own work. 48 Total Points
  • Lesson 12 Video
  • Lesson discussions: Proofreading/Copyediting Your Own Work
  • Complete: Assignment 12: Copyediting Your Own Work
  • Assessment: Lesson 12 Exam

Lesson 13. Copyediting or Proofreading as a Career

Know the skills and education required to work as a proofreader or copyeditor within a company or as a freelancer. 56 Total Points
  • Lesson 13 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 13: Education and Skills of Proofreader/Copyeditor
  • Complete: Final Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 13 Exam

Lesson 14. Final Exam

Final Exam 48 Total Points
  • Lesson discussions: Your Opinion Matters: Course Rating; Course Comments; Program Evaluation Follow-up Survey (End of Course)
  • Assessment: Final Exam
Total Course Points

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Understand the use of style sheets and style guides in proofreading and copyediting.
  • Demonstrate matching the appropriate style guides for various project types.
  • Demonstrate how to create and use a style sheet.
  • Describe proofreaders' marks and how they are used to copyedit and proofread.
  • Describe your job as a proofreader.
  • Demonstrate basic proofreading skills.
  • Describe the job of a copyeditor.
  • Demonstrate basic copyediting skills.
  • Describe methods for copyediting and proofreading your own work.
  • Summarize copyediting or proofreading career opportunities.
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

Additional Course Information

Online CEU Certificate
  • Document Your Lifelong Learning Achievements
  • Earn an Official Certificate Documenting Course Hours and CEUs
  • Verify Your Certificate with a Unique Serial Number Online
  • View and Share Your Certificate Online or Download/Print as PDF
  • Display Your Certificate on Your Resume and Promote Your Achievements Using Social Media
Document Your CEUs on Your Resume
Course Title: Proofreading and Copyediting 101
Course Number: 8900117
Lessons Rating: 4.4 / 5 Stars (11,836 votes)
Languages: English - United States, Canada and other English speaking countries
Last Updated: October 2021
Course Type: Self-Paced, Online Class
CEU Value: 1.1 IACET CEUs (Continuing Education Units)
CE Accreditation: Universal Class, Inc. has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
Grading Policy: Earn a final grade of 70% or higher to receive an online/downloadable CEU Certification documenting CEUs earned.
Assessment Method: Lesson assignments and review exams
Instructor: Daphnee St.Val
Syllabus: View Syllabus
Course Fee: $80.00 U.S. dollars

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Student Testimonials

  • "This course was extremely helpful. I especially enjoyed learning about style sheets. I will be looking at more classes from Universal Class and will recommend them to others." -- Laura M.
  • "This course was very helpful and I gained so much insight. I feel I can better hone the copyediting and proofreading skills I have already. I feel much better equipped. Thank you for this opportunity." -- Gabrielle G.
  • "It has been a real eye-opener. Daphnee's amiable and caring posture has helped heaps in the learning process." -- Ralph C.
  • "I thought the course was thorough in preparing you for work in the field of proofreading and copyediting. For sure, you have to take copious notes and do all the exercises to get the most out of the class. I found that they prepare you for what you will need to do the job, like preparing a style sheet. The rest is just practice and experience. Of course, if you're not as confident in your grammar or spelling skills, you might need more education to go into this field." -- Dina P.
  • "This course is exactly what I was looking for in order to learn about proofreading and copyediting. I have been interested in working in this field for a long time and was looking for information which detailed the job, offered accurate information about the tasks involved, and provided employment information. This course fulfilled my hopes and expectations without the hype and sales process found elsewhere on the internet! I now know my strengths and weaknesses, which skills I need to improve, and how to find the work. I really enjoyed the challenge, and the format of the course is great for learning in a progression, the best way to learn. Also, my teacher Daphnee St. Val was awesome! Thanks for this opportunity." -- Dawn D.
  • "It was very helpful and it contains all the necessary information needed for launching a career in proofreading and copyediting." -- Ethran D.
  • "I think this course was simply phenomenal! It was helpful in many ways and because of that, it exceeded my expectations." -- Theodore L.
  • "This course gave an excellent insight into the job of an editor and proofreader and all that both entails. I thoroughly enjoyed this class. Now I must put into practice what I have learned and hopefully garner a job that will be lucrative in all aspects." -- Patsy J.
  • "I really liked this course. I feel the instructor really put a lot of effort into the content and made the student actually review the material to complete the assignments. Thanks!" -- Crystal S.
  • "I really enjoyed this course. It was just the right amount of information in easy to digest bites. I would definitely recommend to anyone interested in the topic." -- Amber L.
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