Are you the person your friends turn to when they need someone to proofread a letter before sending it? Maybe you were “that one kid” in class who actually looked forward to grammar assignments… while the other kids groaned.
Let’s face it… if you’re on a proofreading blog, you’ve likely always had a knack for spotting weird sentence structure and all things grammar-related. Very few people are blessed (cursed?) with this gift, and even fewer people have figured out how to use their blessing to make money!
Did you know that the demand for skilled proofreaders has been on the rise every year since 2010?
Now that we live in a post-pandemic world that’s friendly to freelance work, the demand for proofreaders is higher than ever. As a result, online proofreading courses are popping up left and right! Proofread Anywhere has offered high-level proofreading courses since 2014.
Tread carefully before signing up for proofreading courses online. Most courses include the basics, but very few include lifetime access to the course, free updates to your course whenever new material is added, or access to a thriving community of fellow proofreaders.
While our past students highly recommend our proofreading courses, proofreading is not easy work, and you will not become rich overnight. That said, you are in complete control when it comes to how many hours you work and the income you ultimately earn.
Before we dive into the skills you need and what to look for in proofreading courses, let’s quickly review what a proofreader is — and what a proofreader is not!
A Proofreader is NOT an Editor
Although the terms are often used interchangeably, proofreading and editing are two different skills.
An editor often becomes just as familiar with a piece of text as its author — sometimes even completely rewriting the copy. Sentence structure, syntax, grammar, style… editors are responsible for fixing these things before sending a final draft of the text to a proofreader.
The proofreader ensures the final version of a text has zero errors before it is printed or published online.
Can anyone become a proofreader? No. Proofreading is enjoyable and often fun for word nerds, but it does take a specific set of skills to become a proofreader. Let’s take a look!
Skills Needed to Become a Proofreader
Proofreaders need strong attention to detail. This is a no-brainer. You must be able to catch those pesky errors that editors and writers might miss.
Your grammar, punctuation, and spelling skills should be far above average to be successful as a proofreader. If errors such as using “your” vs. “you’re” or random apostrophes added into plural nouns drive you batty, you could be a natural!
Even if you are a natural at proofreading, English is a dynamic language that progresses over time, so be prepared to stay up to date with your education. Many of our students have reported that rules they learned in English class 20 years ago aren’t even correct anymore! This is the #1 reason why choosing an online proofreading course with lifetime access to updates is in your best interest. As the industry evolves, we update the content –so you can update your brain!
What is Included in the Best Online Proofreading Courses?
No proofreading course would be complete without a thorough overview of the most common errors writers make in their copy. These include:
- Commas and semicolons
- Commonly misused words
- Noun and pronoun agreement
- Quotation marks and italics
- Subject and verb agreement
Choose a proofreading course that covers the nuances found among different English-speaking countries like the UK and Canada. It’s not just spelling that varies; punctuation varies as well.
Not All Online Proofreading Courses Are Created Equal!
This is where you’ll find the most variance between the proofreading courses out there.
Some of them focus heavily on the “theory” but include very little practice. What’s the point in knowing how to do the work if you have no idea how to get the work? The best proofreading courses teach you:
- How to ask for feedback from proofreading clients
- How to ask for referrals
- How to organize your business (including taxes)
- How to set up your LinkedIn profile for maximum exposure
- How to network with potential proofreading clients
- How to build a professional website
There’s so much more to becoming a proofreader than just proofreading. Learning how to effectively market your services and communicate with your clients is paramount to getting paid as a proofreader. The best proofreading courses include step-by-step instructions for everything you need to do — including how to register a domain name and craft each page of your website.
How to Choose the Best Proofreading Course for You
Of course, any online proofreading course can claim to be the best. Here are some questions to ask before enrolling:
- Does the proofreading course offer lifetime access to the content? Some proofreading courses limit how long you have access, meaning you could miss out on valuable updates and expansions to the course. Our students — even the ones who enrolled way back in 2014! — have immediate access to all updates to the content inside our proofreading courses at no additional cost. Ever.
- Does the proofreading course offer how-to information relating to business and marketing? While most proofreading courses cover how to become a proofreader, learning to think like a “business” person is an entirely different set of skills. Make sure the course you choose offers regularly updated information on business setup, accounting/taxes, and marketing.
- Does the proofreading course include access to a student community? Working alongside fellow students can dramatically improve your course experience.
The best proofreading courses also cover how to work with various software your clients can use to send you work. The more clients you take on, the more likely it is that you’ll need to use different tools. You can receive proofreading work in Microsoft Word, another in Google Docs, and still another in PDF format. Not tech-savvy? No worries! If you choose a proofreading course with a community component, you can easily find help from a fellow student.
How To Get Started
Since 2014, Proofread Anywhere has offered the best online proofreading courses — the kind that truly covers it all: proofreading techniques, practice, business setup, accounting, marketing… even mastering your mindset as a freelancer.
With our lifetime support, lifetime access, all updates at no additional cost, hand-graded exams, and an incredible student community, you’ve got a recipe for success that grows right along with you. It’s a holistic approach to becoming a proofreader we guarantee you won’t find anywhere else! Grab a seat in our free online workshop to get started now.