I wouldn’t say the proofreading market is flooded with proofreaders at all. There are some people who will sign up and not move forward for whatever reason: they might not be as good at it as they thought, they might not like it as much as they thought, they might have a family issue come up… these are all risks you take. Most people don’t think twice when spending tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on a degree, though, and they come out no less able to get a job than they went in. The implied risks here are no different: simply taking a course doesn’t mean you’re going to make any money. It is a lot less pricey than college, though 🙂
Court reporters are entering the workforce at a much higher rate via the various schools across the nation than they are enrolling in my transcript proofreading course, that is for sure. Check out this post, too, for more of my thoughts on the demand there is for skilled transcript proofreaders (really — go read it. It’ll open a new tab, promise.).
There is also an influx of self-published authors that are publishing books at a record pace; online content creators publishing blog posts, articles, and emails on a daily basis; small business owners needing a second set of eyes for their marketing materials… the list is endless. The amount of content out there is only going to get bigger, and the need for quality general proofreaders is only going to increase along with it.
Is the Proofreading Market Flooded?
No. The proofreading market is NOT flooded. Whether you’re pursuing general or transcript proofreading (or both!), there will always be a need for professional, skilled, qualified proofreaders, no matter the niche.
That being said, transcript proofreading tends to be higher paying than general proofreading. Why? Because there’s so much more technical know-how involved. That’s why I highly recommend anyone going into general proofreading considering narrowing their niche, rather than just being a “general” proofreader (like sci-fi proofreader or a college essay proofreader — the list goes on and on!). Is it worth it? Yep. But it’s not for the faint of heart.
Some people who want to proofread for profit would rather stick with lower-paying, less work jobs because it’s easier, and it’s for this reason I’m not worried about the market ever being flooded with highly skilled proofreaders. The highly skilled ones know they have nothing to worry about. The unskilled ones? Well, they may get work initially, but they won’t keep those clients for long. It’s kind of like I don’t worry about there being too many bank salespeople or teachers — the pay isn’t too bad, but it’s HARD WORK to learn it, and there are more people wanting to do it initially than who actually end up doing it, because it’s no cakewalk 🙂 It’s survival of the fittest, in a way, not because we’re fighting tooth-and-nail for work (we aren’t), but because the best proofreaders are going to be the ones who not only get clients, but keep them.
“Saturation” is never a problem for the fittest, either. I’m very straightforward about this: you MUST be good at this to be successful. I’m not talking about being good at marketing — pretty much anybody can learn to be good at marketing. I’m talking about being GOOD at proofreading. That means taking your time in the course and working diligently through every single one of the 3,120 practice pages (transcript proofreading) or the 50 worksheets and essays (general proofreading) so you can truly become an excellent proofreader. It’s not just a hat you put on. You become it. What you’re paying for with your enrollment fee is for the tools to do just that.