Certificate in Editing and Proofreading

Study editing, proofreading, writing, media studies or journalism. Become a professional editor with this alternative education writing school. Courses online or by correspondence.

Course Code: BWR005
Fee Code: CT
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 600 hours
Qualification Certificate
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Become a successful editor or proof reader!

Proof readers and editors work both as:

  • freelance contractors running their own business from home;
  • in house staff; employed by book or magazine publishers, printers, newspapers, broadcast media and other enterprises.

This certificate is designed to provide the knowledge and skills to work as a freelance editor or proof reader; or seek employment in the media.

You will be mentored by a team that includes experienced media professionals, journalists, authors and editors; led by principal John Mason, a former editor for four national magazines.

  • Many of the teaching staff have worked in the publishing industry. As an ACS student, you have full support from these professionals to not only help you with your studies but also advise and guide your career development.



Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Certificate in Editing and Proofreading.
 Editing I (Editing and Proofreading) BWR106
 Graphic Design BIT205
 Editing II BWR302
 Editing Practice BWR305
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 2 of the following 11 modules.
 Children's Writing BWR104
 Creative Writing BWR103
 Dramatic Writing BWR110
 Poetry BWR109
 Workshop I BGN103
 Writing Fiction BWR105
 Ethics BPS217
 Information Security BIT203
 Journalism Practice I BWR203
 Photoshop CS - Beginner To Medium Level VIT202
 Technical Writing (Advanced) BWR301

Note that each module in the Certificate in Editing and Proofreading is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.

Working in Editing

Very few people can immediately write a lucid and well-expressed piece of work. In most cases, the final draft is smoothed and polished so that others can readily understand the writer’s message. It is the editor’s role to improve the quality of the writing, whether their own or someone else’s work.

Many writers find supplementary work as a proof reader or editor. To do this job, you need to be fast and sharp with picking up grammatical and spelling mistakes. Not everyone can do this; but as a writer develops their writing skills over a period of years; these proof reading skills tend to develop naturally.

Editing involves several stages:

  • Reviewing the manuscript
  • Structural (substantive) editing
  • Copy editing
  • Proof reading
  • Checking proofs

Opportunities to Work in Editing and Proof Reading

The scope of editing ranges from self editing, where the writer examines their writing and improves it as best they can, to professional editing, where an expert is employed by a publishing company to improve the quality of a piece of writing prior to publication.

There are many other facets of commercial publishing that require the skills of professional editors. These include:

  • commissioning publications;
  • reviewing manuscripts;
  • overseeing manuscripts through the production process;
  • liaising with writers, publishers, printers and agents;
  • writing blurbs, captions and press releases;
  • researching and organising pictures.

In smaller organisations the editor may also be responsible for the design and publication of documents, newsletters, reports, magazines and books using desktop publishing software and equipment.

Every editing job is different in some respect from others, and different editors may be responsible for different tasks. In general, editors do any or all of the following (or may delegate some tasks to others):

  • Correct language errors, such as poor grammar, incorrect spelling and punctuation, and ambiguities.
  • Identify technical inaccuracies (eg. in a non-fiction book.)
  • Improve conciseness and clarity, if and where this is of significance.
  • Identify potential legal problems, such as plagiarism, ethical or moral problems, copyright infringements, defamation risks.
  • Check for uniformity and appropriateness of content and style, and make or recommend adjustments if necessary.
  • Determine whether the content of a manuscript should be deleted or replaced (usually with approval from both the author and publisher).
  • Determine whether additional content is required within a manuscript (usually with approval from both the author and publisher).
  • Determine the order in which the manuscript is to be published.
  • Liaise with all other persons involved in the production of the publication.
  • Check and clear copyright material to be used in the publication (for instance, anything which is not the original work of the author should be properly referenced and used only in accordance with the law in any jurisdiction relevant to the publication).
  • Prepare preliminary pages and cover, and mark up any end matter, usually in collaboration with the author.
  • Prepare instructions for others involved in production, such as the designer, illustrator, typesetter and printer. (This may involve marking up the manuscript, preparing a series of ‘briefs’ and, in some cases, contract or tender documents.)
  • Select illustrations, including photographs, tables and drawings from material submitted by the author.
  • Identify and source additional illustrations if required (from the author or elsewhere).
  • Write marketing material if required (often in collaboration with the author and/or the marketing staff).
  • Monitor (and sometimes control) production schedules.
  • Check proofs at each stage of production.
  • Maintain a record of corrections after production for use in any reprints or new edition.

Risks and Challenges

Editing can be a job that involves a high level of responsibility for any mistakes that may be in the publication.

Editing can be very competitive, and the salary may be low as you work your way up to a well paid position.

Editing can be a high pressure industry that involves meeting strict print deadlines.

How to become an Editor

Like any career, you will need to get experience before you get a well paid job as an editor. You will most likely have to work from the bottom up. You may start with a job as an editorial assistant and learn skills required to become an editor.


What's Covered in some of the Modules?


This course contains eight lessons as follows:

  1. Introduction to Editing
    • the role and scope of editing
    • what an editor does
    • tools for editing
    • editing skills; the things that make a good editor
    • danger signs (mistakes to avoid)
    • the publishing team (the publisher, business manager, production manager, designer, marketing staff)
    • the production process
    • the production schedule
  2. The Mechanics of Clear Writing
    • spelling
    • punctuation
    • grammar
    • language
    • style
    • tense
    • language level
    • common mistakes
    • style errors
    • improving clarity and conciseness
  3. Assessing Manuscripts
    • the readers report
    • reviewing a manuscript (structure, punctuation, accuracy, illustration, other improvements)
    • authors responsibilities
    • nature of a manuscript
    • libel, slander, defamation
    • what an editor should look for
  4. Copy Editing I
    • what the copy editor does
    • basics of copy editing
    • the procedure (check manuscript, read, edit text, edit other components)
    • style sheets
    • house style
    • introduction to mark up
    • marking up copy
  5. Copy Editing II
    • marking up
    • parts of a publication (preliminary pages, text, end matter)
    • editing non-text material
    • illustrations
  6. Preparing Copy for Printing
    • type design and page layout
    • type size
    • type face
    • line spacing
    • line length
    • justification
    • indentation
    • widows and orphans
    • running heads and feet
    • folios
    • headings
    • proof stages: galley proofs, page proofs
  7. Proof Reading
    • the proof readers role
    • procedure for checking galley proofs
    • proof reading tips
    • revised galley proofs
  8. The Final Stages
    • indexes
    • preparing an index
    • blurbs
    • checking final proofs
    • bromides, dye lines, etc.


There are eight lessons in this module as follows:

  1. Introduction to Editing - State of the Art
  2. Editing and Design
  3. Headings, Headlines and Captions
  4. Graphics
  5. Refining Text Exiting - Common Traps
  6. Matching Style and Context
  7. Legal and Ethical Issues
  8. Editing Project


This is a unique, hands on course that develops your practical skills to edit professionally. This course takes you through the processes of editing for a specific publication, submitting work for publication, and meeting the requirements of an editor and publisher.

  1. Working to Specifications
  2. Editing Articles for Online Publications
  3. Submitting Articles for Online Publications
  4. Preparing and Submitting Layout for Publication
Under the guidance of a mentor (a writing/editing tutor), you will learn to edit according to specific criteria, deal with a publisher, and communicate effectively with others involved in the publishing process.

This module gives you hands-on experience in copy editing an online publication. You will work with a tutor (member of our academic staff) who will oversee your role as copy editor for an online publication.


How Much Can a Course Really Help?

What you learn in this course will set you on a pathway. It will give you the basic understanding of editing that is needed to make you useful to a client. It provides an opportunity to build your confidence and motivation; and raise your awareness of opportunities for apply editing skills in the world of commerce.

To get the full benefit from these studies, it is important that you see them for what they are - a beginning. They give you an opportunity to start editing. It doesn't matter if you don't get a job straight off as an editor; but it does matter that you continue to use and build on what you learn.

Getting a Start, Finding Work after your Studies

This may be done in many ways:
  • Start your own business helping people edit or write things (eg. resume writing, freelance writing for magazines, writing web site content, advertising material).
  • Volunteer to help with newsletters or web sites for clubs, schools or any other community organisations. Even if you don't get paid; this is all experience, and every bit of experience you get is a step closer to paid work.
  • Start your own blog or web site and impress potential clients or employers with what you write and how well you edit.
  • Offer your services as a freelance editor to book or magazine publishers
  • List your availability as an editor with employment services, literary agents, on web sites or anywhere else that you can.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.

How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
registration. Recommencement fees may apply.

Simply click on the ENROL OPTIONS button at the top of this screen and follow the prompts.

You can see the course price at the top of this page. Click 'enrolment options' to see any payment options available.

You can pay by Credit Card, PayPal, Afterpay or bank transfer.

Yes! We have payment plans for most courses. Click 'enrolment options' to see the available payment plans.
We also have Afterpay that will allow you to pay for your course or payment plans in four instalments (if you are in Australia).

What do I need to know before I enrol?

There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

You don’t need to purchase any additional resources to complete our courses.

We aim to teach you the essentials without you having to purchase any specific computer program.
We recommend that you have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so that you can easily complete and submit your assignments.

You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

Yes, if you are enrolling in a Certificate or Advanced Certificate, you might be eligible for credits if you have evidence of your previous studies or relevant experience. More information is here.

We recommend that you are able to browse websites, send emails and conduct online research. You will need to be able to type and submit your assignments.
If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course is aimed at providing you with a solid understanding in your selected discipline. It has been designed to take 600 hours, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and more. When you complete the course, will have a good understanding of the area/ industry you want to work in.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

Yes, your tutor is here to help you. Simply post any questions you have in your login.training portal or contact the office and we can pass on a message to your tutor.

We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $60 incl. GST for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exams (6 exams) and you will be able receive your course certificate- a Certificate. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

Yes, our courses are built to be applicable for people living anywhere in any situation. We provide the fundamentals, and each student can apply their own unique flair for their own interests, region and circumstances with the one-on-one guidance of a tutor. There is also a bit of student directed research involved.

Employers value candidates with industry skills, knowledge, practical skills and formal learning. Our courses arm you with all of these things to help prepare you for a job or start your own business. The longer you study the more you will learn.

ACS has an arrangement with OAMPS (formerly AMP) who can arrange Professional Indemnity from Australian and New Zealand graduates across all disciplines. Ph: 1800 222 012 or email acs@oamps.com.au.

Who are ACS Distance Education?

ACS Distance Education have been educating people for over 40 years.

We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
We are focused on developing innovative courses that are relevant to you now and what you will need to know in the future.
We are focused on helping you learn and make the most of your experience.
You can enrol at any time, you can work on your course when it suits you and at your own pace.
We are connected to many industry bodies and our staff participate in continuous improvement and learning activities to ensure that we are ahead of what learning is needed for the future.

Our courses are not accredited by the Australian Government. However many of our courses are recognised and held in high regard by many industry bodies.

Our courses are written by our staff, who all have many years experience and have qualifications in their speciality area. We have lots of academic staff who write and update our courses regularly.

How do I enrol my staff/ sponsored students?

Yes, you can do a request for a bulk enrolment and request an invoice on our Invoice Request Form

We can prepare an invoice, quote or proforma invoice. Simply complete your details on our Invoice Request form

We can arrange bulk discounts for your course enrolment, please get in touch with us to discuss your needs.

Yes, we have many students who are in locked facilities, such as prisons or hospitals. We can cater by also offering paper notes at an additional cost.

What if I have any more questions or need more information?

We can assist you to find the right course for your needs. Get in touch with us via email (admin@acs.edu.au) call on +61 7 5562 1088 or complete our course advice form.

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