Working from home has become a popular way to earn money because of the flexibility it provides. You can pick up a side hustle to earn extra cash, make money while raising your kids or simply get a better work-life balance. If you’ve searched for work-from-home jobs, you might have noticed that online proofreaders are in demand.
There aren’t a lot of hurdles when it comes to getting into proofreading, as long as you are adept with language and understand the rules of writing and editing. Beyond that, all you need is a good internet connection, an interest in the field and a laptop. Here’s everything you need to know about online proofreading jobs — and how to land one.
What Is a Proofreader?
If you can easily spot spelling errors, typos and incorrect grammar, you’re a natural proofreader. A proofreader reviews a writer’s work to make sure it has no grammatical, spelling, punctuation or formatting mistakes. The best part: In most cases, proofreading jobs let you work from home.
The job might sound the same as a copy editor, but the two have their separate roles. A copy editor takes a big picture role by ensuring the text’s style has flow and clarity. Although the copy editor might watch for punctuation and grammatical errors, the main focus is on the overall quality of the content, making rewrite suggestions and revisions. The proofreader comes in next, receiving the revised and completed text for a final review to spot spelling, grammar or formatting typos.
How Much Money Does a Proofreader Make?
A proofreader’s income varies depending on the job and experience level. Proofreaders make an average rate of $12 to $30 per hour.
Pros and Cons of Proofreading
Just like with other side hustles, freelance positions or online jobs, proofreading has its pros and cons. Here’s what to consider.
- You can potentially work as much — or as little — as you want.
- You can sign up for more than one proofreading service.
- The potential to scale your proofreading business exists.
- Startup and overhead costs are low as long as you already have a computer and a way to connect to the internet.
- Some sites and jobs offer low pay.
- If you don’t have any experience proofreading, you may find it difficult to secure higher-paying opportunities.
- Tight deadlines may be hard to meet if you’re pursuing this as a side hustle.
Who Qualifies To Be a Proofreader?
Proofreaders need to have patience, an eye for detail and excellent mastery of the English language. Additionally, proofreaders often need to have familiarity with different formatting styles, such as the MLA Handbook, Chicago Manual of Style and the AP Stylebook, to meet their client’s requirements. Knowledge of word processing programs such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs is also helpful.
Do You Need Qualifications To Be a Proofreader?
There are no formal qualifications required, although some of the better-paying proofreading jobs want applicants with at least one year of experience. A high school diploma, associate degree, college degree or master’s degree are also preferred for certain jobs.
How Do I Become a Proofreader?
Although no formal requirements are necessary to become a proofreader, there are a few ways you can sharpen your skills. Here are some ideas:
- Read McGraw-Hill’s Proofreading Handbook.
- Take an online course through the Editorial Freelancers Association.
- Check out Udemy’s proofreading courses and see which might be helpful.
Where Can You Get a Proofreading Job?
Starting is the hardest part. Many employers prefer proofreaders with a track record in the field, so it’s always helpful to gain some experience. Don’t let that discourage you; you can earn experience if you’re creative. Here are a few ideas:
- Proofread for friends.
- Build a portfolio with “before” and “after” samples of your work.
- Connect with other proofreaders and ask if you can assist them to earn experience.
- Regularly search the classifieds, looking for proofreading jobs requiring less experience.
How Do I Become an Online Proofreader?
If you’re looking for a proofreading job you can do online from your home computer, you’re in luck. Numerous job websites list online proofreading jobs. Keep reading to learn more about them.
20 Online Proofreading Job Sites
Once you think you’re ready to become an online proofreader, get your portfolio and resume ready. You’ll need an email address to access the jobs and receive responses from interested companies. Here are 13 online proofreading job websites for beginners to check out:
1. CACTUS Communications
CACTUS specializes in academic, medical and scientific proofreading work. Proofreaders are called editors. The company is headquartered in India and will provide you with the chance to work with multinational science and pharmaceutical companies. You can set flexible work hours as long as you can get the work done.
Pay: According to Indeed.com, CACTUS pay ranges from $3,000 to $4,000 per month.
How To Apply: CACTUS Job Listing Page
2. Cambridge Proofreading
If you have a bachelor’s degree from a native English-speaking university, you might qualify to work for Cambridge. Make sure you’re ready to apply — the process can be intensive. You’ll need to take a proofreading test that typically takes 45 minutes. If you pass, you’ll be given a trial edit with feedback. If you’re approved, you’ll have to edit at least 10,000 words per week and can choose to get paid weekly, every two weeks or monthly.
Pay: $20 to $25 per hour
How To Apply: Cambridge Proofreading Quiz Page
This crowdsourcing website coordinates freelance workers to help clients get their jobs completed. The app makes it easy to apply for work and accept jobs while you’re on the go.
Pay: Depends on the job
How To Apply: Clickworker Registration Page
Domainite doesn’t pay much at all, but you may be able to justify trading your time for experience that can help you build your portfolio. You’ll need to complete an online application and submit a sample to get approved and access the website’s editing jobs.
Pay: $0.25 per 100 words
How to Apply: Domainite Writing/Editing Application
EditFast is an online job board for freelance proofreading jobs. You’ll need to have a college degree to register and activate your custom profile page where editors can assign work to you. Your page serves as your resume — you’ll get work that matches your qualifications. The company doesn’t guarantee jobs, but registering is free and worth a try.
Pay: EditFast gets 40% of the assignment price which is relatively steep, but at least you know how much you’re going to earn before you accept the project.
How To Apply: EditFast Registration Page
Fiverr is a massive gig website where you can find freelancers to do nearly anything for $5 or more. It’s not the most lucrative way to make a living as a proofreader, but if you’re just starting and looking to gain some experience and build up a portfolio, it’s a good route to go.
Pay: $5 per hour or job
How To Apply: Fiverr Signup Page
FlexJobs is a remote work job portal for nearly every job you can do from home. You’ll need to pay $14.95 per month to access all the job listings, but it might be worth the cost to have professionals weed out the scams from the actual gigs.
Pay: Depends on the job; FlexJobs has almost 400 proofreading jobs currently available
How To Apply: FlexJobs Signup Page
Freelancer’s marketplace makes it possible to search for jobs and bid on them. You’ll need to set up a profile first, then find proofreading jobs and send the client a bid. You’ll be able to see the client’s rating from other freelancers. You can also choose clients with a verified payment method to ensure you’ll get paid. Once you complete your work, you might receive a rating from the client. The higher the rating, the better your chance of winning other bids.
Pay: It’s up to you, although bids vary between hourly rates of up to $21 per hour to a flat fee rate per project.
How To Apply: Freelancer Proofreading Jobs
Gramlee is an entry-level proofreading website. The pay is low, but you’ll get the hang of proofreading a variety of texts. Turnaround times are quick: You’ll be expected to proofread a 3,000-word text in 24 hours or less.
Pay: The company charges clients three cents per word for copyediting services, although it doesn’t disclose how much proofreaders get.
How To Apply: Gramlee Jobs
Guru is an online freelance bidding platform where you search for jobs and bid on them. If you win the bid, the job is yours. You’ll get to bid for 120 jobs per year for free or you can pay a monthly fee to buy more bids. Guru charges a lower commission on your assignments than other similar platforms like Upwork.
Pay: Varies on the scope of the work, but Guru will take a 9% commission on your earnings.
How To Apply: Guru Signup Page
Indeed provides a free database of jobs that can be searched by keyword, location, experience level, salary and more. The proofreader page has almost 300 proofreading jobs in several industries, including medical and fashion.
Pay: Depends on the company
How To Apply: Visit the Indeed Page for Proofreaders.
12. Polished Paper
Polished Paper offers both proofreading and editing services to its clients and is looking for “exceptional editors.” To apply to proofread and edit, you’ll need to register for a user account and take a 35-question test. The instructions state that you’re encouraged to use outside sources to answer the test questions, including formatting guides such as MLA, CSE, APA and Chicago style.
Pay: Polished Paper does not offer the rate it pays for proofreaders or editors.
How to Apply: Editor Application
Every document handled by ProofreadingPal is proofread and edited by two professional proofreaders. To qualify, you’ll need to be currently employed by a U.S. college or university or enrolled as a graduate or postgraduate student and have a minimum 3.5 GPA or have a graduate degree with a minimum of five years’ experience as a professional proofreader and editor.
Pay: The ProofreadingPal website states that its editors typically earn between $500-$3,000 per month. Glassdoor reports $12 hourly.
How To Apply: ProofreadingPal Application
This website hires part-time and full-time proofreaders from any country. There is no stated minimum experience requirement, but you’ll need to complete a 20-minute proofreading test to show the company what you can do. The faster you work, the more money you can make. ProofreadingServices claims their highest-paying jobs have fast turnaround times.
Pay: $19 to $46 per hour
How To Apply: ProofreadingServices Application
Scribbr is based in Europe but works with proofreaders from around the world. You’ll be proofreading academic work such as dissertations and theses. Scribbr is always looking for native English speakers with a Bachelor’s degree. You’ll need to complete an online questionnaire and proofreading test to qualify.
Pay: 25 to 28 Euros per hour, or about $27 to $30 per hour according to recent conversion rates
How To Apply: Scribbr Proofreading Introduction Page
You’ll need to have some previous proofreading experience to sign up for Scribendi and feel comfortable working with texts created by people using English as a second language. The company requires that its editors and proofreaders have a speed of 1,000 to 1,500 words per hour. If you can work fast, you might find plenty of work available.
Pay: An average of $27 per hour according to Glassdoor
How To Apply: Scribendi Application Page
Upwork is the largest job-matching platform for freelancers. The goal here is to get invites from interested clients. You’ll need to invest some time to set up a complete and professional-looking profile that sets you apart from the rest, but it’s worth it. The more work you complete and the more positive feedback you receive, the higher your chances of making a good income from Upwork.
Pay: Pay varies according to the project. Upwork will charge you a commission on each project of 20% up to $500, 10% up to $10,000 and 5% on assignments over $10,000.
How To Apply: Upwork Signup Page
If you become a proofreader for Wordvice, you’ll be expected to edit and proofread academic papers, admissions essays and other types of documents. You’ll need to be enrolled in or have completed a graduate degree program and have a minimum of two years’ of professional editing experience.
Pay: $30-$33 per hour
How To Apply: Wordvice Signup Page
19. Writer’s Job Shop
If you have excellent English language skills and a degree in any subject, Writer’s Job Shop has a steady stream of work for experienced proofreaders. Once you apply and are approved, you can choose from a variety of orders on the Writer’s Job Shop job notice board. Pay is monthly, and bonuses are rewarded to high performers.
Pay: Competitive rate that varies per assignment
How To Apply: Writer’s Job Shop Registration Page
ZipRecruiter is an easily searchable job database. The website currently has more than 5,000 proofreading jobs available. You can even set a job alert that will send you an email when new proofreading jobs get posted.
Pay: Varies, with recent jobs ranging from around $10 per hour to more than $30 per hour
How To Apply: Visit the ZipRecruiter Page for Proofreaders.
Advice for Becoming an Online Proofreader
If you have an excellent command of the English language and you pride yourself in spotting grammatical errors, punctuation mistakes and spelling blunders other people don’t notice, being an online proofreader may be the perfect side hustle for you.
If you have a couple of years of experience as a proofreader or editor already, you’ll have a much better chance of scoring higher-paying online proofreading jobs because not only will you be able to meet work experience requirements, you’ll also be much more likely to pass any necessary proofreading qualification tests.
If you have very little or no proofreading experience, be willing to take lower-paying jobs at first to help you gain the experience needed to qualify for available online proofreading jobs that pay a much higher rate. You can also improve your proofreading skills by taking an online course or studying other relevant materials.
Unique Side Gigs
- Sell Used Clothes Online
- Sell Your Used Textbooks
- Sell Pokémon Cards
- Sell Your Photos Online
- Sell Gift Cards For Cash
- Sell These Hot Items at a Pawn Shop
- Donate Your Plasma
- Take Surveys For Money
- Become An Online Tutor
- Become a Virtual Assistant
- Odd Jobs That Pay Insanely Well
Cynthia Measom contributed to the reporting for this article.