How To Become An Editor In Australia: A Complete Guide

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Students want to know how to become editors without a degree from home in Australia.


Do you have a perfect understanding of grammar and a tendency to pick out typographical flaws when reading content? If yes, an editing career might be perfect for you.


Editors work on various aspects of writing based on their specialisation. From content to sentence structure to grammar, they read, evaluate, and rectify different types of written work to make it ready for publication.


To become an Editor in Australia, you must complete an undergraduate degree in professional writing, media studies, journalism, communication, or a related field. Alternatively, you can take Certificate IV in Professional Writing and Editing.


Read this article to learn about the job description, career opportunities, qualifications, courses, salary, and professional steps to realise your dream career as an editor.



1. What Is Editing?


Editing is preparing visual, audible, photographic, written, or cinematic content to convey information to people. 


The process comprises rectification, condensation, and content organisation to produce exact, precise, consistent, and comprehensive work.


Below are the different stages involved in editing content:


  • Assess the manuscript

  • Edit the structure of content

  • Improve the readability of content 

  • Eliminate grammar mistakes

  • Eliminate typo, spelling, punctuation, and formatting mistakes 

  • Ensure accuracy and consistent flow of information 

  • Check the validity of proofs



2. Who Is An Editor?


An editor is an essential part of any process that involves published writing. 


You can find them working in several B2B and B2C companies and industries such as education, news and broadcasting, entertainment, advertising, healthcare, law, banking, journalism, and more.


When writers transform ideas into written content, editors refine their work by correcting, structural editing, copyediting, proofreading, and validating. This way, an editor assists the writer in effectively reaching his target audience.


The outcome is work that is ready for:


  • Production for movies, radio, television, or stage shows

  • Publish in printed or digital form in e-books, blog posts, websites, newsletters, brochures, magazines, newspapers, educational materials, marketing copy, scholarly articles, white papers, annual reports, memorandums, tenders, or manuals.



3. What Are The Different Types Of Editing?


An Editor can specialise and work in the following fields:



Book Editing


A book editor rereads and reorganises manuscripts before it gets published. They offer 4 stage services to clients:


  • Line editing

  • Developmental editing

  • Copy editing

  • Proofreading


An in-house editor also needs to communicate with authors plus coordinate with professionals from other publishing departments, such as design and promotion. A book editor must also write cover blurbs, update the book's metadata, etc.


An editor specialising in book editing can work as an assistant editor, editorial assistant, editor, senior editor, and editorial director.



Technical Editing


More than the correct grammar usage and consistent flow of information, a technical editor focuses on making specific technical content and presenting it understandably.


Their work involves checking the accuracy of graphs and equations and ensuring their appropriateness to the audience's knowledge level.



Academic Editing


An academic writer has sound knowledge of ethical academic practice. In addition to copy and structural editing, they also perform the following tasks:


  • Check consistency 

  • Check factual errors and plagiarism

  • Validate bibliographical data

  • Arrange data for index creation


Available job positions under this type of editing are journal editor and academic editor.



Web Editing


A web editor manages digital content for an organisation. Their typical duties include:



Professionals in this field can work as content managers, content editors, web editors, and blog managers.



Legal Editing


A legal editor writes accurate content in a legal context that complies with the publication's objectives. Typical tasks of a legal editor involve:


  • Research legal issues

  • Head noting

  • Legal analysis and reporting

  • Prepare "summaries" of court cases

  • Analyse legal developments


Professionals specialising in legal editing can work as legal editors in legal publishing houses.



News Editing


This type of editor is involved in proofreading, structural editing, factual checking, and ensuring uniformity in the news content per the style, objective, and theme of the publication house. 


A news editor can work as a section editor, sub-editor, associate editor, and editor.



4. What Does An Editor Do?


Regardless of publishing type, an editor focuses on polishing the writer's voice, accomplishing the objective of the written content, and ensuring that the readers correctly understand it.


They assess copy for publications to ensure it conforms with accepted grammar rules, format and style, precision, story consistency, legality, and correctness of the content.


Though the exact responsibilities of an editor vary based on the industry, a typical list of an editor's duties and tasks are as follows:


  • Brainstorm ideas for creative writing.

  • Read and reread the manuscripts of plays, movies, poems, novels, short stories, biographies, educational texts, and books.

  • Perform structural editing to structure a document logically.

  • Use writing skills to proofread and fix editorial issues such as spelling, punctuation, typographical errors, and grammar.

  • Choose the correct language and style and ensure consistent flow throughout the writing work.

  • Use words to ensure clarity, cohesiveness, quality, and readability.

  • Ensure the storyline is understandable and the themes and characters are clear.

  • Eliminate vagueness, simplify incomprehensible language and specialist or technical jargon and make the document attractive to a publisher.

  • Check for plagiarism, copyright violations, defamation risk, and ethical issues.

  • Give feedback to the writer regarding content, document/ story structure, and flow of information.

  • Help writers develop their voice and writing style by restructuring and rewriting the article.

  • Negotiate on royalties, publication date, and number of copies to publish

  • Identify places to publish work and make a public appearance for its promotion.

  • Oversee journalists

  • Communicate with those involved in the making of the publication, such as the illustrator, typographer, designer, and printing professionals.

  • Perform administrative tasks

  • Maintain a database of corrections to be used in reprints or new versions.



5. What Tools And Software Do Editors Need?


Gone are the days when editors used to write with a pen. Modern editors use interactive technologies, advanced publishing platforms, and multimedia software that combine written text with animation, graphics, audio, and video. 


Thus, the continuous evolution of the Internet requires editors to be flexible and adaptable.


Here is a list of tools that an Editor commonly uses to edit a piece of content effectively:


  • A laptop or PC with word processing software like MS Word to edit and publish layout programs for typesetting.

  • A dictionary in the relevant language.

  • The appropriate style guide like the AP Stylebook, the Chicago Manual of Style, or house style guides

  • A grammar reference book

  • A messaging service like email to digitally share documents with team members

  • PDF software, like Adobe Acrobat, to convert your PDF document into other formats

  • Task management software to schedule tasks and manage workflows

  • A comfortable workspace and a good speed Internet connection.



6. What Skills Do You Need To Become An Editor?


Now that we have learned about an editor's duties and tasks let us look at the skills you require to become a professional editor in Australia.


  • Love language

  • Grammatical literacy

  • Understanding of publishing and communication industries 

  • Knowledge of arts and media 

  • Good communication skills

  • Like polishing and refining existing work

  • An understanding of voice 

  • Detail-oriented

  • Creative mindset 

  • Able to focus on written content for extended periods

  • Organisational skills

  • Able to create elaborate and precise work within tight deadlines

  • Able to identify textual flaws and inconsistencies 

  • Time management skills

  • Aptitude to operate computers

  • Familiarity with a style guide

  • Knowledge of publishing conventions

  • Ability to follow market trends 

  • Commitment to writing and reading while building technical skills

  • Team player skills



7. Qualifications To Become An Editor In Australia


You need a formal qualification in a relevant field to become a professional editor in Australia.




8. What Official Bodies Are Related To Editing In Australia?




9. Steps To Become An Editor In Australia


Editors play a vital job in assisting writers to bring their ideas to life. If the job profile interests you, then follow these easy steps to pursue this career:



Step 1: Identify What Type of Editor You Want To Become


Several industries require editing. Each has its own set of requirements and objectives. 


Before you step into this career, you must identify which industry you want to work for. Knowledge of the critical editing types will help you focus on the skills and education required in that area of publishing. 



Step 2: Develop And Refine Your Skills With an Editing Qualification


There are too many aspiring editors in the industry. A relevant qualification and training will help you stand out from the crowd.


  • A Bachelor's degree in English, Journalism, Communications, Media, Law or a related field is an impressive way to start your editing career. 

  • Interested candidates can also consider completing a postgraduate degree in English, Creative Writing, Publishing, or a related subject. 

  • Most editors develop their craft by undertaking short-term informal courses on copyediting, publishing, journalism, or proofreading. They are a great way to enhance your knowledge and boost your resume.



Step 3: Attend an Internship Program or Work on Projects


Many aspiring editors begin their professional journey by gaining part-time editing experience or enrolling in an internship program.


Internships give you the necessary work experience in writing or editing to help you secure an entry-level position in editing, like an editorial assistant.


Completing a VET qualification, such as Certificate IV in Professional Writing and Editing, is a great option. It helps to familiarise yourself with the workflow, polish your communication and editing skills, widen your professional network and strengthen your editorial portfolio.


LinkedIn and the university's job search portal are good ways to find editing internship programs.


If you cannot afford or find a relevant internship, apply for short-term projects on freelancing job sites. The key is to start with small gig projects and gradually build your reputation and experience. Being a supportive community, you can manage to get work through references and recommendations.



Step 4: Expand Your Network


Working on real-life projects increases your editing experience. It helps you expand your professional contacts (online and in real life).


Social media groups, community forums, seminars and workshops are other good ways to get to know more people in different roles within your field, such as journalists, professors, authors, blog editors, video editors, creative directors, literary agents etc.



Step 5: Find Jobs


Your portfolio becomes more impressive as you accomplish more jobs, making it easier to find new work. Good testimonials, marketing skills, and sales tactics can help get prospective clients.


Some of the ideal places to look for editor jobs in Australia are:




10. Editing Courses And Certifications In Australia



Do you want to know how to become an editor without a degree? Certification courses are an excellent way to help students enhance their writing and editing skills, improve readability scoring and obtain better grades.


These courses are ideal for freelance editors, proofreaders, in-house publishing agency designers, or existing writers who want to upskill from line edits and proofreading to style and copy editing.


Here are the top tertiary institutions that offer formal editing courses in Australia:



Editing I (Editing And Proofreading) – ACS Distance Education


The introductory course is ideal for new editors and writers to develop a solid foundation to work as editors or proofreaders. 


It helps them improve their editing and proofreading skills, revise written work to a high standard, learn to assess manuscripts, and identify various writing flaws and areas of enhancement.



  • Duration: 100 hours

  • Qualification: Statement of Attainment

  • Learning Method: Correspondence (Paper notes), E-Learning (USB stick) or Online (via the web)



Certificate IV in Professional Writing and Editing


The course provides the basic skills to write and edit content to make it look professional and engaging. This course prepares the graduate for entry-level writing, and editing, in various fields such as business writing, journalism, fiction and non-fiction, and public relations


This course gives students the confidence to write with precision and clarity.


The following Australian universities and training institutes offer this course:



  • Federation University Australia

  • Bendigo TAFE

  • Campus: Bendigo City Campus

  • Swinburne University Of Technology

  • TAFE Gippsland

  • RMIT University

  • Victoria Government Education And Training

  • Queensland Skills Gateway

  • Easy Australia



11. Work Conditions For An Editor In Australia


A typical day of an editor involves making acquisitions, manuscript development, content and picture research, stylistic editing, structural editing, rewriting, proofreading, copy editing, fact-checking, layout editing, indexing, and production editing.





Though editors generally work in an office, the profession allows them to work remotely from their laptops anywhere.


Editors generally work in a team of writers, artists, web developersdesigners, publishers, project managersphotographers, printing professionals and other related professionals.



Work Hours


Most editors have standard work hours, but those involved in media and news broadcasting may need to work irregular hours or on weekends to meet project deadlines.



Nature of Employment


Editors can work as full-time employees in a publishing company or freelance editors for different clients on project-based contract agreements.



12. Employment Opportunities For an Editor In Australia


Editors are present everywhere. They can work as a specialist editing legal, medical, or scientific documents or as generalists who can edit all sorts of content.


Editors are in-house employees for commercial publishers or publication departments within government organisations.


Newspapers and magazine publishing agencies may also hire them. Some experienced book editors prefer to work as self-employed by working on a contract or running their publishing houses.


The most common industries that recruit Editors are:


  • Publishing

  • Sales and marketing

  • Retail and manufacturing

  • Government

  • Advertising

  • Media and entertainment

  • Law

  • News agencies

  • Education and a few other fields


An entry-level Editor can get employed in the following positions in Australia:


  • Creative writer

  • Publishing assistant

  • Design and production assistant

  • Journalist trainee

  • Freelance writer

  • Publicity Assistant

  • Editing and proofreading assistant

  • Marketing and public relations assistant


After gaining experience, an editor can choose to specialise in the following areas:


  • Associate Editor

  • Book Editor

  • Chief Sub-editor

  • Senior Sub-editor

  • Sub-editor

  • Proofreader

  • Commissioning Editor

  • Associate Editor



13. How Much Do Editors Get Paid In Australia?


The editor's salary depends on experience, qualifications, work scope and competitors' rates.


Based on the last three months of employment data, Australia's average annual editor salary is between $70k and $100k. The average hourly wage of an editor in Australia is 40 AUD.



Highest-paying Australian cities for Editors


  • Sydney: 89,660 AUD 

  • Brisbane: 88,300 AUD

  • Perth: 87,700 AUD 

  • Canberra: 87,562 AUD 

  • Adelaide: 87,000 AUD

  • Melbourne: 79,314 AUD

  • Gold Coast: 78,100 AUD

  • Sunshine Coast: 77,100 AUD 

  • Newcastle: 75,900 AUD

  • Gosford: 74,700 AUD

  • Wollongong: 74,600 AUD



Role-wise Average Editor's salary in Australia


  • Copy Editor: $57,002 per year

  • Copywriter: $68,584 per year

  • Writer/editor: $78,611 per year



Based on Experience


Less than two years of experience: 43,000 AUD per year.


  • 2 to 5 years of experience: 57,400 AUD per year (34% more than those with less than two years of experience)

  • 5 to 10 years of experience: 84,900 AUD per year (48% more than those with 2 to 5 years of experience)

  • 10 to 15 years of experience: 103,000 AUD per year (22% more than those with 5 to 10 years of experience)



Based on Education


  • High School graduate: 52,800 AUD per year.

  • A Diploma or Certificate holder earns 62,100 AUD per year (18% more than a High School degree holder)

  • A Bachelor's Degree holder makes 90,000 AUD per year (45% more than a Certificate or Diploma holder.

  • A Master's Degree holder draws 118,000 AUD per year, 31% more than someone with Bachelor's Degree.



14. How To Become A Book Editor In Australia?


To become an editor for books, you need to be a proficient reader and a capable writer. 


Follow the below steps to gain the necessary education and work experience for a book editor:



Step 1: Earn A Relevant Degree


A degree in English with majors in communications and journalism equips you with the essential skills to draft, review and publish a written text.



Step 2: Find Work Opportunities


Most colleges help students build editing and publishing skills while performing editorial work in school newspapers and academic magazines and attending internships


Graduates can look for opportunities in online literary magazines that hire editors to revise submissions.



Step 3: Take Training Courses


Online courses are a great way to develop a strong foundation in different aspects of editing. 


Many universities grant certificates on successful completion of the course. Such credentials can strengthen your candidacy and improve your employment chances as a freelance or a salaried employee.



Step 4: Build A Portfolio


It can be challenging to get the first job when considering the tough competition. A strong portfolio that lists your job-relevant certifications, qualifications, assignments, and skills can give you an edge over your competitors. 


So, focus on completing multiple smaller editorial assignments as a freelancer or a volunteer for nonprofit organisations. Once you build an impressive portfolio, you are ready to apply for the post of editorial assistant in companies.



15. How To Become An Editor For A YouTuber in Australia?


With so many easy-of-use and simple video editing software, it won't take much time to learn editing YouTube clips.


YouTube Movie Maker is a user-friendly software with numerous features to edit YouTube videos in multiple ways. 


You can use it to edit your video in numerous ways, such as merging video with voice-over, cropping unwanted content, adding graphics, adjusting colour and speed, trimming video images, adding background music, adding subtitles, intro, and other text, etc.


Once you get good hands-on practice with this software, you can progress further to learn advanced video editing software like Adobe After Effect or Filmora. Using these basic and professional video editors, you can easily edit videos for Youtubers based on their preferences.


It requires a good amount of practice to work as a professional editor for a YouTuber. Try out all the possible ways to edit a sample video using the available editing features in the software.


Create your own YouTube channel and upload your work samples (edited videos) to demonstrate your capabilities to prospective clients. Post your YouTube channel link on job portals and social media communities to promote your talent and grab a few work assignments.



16. How To Become A Video Editor In Australia?


Learning video editing can open the door to countless job opportunities in a variety of settings. 


You can work on a film set, a movie trailer, a music video, a reality show, or a commercial ad. You can either study video editing at a school or learn it independently.


Here are three simple steps to becoming a video editor:



Step 1: Learn Video Editing


The first step to becoming a video editor is to learn to use video editing tools to edit a video.


You can find plenty of online tutorials, how-to videos, and practice projects from hobbyists, third parties, and professionals. They help learn video-editing software such as YouTube Movie Maker, Adobe After Effect, Filmora9, iMovie, or DaVinci Resolve.


If you are serious about making a career in editing, then it is good to earn a formal education. A bachelor's degree in communications or film production, or taking courses in film history, film production, or editing software, will train you in different aspects of video editing and prepare you for an entry-level role in this field.



Step 2: Practice, Practice and Practice


Get a phone, DSLR or camcorder to capture videos and apply video editing features. These include cropping, trimming, adding music and text, adjusting colours, increasing or decreasing speed, combining audio and video, adding sound effects, and much more. 


The more you practice, the better you will become.



Step 3: Get Work Experience


Work experience holds immense importance when you are starting as a beginner. 


Attending internships, working on smaller projects, or working as a production assistant in a video production company are good ways to upskill and showcase your competencies to recruiters.


With perseverance and relevant experience, you will get your dream video editing job.



17. Conclusion


Editing is an excellent field for those passionate about reading and writing a wide range of diverse content. 


Becoming an editor allows you to get noticed in literature and culture. 


Don't procrastinate; get qualified to turn your love for the written word into a marketable skill.


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