Editing and proofreading are important steps in publishing any document. Books, magazines, blogs and newspapers all need people to look for mistakes line by line. However, few people possess the skills and attention to detail necessary to do this job.

Accredited proofreading courses can help hopeful editors gain the skills they need to excel in this field. The certificates they earn after completing these courses prove that they know their craft and can excel in proofreading positions. If you're interested in honing these skills or proving your knowledge, be sure to find the program that best suits your needs.

Choose an Accredited Program

Accreditation should play an important role in choosing an online learning certificate of any kind, especially in proofreading and editing. Accredited schools answer to third-party agencies that check for the quality of the instruction and subject matter expertise. If you choose an unaccredited program, you cannot be sure if you will learn the skills you need to succeed.

Furthermore, accredited programs tend to garner more respect from employers. People who hire editors and proofreaders often have plenty of experience in publishing. Therefore, they know to look for graduates from schools with great reputations in the industry.

Editing vs. Proofreading: Know the Difference

People often use the terms "editing" and "proofreading" interchangeably. After all, when you edit your own college paper, you proofread it at the same time. However, editors and proofreaders play unique roles in online and traditional media.

Proofreaders, or copy editors, look at the micro level of the piece. They look for errors in grammar, spelling and punctuation. They also ensure that the writers stick to the organization's unique guidelines.

On the other hand, editors make changes to the piece on the whole. They may rearrange paragraphs to make them flow better or send it back to the writer for changes to the bigger picture, and they ensure the piece fits with the overall brand. Sometimes, one person can act as both an editor and a proofreader.

Choose Between Certificate and Certification

Although "certificate" and "certification" sound like they should refer to the same types of programs, these words have distinct meanings in the world of higher education. Universities typically offer certificates, which they can provide at the undergraduate or graduate levels. Learners complete one or more courses through the university and earn the certificate, much like a shorter version of a degree.

On the other hand, professional organizations offer certifications. Earning a proofreading certification online typically requires paying a fee, proving some credentials and taking a test. Some organizations also offer certifications with courses, similar to what universities provide.

Certificate programs are best for people with little to no experience in editing and proofreading. Certifications work well for people who have some experience in either position but want an official designation to boost their resumes.

Editing and Proofreading Certificate Programs

When you earn a proofreading certificate online, you may take courses in AP style or Chicago style rules. Classes cover the grammar, spelling and punctuation rules of each. Courses may also cover other editorial concepts, such as managing writers and building a cohesive writing style.

Several major universities offer these programs online, including:

  • UC San Diego
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Washington
  • UC Berkeley

Certifications in Editing and Proofreading

If you prefer the certification route, look for professional organizations and the credentials they offer. Many employers know these organizations and respect the certifications. Some editing and proofreading organizations that provide these credentials include:

  • American Copy Editors Society
  • Society for Editors and Proofreaders (UK)
  • The Publishing Training Centre (UK)
  • Editorial Freelancers Association
  • Writer's Digest

Whether you want to break into the world of editing, or you wish to solidify your credentials, certificates and certifications can help. Be sure to choose a program with an excellent reputation and understand the differences among the offerings. You can quickly earn credentials that set you apart.

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