An accredited course is essential for a proofreading career


A friend of mine was considering a change of career and showed me a few proofreading course prospectuses she had downloaded.

She was stuck in a rut, and weary of the daily commute to and from central London. So she was particularly interested in working from home on a freelance basis.

She drew my attention to one proofreading course she was particularly interested in and asked me what I thought.

She had a few prospectuses on proofreading courses and we also found a few more online. Some seemed more comprehensive than others and varied in price from around the £200 mark to over £500. Some courses lasted just the one day and others were longer.

There was also scope to enrol for a distance learning proofreading course, which in particular caught her eye.

The role of the proof reader is to carefully check text once it has been edited and before it is printed or published.

We then had a look at the qualities required to become a proof reader.

Obviously a proof reader needs a good command of English. This includes grammar, spelling, punctuation and of course syntax.

Proof readers are also expected to be aware of inconsistencies in style. For example, they need to determine whether the writer has made appropriate use of the passive voice.

A good general knowledge is also a plus as proof readers could be asked to scan a variety of texts. Some of them no doubt specialise in topics that interest them.

The role also requires an ability to concentrate perhaps for long periods. An eye for detail, accuracy and good IT skills are also fundamental. Proof readers will be amending perceived errors, and will obviously need to have legible handwriting as well.

My friend thought it would be a good idea to work for someone else in order to build up her confidence and gain experience before branching out on her own.

We then did a general search on agencies specialising in this type of work to get an idea of jobs and salaries.

One invited interested parties to complete a simple test to see if they were suited to the job. We both completed it and I am pleased to say, passed with flying colours.  Maybe I should consider doing a course myself!

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