How to Become a Magazine Editor?

Are you thinking of becoming a Magazine Editor or already started your career and planning the next step? Learn how to become a Magazine Editor, what skills you need to succeed, how to advance your career and get promoted, and what levels of pay to expect at each step on your career path. Explore new Magazine Editor job openings and options for career transitions into related roles.
"Editor" was the nearest match for you query "Magazine Editor".

Steps to Become an Editor

An editor polishes and refines a story or article for newspapers, blogs, magazines, and books. If you're someone who has a passion for grammar and has strong communication skills, you might consider a career as an editor. In this article, we cover the steps you should take to become an editor.

Earn a degree in English.

To become an editor, most companies want you to have at least a bachelor's degree, preferably in English. Taking courses in this discipline can help you hone your comprehension of the English language. You can also get a degree in journalism and communications, both of which can give you training in drafting and publishing. If you already know that you want to edit specific types of text, such as science or history, you can get a degree in that field and a minor in journalism or English.

What type of degree should you pursue to become an Editor?

60% of people working as an Editor earned a Bachelor's Degree

What skills do you need to be an Editor?

  • Editing
  • Writing
  • English Language Grammar
  • Written Communication
  • Microsoft Office Suite
  • Content Management Systems
  • Degree IN English
  • Critical Thinking
Based on resume data from Glassdoor users who reported working as an Editor in the United States.

Gain experience through internships or school newspapers and magazines.

To perfect your editing skills, you need experience. Some undergraduate degree programs might include an internship as part of the graduation requirements. An internship is an excellent opportunity because you might be able to network or even apply for a job at the company after graduation. Certain colleges might even allow English and journalism students a chance to develop editorial and publishing skills in literary magazines or school newspapers. After you graduate, research online literary magazines since they might use editors to review submissions.


Work on your editing portfolio.

Before you can start editing the next great novel, you need to prove that you know how to edit text. Develop a portfolio of smaller assignments, and highlight some of your best work. Entry-level editing jobs are often competitive, so having a strong portfolio can help you stand out. Consider putting together a personal website so you can develop an online presence, and direct interested parties to your website to learn more about what you can offer. You can also reach out to nonprofit organizations and volunteer to review communications since they often look for cost-cutting measures.


Apply for editorial assistant positions.

Editor careers tend to follow an apprenticeship model where editorial assistants work alongside editors to learn about the industry. Many publishing companies expect you to spend a few years developing an understanding of the editing process and how books go from manuscript to the final product. Publishing houses and trading presses are great places to look for editor jobs.


Obtain certification, like BELS Board-Certified Editor.

To set yourself apart from other editors, consider obtaining certification. Two of the more popular organization-based certification programs include the following:

  • Poynter ACES Certificate in Editing: The Poynter Institute's News University partnered with the American Copy Editors Society (ACES) to offer this certification program. In it, you will learn the standards, best practices, and essential skills needed to be an editor.
  • BELS Board-Certified Editor: Offered by the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences (BLS), this certification signals that you have a strong understanding of how to edit text regarding life sciences. You need a degree and at least two years of experience as a manuscript editor to qualify.

Magazine Editor Career Path


2 - 4Years of Experience
$54K - $97K /yrMost Likely Range
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31% advanced to

Senior Editor

2 - 4Years of Experience
$70K - $115K /yrMost Likely Range
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Lead Editor

5 - 7Years of Experience
$54K - $92K /yrMost Likely Range
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Total Pay Trajectory

Magazine Editor Career Path

Editor I
Senior Editor
Lead Editor
Director of Editorial
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Related Careers in the Media & Communications Industry

Interested in other Media & Communications careers? Below are occupations that have high affinity with Magazine Editor skills. Discover some of the most common Magazine Editor career transitions, along with skills overlap.

63% skills overlap
29% transitioned to Copywriter