Work at home proofreading jobs can sound like a fun and pleasant way to earn money from home, especially if you like to read. But as with any other work at home opportunity, you have to convince an employer to hire you first, by showing that you have the skills they’re after. Becoming a work at home proofreader or editor can take some time.
As with most jobs, at home or elsewhere, having experience helps a lot. You’ll find far more opportunities as a proofreader if you have already worked as a proofreader or editor. Entry level work at home jobs are much harder to find.
What Skills Does A Work At Home Proofreader Need?
If you want to find work at home proofreading jobs, you need a keen eye for finding errors in written work. Your eye for spelling and grammatical errors cannot depend upon automatic checkers – they miss too much.
While a degree in English or Communications may help get into this field, they may not be required. Many editor positions require a Master’s degree or even a PhD, as editing jobs are frequently for academic papers.
What is required is that you enjoy reading and regularly spot errors that others miss. You also need to be familiar with common word processing software. When you work from home, you must also be comfortable with how work is sent to you, which may vary by employer. It also helps to be comfortable troubleshooting your own equipment, so you don’t lose a lot of time waiting for someone to help you with minor problems.
Proofreaders should also be familiar with the popular writing style guides, such as APA, AMA, and Chicago Style. Which one the client prefers will determine which one you follow.
What Equipment Does A Work At Home Proofreader Need?
You will already have most of the equipment you need to work at home as a proofreader. Your computer is an obvious need, as is a good internet connection. A comfortable home office is a help in keeping out the distractions.
You will also need either the physical books or online access to a dictionary, thesaurus, style guides and reference materials. A Dropbox account is often useful for proofreaders as well. Grammarly can be a big help in spotting obvious problems, although it’s not a replacement for what you do as a proofreader.
Which reference materials you need will depend on the kind of proofreading you do. McGraw-Hill’s Proofreading Handbook is a good choice if your focus is on proofreading, but you may want to consider The McGraw-Hill Desk Reference for Editors, Writers, and Proofreaders as well. You may also need one or more style guides, such as The Chicago Manual of Style, depending on the needs of your specialty.
Some proofreaders like to use an iPad and the iAnnotate app for proofreading, and find it a more effective combination than proofreading on a computer. At least, that’s what Caitlin Pyle of Proofread Anywhere recommends. She has a free webinar you can check out to decide if this is for you. I haven’t taken the course myself, so I can’t review it. I’ve seen people love it and people dislike it. Her focus is on legal transcript proofreading.
Editing Vs. Proofreading
The line between editing and proofreading can be a fine one, which is why I have grouped them together here. Proofreading is mostly about correcting errors in grammar, spelling, syntax, and formatting.
Editing jobs may require some extra care with fact checking, as well as the overall quality of the writing. Editors may rearrange information or change the tone of a submission.
Requirements may be somewhat higher for editors than for proofreaders. Experience in a particular field may be required.
Who Hires People For Work At Home Proofreading Jobs?
There are many possible places to look for work at home proofreading jobs. Newspapers, authors, bloggers, graduate students, marketers and more may all need a proofreader at times. These companies all offer remote proofreading jobs. Most will require an editing or proofreading test to demonstrate your skills.
American Journal Experts – Mostly hires independent contractor editors in various fields, but may also have proofreader and translator contractor positions. Work may include editing work by non-native English speakers, so that the research done is clearly communicated.
Cactus Global – Cactus is based in India, and some of the jobs require that you be in India, whether you telecommute or work in their office. Other positions require that you be in Asia or Africa. Worldwide locations may be available, especially in their freelance positions.
Edit 911 – Applicants must have a PhD in a writing-intensive discipline and be a published scholar.
EditFast – EditFast connects freelance editors to jobs. You must pass the EditFast review to be eligible for jobs. They send projects out to the most qualified editors for those projects. EditFast keeps 40% of the total project cost – the rest goes to the editor who does the project. It can help if you have specialized knowledge.
Enago – Editors must be proficient in English, as some of the submitted work will be from ESL authors. They are seeking at least 5 years of relevant academic copyediting/substantive editing/proofreading experience. Enago also hires freelance peer reviewers and journal experts.
Gramlee – Says they’re always looking for new contractors to add to the team. They link to a Google form for your application.
Hello Essay – Must have a college degree, and a graduate degree is preferred. Must be a native English speaker. You also need evidence of writing and editing experience. Positions can be part or full time.
Kibin – Sometimes has openings for freelance editors and proofreaders. Their main service appears to be editing essays for students.
Kirkus – May have openings for freelance proofreaders and editors for books. They also may offer freelance reviewer positions. Titles may be in English or Spanish.
Life Tips – Life Tips editors edit the content produced by their freelance writers and help clients develop their content strategies for their sites. Benefits are a possibility.
Managed Editing/Wordfirm – Sometimes needs experienced editors. Prefers at least five years of experience, but states that they often hire people with even more experience. These are independent contractor positions.
OneSpace – OneSpace works with freelance editors, writers, data entry, product researchers and transcriptionists. Some work requires that you speak a foreign language or have experience with the subject in a particular country. Payment is daily.
Paper Check – Applicants must be employed by or enrolled in an accredited university in the United States, with at least a 3.6 GPA, or have a graduate degree and at least 5 years of professional editing experience.
Polished Paper – To apply, you upload your resume and take a 35 question editing test. They encourage you to use resources such as MLA, CSE, APA, and Chicago formatting guides to take the test.
Proofread Now – Proofread Now states that they have very high expectations of their proofreaders. They require at least five years of professional proofreading experience and must perform well on a challenging battery of tests.
Proofreading Pal – Applicants must be a current graduate or postgraduate student with at least a 3.5 GPA or have a graduate degree and five years of experience. If they like your initial application, you should hear from them in about 5-10 business days for the next step.
ProofreadingServices.com – This company accepts applications from any country, but you must demonstrate superlative proofreading and editing skills. They state that their pay is above average and hours are flexible.
Pure Content – Pure Content hires freelance editors and writers. You don’t have to speak English, but will only qualify for projects that are in your first language. Editors must complete an editing test, and they prefer some editing experience. They hire all around the world.
Scribbr – This company is based in Amsterdam, and offers freelance academic editor positions. You must be a native English speaker to apply. You can work from anywhere, and they have an exclusive Slack community for editors to discuss issues. They expect some experience as an academic editor.
Scribendi – The telecommute editor/proofreader positions with Scribendi require that you have a relevant college degree and at least three years of editing, writing, document production, or language teaching experience. A graduate degree is preferred. They offer free training to all of their editors.
ServiceScape – ServiceScape is an online marketplace for freelancers looking for editing, translation, graphic design and writing jobs. The company has been around for more than 15 years. They allow you to integrate predefined services, and you can set up custom projects as needed for clients.
Sibia Proofreading – Not always hiring, but requires significant editing experience and knowledge of your field. Sibia mostly offers editing services for academic, scientific, and medical journals and reports.
SmartBrief – Some of their editor positions are telecommuting positions. While positions may state that they are in a particular location, many can be telecommute for the right candidate. Overnight positions may be available as well. Freelance writer positions may also be available.
Student Loan Hero – This company sometimes hires editors to help improve their writers’ content. The company is fully remote and offers benefits.
WordsRU – Requires at least a Master’s degree or equivalent professional experience in any academic discipline, as well as two years of experience editing or proofreading. They especially like experienced editors who can work on weekends.
Wordvice – Wordvice hires freelance editors as well as freelance translators and content writers. Editors must be enrolled in or have completed a graduate program, and have at least two years of editing experience. Editors will edit and proofread academic papers, admissions essays, and other documents.
Other Places To Find Work At Home Proofreading Jobs
You can find proofreading jobs on some of the general freelance boards, such as Upwork or PeoplePerHour, along with any other freelance jobs you may qualify for. Requirements will vary by client, of course. You may have to bid for the jobs. Make sure you charge enough for your time and increase your rates as you gain experience.
You can also set up an offer for proofreading on Fiverr and similar gig sites. Don’t offer too much for $5, and increase your rates when you qualify to charge more.
It may be a good idea to join the Editorial Freelancers Association, as they have a job board. They also offer resources for members to get their business going.
If you want to search for proofreading or editing jobs on your own, you need to use the right keywords. Which ones are best will depend on your specialty.
Proofreader or proofreading are both great keywords if that’s what you’re after. If you have the qualifications to be an academic editor, use that as a keyword.
If you’re interested in legal transcription editing, you can search for scoping or scopist jobs as well as searching for jobs that simply call it legal editing transcription. Be aware that scopists may start with shorthand transcriptions and type out and edit the full document.
Be sure to use the right words to find work at home positions. Remote, virtual, home based, telecommute, freelance, and contract can all help you find jobs.
Beware of scams. If a job listing looks too good to be true, it probably is. I left out some of the companies I found because I didn’t feel right about listing them. Sometimes it was because the pay was too low to be worthwhile for most people, even though reviews show that they pay. I don’t like recommending jobs to people that don’t pay a fair rate.
Be particularly careful if any opportunity asks for money, even if it’s for a membership. Be absolutely certain that any money you spend is reasonable. Check reviews before you spend anything. These jobs won’t usually cost anything, but some resources might cost something.