Training to be a proofreader

Training To Be A Proofreader: My Tips From Personal Experience [2023]

So you’re training to be a proofreader, and you want to know how to proofread and how to go about doing it in the most successful and efficient way?

Guess what? I was right in your spot many years ago when I first decided to take on proofreading as a side hustle, then a full-on freelancing role!

When I first started my journey into freelancing, the first two jobs I tried were writing and proofreading. I can safely say that these two skills are still very much useful in my daily life, helping me bring in a high income. 

I am forever grateful for learning about this side hustle as it put me on a journey to achieving financial freedom!

There are plenty of proofreading resources online, just like this article.

But if you really want to be serious about your proofreading journey, I’d recommend taking proofreading courses. 

In this article, I’ll share with you the best online proofreading courses, including some free proofreading courses so you can get your proofreading start. 

I will also share some tips from my own experience on how to succeed at proofreading and how to set your rate if you’re not sure how to go about it.

Keen to start? Let’s get ready to up your proofreading skills with some proofreading courses online!

Training To Be A Proofreader Courses

3. Writing Editing Masterclass – Content Editing, Copyediting, and Proofreading (Skillshare)

4. Kickstart a Freelance Editor and Proofreader Career on Upwork (Udemy)

5. Proofreading Power Basics (Udemy)

6. What is Proofreading? (Publishing Training Center)

7. Proofreading and Copyediting 101 (Universal Class)

8. Writing Proofreading Course: Proofread Punctuation & Grammar (Udemy)

9. Proofread Like a Pro (Udemy)

Affiliate Link Disclosure

Some of the links here are affiliate links, and I may earn if you click on them, AT NO EXTRA cost to you. I hope you find the information here useful! Thanks!

If you want to know how to become a proofreader online but need some training, the Proofread Anywhere course helps you transition into a full-time proofreader/editor and run it as a well-paid business.

The Proofread Anywhere course begins with proofreading basics and then goes on to share advanced proofreading methods, how and where to find jobs, what rate to set, and common mistakes to avoid.

Caitlin is the lady who runs the course and she has been a proofreader since 2007. She turned her love for proofreading into a full-time job and now helps others do the same.

The Proofread Anywhere course is packed with 40+ lessons in 8 modules, grammar-specific worksheets, and real-life example jobs.

After passing with 90% or higher on the final exam you will receive a Certificate of Completion and access to the Self-Publishing School Preferred Outsourcer Rolodex.

Ps; Caitlin is offering a FREE Proofreading workshop that will help you learn the basic skills and decide on whether freelance proofreading is for you. Perfect if you want to know how to become a proofreader with no experience and if you are looking for proofreading courses online for free.

Training to be a proofreader

9 Best Courses For Those Training To Be A Proofreader

1. Proofread Anywhere’s General Proofreading: Theory And Practice (GPTP)

The Proofread Anywhere course by Caitlin Pyle is a tried-and-tested, comprehensive course that not only teaches you how to proofread but teaches you how to succeed as a freelance proofreader. 

Caitlin’s course doesn’t come cheap, but it’s one of the best proofreading courses out there and has truly trained many proofreaders. 

Why it is good:

  • Free 76-minute trial workshop for you before you commit to buying the full course – great for those of you who love your proofreading courses online free!
  • Practical bonus resources like how to file taxes and market yourself
  • Lifetime access 
  • Course completion certification 
  • Access to an exclusive Facebook group that has strong peer-to-peer support

Price: $397 for Ignite, $497 for Ignite Plus, which includes a hand-graded exam and certificate of completion.

Training to be a proofreader

2. Becoming A Proofreader (Knowadays, formerly known as Proofreading Academy) 

Proofreading Academy is well-known in the space for its proofreading course, known as Becoming A Proofreader

It has since rebranded and is known as Knowadays, but it still has its signature flagship course. 

Knowadays’ proofreading course is an extremely comprehensive course that is suitable for anyone who’s a beginner up to a professional looking to polish their skills. 

This course is also really good for those seeking accredited proofreading courses online as this is accredited by the Continuing Professional Development UK

Why it is good:

  • Free trial before you commit
  • Installment payment plan for anyone who might not have the full chump change upfront
  • Different types of proofreading covered in one course – academic, business, creative
  • Guaranteed work – those who score well in the final assessment can work with Knowadays’ partner company Proofed for a trial 

Price: $499

Training to be a proofreader

3. Writing Editing Masterclass – Content Editing, Copyediting, and Proofreading (Skillshare)

If the earlier two options were too pricey for you, there are more affordable options on sites like Skillshare and Udemy, both online learning platforms. 

Skillshare’s editing and proofreading course has a wide variety of modules on content editing, copyediting, and proofreading – so it’s a perfect starting point if you’re undecided about which to start with. 

Why it is good:

  • Covers the larger editing process instead of just proofreading
  • Skillshare comes with a 7-day free trial, and you can just pay $168 a year (or about $14 a month for a subscription after – so your course is essentially free if you do it within 7 days! 
  • Quick and easy to complete in short, manageable chunks if you are pressed for time 
  • Good examples are given to illustrate learning points 

Price: Free or about $14 a month (on its $168 a year subscription plan) after your 7-day trial runs out

4. Kickstart a Freelance Editor and Proofreader Career on Upwork (Udemy)

This is one of my favourite courses to recommend if you’re new to the world of freelancing and what to know immediately about how to become a freelance editor and proofreader on Upwork.

Upwork is an amazing freelancer platform to use if you are just starting out as a freelancer – I’ve mentioned it a few times on my blog about how to use it, set your rates there, and succeed there.

In this course, university professor Duncan Koerber goes into all of that, with a special lens looking at proofreading and editing.

Why it is good: 

  • One of the highest-rated freelancing courses on Udemy
  • Insights taken from the tutor’s actual published material
  • Lifetime access
  • Completion certification after you finish all modules 

Price: $14 with 30-day money-back guarantee

Training to be a proofreader

5. Proofreading Power Basics (Udemy)

If you’re looking for something short, snappy, yet comprehensive, Proofreading Power Basics should be top of your list. 

The power-packed course is a mere 1.5 hours long – great for those of us who have limited time or attention spans.

Because of how quickly the course goes, you’ll need to ensure you have an intermediate level of grammar and writing skills before you sign up or risk not understanding most of it.

Why it is good:

  • Short 1.5 hour-long course in 23 easily-consumable snippets 
  • Hands-on exercises and quizzes
  • Materials can be downloaded and saved
  • Lifetime access to materials
  • Course completion certificate

6. What is Proofreading? (Publishing Training Center)


If you’re looking for an entry-level course but not too basic, Publishing Training Center’s What Is Proofreading could be what you’re looking for. 

The course is inherently geared towards publishers and authors (due to the nature of the organization providing this course) or those in education. 

Why it is good: 

  • Modules with 8 months of access so you are more likely to buckle down and upskill within a period, ensuring you’ll most likely finish the course
  • Able to download materials
  • Course completion certificate is available 

Price: $516

Training to be a proofreader

7. Proofreading and Copyediting 101 (Universal Class)

If you’re training to be a proofreader but uncertain about whether you might take on copy editing as you go along, you could consider Universal Class’ Proofreading and Copyediting 101

The course is quite long (11 hours), comprehensive, and offers you the opportunity to upskill in two skill sets, so it is extremely value-for-money.

For those who prefer a structured learning process, this course has exams and assignments on top of regular online modules. 

Why it is good:

  • Slightly-long course, but it is in-depth and very easy to follow
  • Tried and tested by more than 12,000 students 
  • Able to top-up for CEU (Continuing Education Units), which is an accredited system to show that you have upskilled

Cost: $70 with no certificate, $95 with certificate 

8. Writing Proofreading Course: Proofread Punctuation & Grammar (Udemy)

This proofreading course by Udemy is a perfect course for helping you finetune your punctuation and grammar skills when proofreading.

This course is designed for all, whether you’re new or experienced.

The course provider is also a seasoned Upworker, so he will provide legitimate real-life examples of his proofreading work and how to earn as a proofreader as soon as you can. 

Why it is good:

  • Delves into the necessary basics of proofreading
  • Teaches you how to proofread effectively
  • Has real-life examples from a tutor who is an established proofreader on Upwork 

Price: $12 (with a 30-day money-back guarantee) 

9. Proofread Like a Pro (Udemy)

Proofread Like A Pro will be perfect for you if you already have an inkling of what proofreading comprises, and want to hone your skills, like learning professional proofreading symbols.

Why is it good:

  • Taught by an engaging writer professor from Cambridge 
  • Short course (1.5 hours) with an affordable price point 
  • Used by top companies like WordPress, Nasdaq and Eventbrite for training their staff 

Some Proofreading Tips From Personal Experience!

1.    Get Some Work Samples

When you apply for jobs, many will specify that they need some work samples.

But how can you have work samples when you have never worked as an editor? It’s like the chicken before the egg argument!

Here is the solution:

Create free or discounted samples

 When I started learning how to become a freelance editor with no experience, I offered to edit the documents of friends and family for free.

CVs, university theses, work reports, you name it. Just read through, and edit, then save it as a sample.

Tip- You need at least 3 samples before you apply for editing jobs

 

2. Use Microsoft Tracker And Comments

Here is an essential tip I learned when I wanted to know how to become a freelance editor with no experience.

When you start creating a work sample, MAKE SURE you use Microsoft Tracker and comments to show HOW you edit and the before and after result.

Microsoft Tracker allows you to show all the changes you have made to an edited document.

Here is a great video on how to use Microsoft tracker and comments.

how to become a freelance editor with no experience using Microsoft tracker

 

3.    Set Up A Portfolio Website

Photo by Unsplash

Once you have some work samples, now it’s time to look professional.

Create a portfolio website that describes who you are and displays your work samples is a great way to convince potential clients that you are experienced, credible and worth their money.

You can say: ‘You can review my editing samples on my professional website aishapreece.com

If setting up a website scares youhere is a step by step tutorial on how you can set a website up for $3.95 a month.

4.   Niche Down

Providing an editing service in a specific area will make it easier to find clients and you will get paid more (the same way a surgeon is paid more than a doctor).

Potential clients will google search terms like ‘book/ novel editing’, or ‘thesis/essay editing’, not general terms like ‘editing services’.

Focus on being an expert in one area.

But you may be thinking… I have no experience, I don’t know which area to specialize in!

That’s fine, what do you enjoy editing, and what are your work samples related to, start with that, you can always change your niche later.

So, as an example, you could niche down into academic editing, book editing, web editing, newspaper and magazine editing.

It’s the best way you can earn more when you are learning how to become a freelance editor with no experience.

BONUS Tip: UNIVERSITY JOB BOARDS!

No one really talks about this but it works! I did it myself and STILL get referrals till today, 6 years later.

Create a flyer and stick it on the many job boards at universities and watch how many students contact you to proofread their university papers.

Universities are RIPE with students desperate to pass their research papers and theses and they give bulk work! Each thesis can be over 100 pages … and if you charge per page, the Math adds up!

What Is Proofreading?

Proofreading is the act of reviewing work right before it is published and after it has been edited at least once.

The proofreading process looks more at surface-level errors like typos, formatting, grammar, and punctuation. 

Don’t confuse it with copyediting or editing, which involves more editing, including fact-checking, editing for clarity, and reworking words to make it more understandable to the reader. 

How Do I Get Better At Proofreading?

Attending proofreading courses will help you get better at proofreading quickly. But if you want some quick tips to get better at proofreading, here are five tips to improve:

  • Reduce your reliance on spelling and grammar checkers to learn faster
  • Proofread for one type of error – spelling, grammar, punctuation – at a time to avoid speed-reading and missing words
  • Use a ruler or a pen to go through the words if needed to ensure you look at every word
  • Divide the text into smaller chunks and take a break after proofreading each chunk
  • Read the piece backward to spot things you may not have spotted the first time around 

How Much Can I Earn From Proofreading?

You can expect to earn anywhere from $18 to $35 per hour, going by the average rate that proofreaders on the freelancing site Upwork are charging. 

Depending on your level of experience, you can probably afford to charge more and earn more. 

You can also add more to your hourly rate if your client is in a niche area (where there aren’t many proofreaders), or if your client wants you to rush the work. 

We call this a rush fee. 

FAQs On Training To Be A Proofreader

Is Proofreading Still In Demand?

Yes, proofreading is absolutely in demand, even if you’re a beginner.

You might be required to accept lower-paying assignments at the start, but as you work your way up and skill yourself, you can go on to ask for a higher hourly or per-word rate. 

Proofreading remains in demand as a freelance job because of how easy it is to go into this line of work – you just need a laptop or a computer and a stable Internet connection.

Don’t believe me? Try taking Caitlin Pyle’s proofreading training for free to learn more about the industry! 

How Do I Become A Proofreader With No Experience?

If you have no experience, you can still be a proofreader! Here are the five steps to take to be a proofreader with no experience:

  • Know what a proofread does – You can’t sell your services if you don’t know what you’re doing!
  • Create some work samples by helping friends and family proofread and track your changes on Microsoft Word
  • Decide on your price, whether it’s a per-hour or a per-word rate
  • Find your first-paying client via sites like Upwork or by telling your friends and family you are ready for business
  • Learn about the tricks of the trade by taking proofreading courses from established professionals 

Is There A Course For Proofreading?

Yes, there are many courses for proofreading. Here are nine courses to improve your proofreading skills:

Can Anyone Learn To Proofread?

Yes, anyone can learn to proofread! While it is advisable for you to have a strong English background, you don’t need to be a graduate to work as a proofreader.

You also do not need to have any qualifications or certificates to be a proofreader.

Anyone can take a free proofreading course with a certificate, so it’s really up to you to differentiate yourself and your proofreading services to get clients. 

Where Can I Learn To Proofread?

You can learn to proofread from a number of sources, such as these few online courses: 

Does Proofreading Pay Well?

Proofreading can pay well. You can earn anything from $18 to $35 per hour for proofreading. 

There are many ways to improve your proofreading rate if you’d like to earn more. 

You can take on a proofreading course to learn how to proofread faster, how to get more clients, and how to niche down. 

How Can I Learn Proofreading For Free?

THIS FREE Proofreading workshop that will help you learn the basic skills and decide on whether freelance proofreading is for you. Perfect if you want to know how to become a proofreader with no experience and if you are looking for proofreading courses online for FREE

Some others:

For Skillshare, you can take on a 7-day trial for free before you have to pay for a subscription, so learn as much as you can during those 7 days to learn for free. 

If you’re training to be a proofreader, I hope this article has provided you with enough resources to help you learn more!

You might notice that most of the courses I’ve recommended do come with a small price.

While it’s possible to take a free online proofreading course with certificates, a paid course will contain more information, more bonuses and more support.

I personally benefited a lot from taking a paid proofreading course.

While I could have picked up this information on my own online, taking a course saved me a lot of time, and also from making a lot of proofreading mistakes. 

Still undecided about which course to take for the training to be a proofreader or whether you should take one at all? Drop me a DM or leave a comment below! 

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