There are plenty of people out there that have amazing grammar and language skills, but they often struggle to find job where these skills are in the spotlight.
There's one job in particular that greatly benefits from this set of skills, though, and that would be proofreading.
Considering that working from home is becoming more and more common than ever before, remote proofreading jobs are gaining a lot of traction, which translates to plenty of opportunities you can take advantage of in case you have those skills.
In this post, I’ll talk about how you can become an online proofreader, what you can expect from the job, how it's different from similar jobs, and the best companies hiring for online proofreading jobs.
What does a proofreader do?
In its most basic form, a proofreader ensures that written content is free from grammatical errors including spelling, typography, formatting, and syntax.
However, that definition is lacking in detail—in reality, a proofreader performs various types of services, all of which are aimed to improve the original text provided. The primary responsibilities include checking the text for typos and grammar errors, but additional services can include editing the text provided or even suggesting improvements to it.
Proofreading vs. copy editing
Proofreading and copy editing are sometimes used interchangeably, but there are some key differences to keep in mind, and knowing them can help you when looking and applying for online proofreading jobs.
As mentioned before, proofreading involves examining a given text to either find any mistakes in grammar, style, spelling, and syntax. You could say that proofreaders have a more granular approach to editing, and their job is to analyze a text bit by bit in order to find things to correct and/or improve.
Copy editing, on the other hand, takes care of correcting, condensing, and/or changing a draft in preparation for publication. A copy editor is involved with the big picture of a document rather than the finer print.
Another key difference between the two jobs is that a copy editor will improve and correct what an author writes, while the proofreader makes sure the copy editor didn't miss anything.
How much are proofreaders paid?
The median salary for an online proofreader is $52,202 per year.
One thing to keep in mind is that the amount of money a proofreader makes will depend on how fast they work per hour. Some proofreading freelancers make anywhere from $25-$50 per hour.
Another important factor you need to be aware of is experience — the more experience you have, the more money you will make per hour.
If you work as a freelancer, you get to determine how much you make. If you work for someone else, though, they are going to determine how much you make per hour.
What skills do I need to become an online proofreader?
As expected, having excellent grammar and spelling skills is a must. To build up a good reputation as a proofreader, you should also be able to spot mistakes in a given text quickly and easily.
Additionally, you need to be able to slow down to find mistakes that the original writer missed — otherwise, there's a chance you'll read misspelled words as if they were correct and you wouldn't even notice right away. If you rush through proofreading a document, any kind of error can slip through.
Do I need to have a degree to proofread?
One good thing about doing freelance proofreading is that a degree isn’t necessary. Experience and results matter more to clients who are hiring independent proofreaders.
If you're applying for a proofreading job as a company employee, though, then the company you're applying for may want to see an advanced degree in English or journalism.
Top 30 online proofreading job opportunities
Here are the best companies that hire online proofreaders of all skill levels:
ProofreadingPal is a site that specializes in academic proofreading. They pride themselves on having a highly experienced staff, and because of its scholarly projects, the editing skills required by this site are both very advanced and very specific.
To secure a remote proofreading job on this site, you need to be a postgraduate student with a minimum GPA of 3.5 or have a graduate degree along with a minimum of five years of experience.
If you have a Ph.D. in a writing-intensive discipline, Edit911 is a good candidate for some remote work.
Its proofreading services also tend toward high-level academic editing, so experience is crucial here once again. As it caters to a worldwide audience, having a strong grasp of more than one language would also be a plus.
WordsRU is great for those who work from home, because it welcomes job applicants from all over the world, as long as they have at least a Master’s degree or higher.
It offers a wider range of services for customers, including fiction manuscripts and web content, so its proofreaders receive a variety of projects.
#4 American Journal Experts
Similar to WordsRU, AJE offers online proofreading jobs for those who have been or are currently enrolled in higher education at universities approved by the Carnegie Classification.
As the name suggests, this online proofreading opportunity is more suitable for those based in America.
#5 Writer’s Relief
Writer’s Relief helps creative writers get published. Authors submit their writing and Writer’s Relief proofreaders check over their submissions.
They have a simple application process, but they only accept a very small percentage of applicants.
#6 Polished Paper
Focusing on business and academic editing, Polished Paper's proofreader jobs are also suitable for experienced professionals.
Instead of proving their qualifications, applicants are asked to complete a 35-question test to demonstrate their editing skills before getting accepted.
#7 Managed Editing
Having worked mainly with non-profit organizations and prestigious institutes, Managed Editing chooses its freelance proofreaders carefully. A successful applicant will have at least five years of experience and a Bachelor’s degree, although most of its editors and proofreaders have higher qualifications.
Wordvice is a company that offers editing and proofreading services on essays and business documents for second-language English users.
To apply as a proofreader here, you need a minimum of two years of experience and a graduate degree to join this team of freelancers. (And needless to say, the remote jobs they have are available to proofreaders across the world!)
Though the pay you receive can vary wildly here, Fiverr is still a good opportunity for new freelancers to start their careers.
It’s relatively easy to sign up and create a profile that will attract customers, most of whom will be searching for competent beginners rather than experienced experts.
If you do have some experience in content production (for example, you’ve been a copywriter or you've been an editor in your university newspaper), Scribendi would be a pretty good choice.
Its online proofreading jobs are focused on academic writing from high school to university level, so having a Bachelor’s degree is a must.
Scribbr’s services are tailored to a younger academic audience, and while it doesn’t ask for specific qualifications, applicants do go through a thorough vetting process.
To become a remote proofreader at Scribbr, you have to pass a language test and complete several assignments for evaluation (where you will be receiving feedback). If you’ve taken an editing course, it's very likely that you'll do great here.
#12 Proofreading Services
Proofreading Services is a site that focuses on academic and business writing.
Prospective proofreaders can join the staff part-time or full-time by getting at least 95% on the site’s 20-minute test, which mainly focuses on grammar and spelling.
#13 CACTUS Communications
As an education-oriented publication, CACTUS Communications is constantly on the lookout for academic editors who can help it produce clear, engaging content.
It does require at least a Bachelor’s degree in a relevant discipline, but you don’t need any prior work experience in editing and proofreading to find good opportunities.
#14 Writer’s Relief
A resourceful website for authors, Writer’s Relief also provides book editing and publishing services which you as a remote proofreader can get involved in.
Since they have copy editors going over everything beforehand, you’ll just have to focus on catching the little mistakes that slipped through.
Prompt provides coaching services for college applicants, helping them with personal statements and essays.
You will need to be/have been a university student yourself, and you’re expected to give more feedback than just online proofreading. It’s a good opportunity if you want to start with academic editing, though.
#16 OneSpace Freelancers
OneSpace is a site made for relatively new freelancers. There aren’t as many job postings on this site as on other proofreading services, but you do get support and feedback from their staff.
They provide advice on how you can work better as a freelancer and build your business, so even if you don't necessarily find remote work in this space, it's a good way to learn the craft of maintaining your freelance proofreading business in the long run.
Gramlee is a general proofreading company with a very wide variety of proofreading jobs and categories.
They welcome proofreaders with no qualifications, as long as they work hard to learn and fulfill the team’s guarantee of 24-hour turnovers.
Upwork is one of the biggest marketplaces for freelancers, and the remote jobs for editors and proofreaders you can find here are often for technical and copywriting.
Projects are usually on the smaller side, which means there isn’t always a demand for highly experienced workers. Still, it's a good place to get started on your online proofreading career.
This job board only posts work that you can do from home, so you don’t have to narrow the search yourself.
There are plenty of proofreading jobs across many industries and countries for you to choose from, some of which are even full-time collaborations.
Indeed’s interface is probably a familiar sight if you’ve looked for work before — it’s a platform that has everything from full-time positions to freelance gigs in all kinds of industries.
Though it might take some digging, there are good remote jobs proofreaders can discover.
MediaBistro is a job board made specifically for media-related jobs. You can filter your search to show only remote entry-level editing jobs to see if there’s anything available.
Signing up also gets you a job alert round-up when new relevant jobs are posted.
#22 Get Editing Jobs
Here’s another editing-focused job posting site.
You can search for remote proofreading jobs and it will automatically show you recent postings that fit the bill. You’ll then have to apply for the jobs on your own.
Domainite provides digital marketing services, from web designing to content writing and editing to its clients.
You can easily sign up by filling in its form and sending in a writing sample. The scope of the work might go a little beyond the proofreading job, though, but it's a good way to acquire even more skills.
This site allows you to bid on a proofreading opportunity you can do remotely, and try to win the client over.
There are a lot of projects available, so if you lose out on a bid for one, you can always find another.
Lionbridge is an international platform that offers marketing and business content creation services for firms across the globe.
Specifically, its freelancers “test out” firms’ content — giving them feedback, not just from a linguistic point of view but also user experience and SEO.
#26 OneSpace Freelancers
OnceSpace Freelancers is a job marketplace specifically for freelancers. You have to check the site periodically to see if they have any freelance proofreading jobs available.
You can also submit your application to them and they’ll keep in contact if they have any jobs that fit your skillset.
Reedsy works mainly with authors and writers. Once you sign up, you’ll create a profile and the Reedsy algorithm will pair you with clients it thinks you’ll be a good fit for.
There are over 100,000 people in the marketplace and many are first-time authors looking to self-publish their books. The community is free to join and then you get to keep 90% of your commission while Reedsy takes 10%.
#28 Writing Jobz
Writing Jobz is one of the best marketplaces for online proofreaders because it’s all they focus on. They specialize in academic proofreading, proofreading articles for online blogs and news sources, and book proofreading.
You start by taking a language task, then you can build up a client database as you take on more and more projects. As a proofreader you can earn up to $11 per page.
R3ciprocity, pronounced “reciprocity”, is a proofreading and editing platform based on credits. After you sign up, you can proofread other’s work and earn credits. You can use these credits to get your own work proofread.
This is great for authors or someone who wants a reciprocal proofreading situation. If you earn credits, you can cash them out instead of using them to proofread items of your own.
Another online place to look for proofreading jobs is Guru.com. Whether you have zero experience or several months of experience, there's a high chance you'll find a proofreading gig on this platform.
Most people who have excellent grammar and spelling skills wouldn't know how to earn money with them, but with the rise of online proofreading jobs, that may no longer be the case.
Like online tutoring jobs, some opportunities have more strict application parameters, but there's always plenty of job opportunities that are less rigid and serve as stepping stones for you to climb up the ranks.