The Most Profitable Proofreading Niches

Whether you’re a seasoned proofreader or just starting out, specializing in an area or ‘niche’ you’re passionate about is a fantastic way to grow both your income and enjoyment! 

You get to learn the ins and outs of an area you love and turn your work into a fun pastime. Compared to general proofreading, you can also become an industry expert, which ultimately helps you attract more repeat clients and charge higher rates.

You can specialize in practically any area you can possibly imagine (even quirky topics like alien conspiracies!). However, some proofreading niches are more profitable than others.

Today, we’ll take a look at some of the most lucrative niches out there. We’ll discuss how much each niche typically pays and what qualifications they require (if any). 

How to Choose a Proofreading Niche

How to choose a proofreading niche

There’s no getting around it: Choosing a proofreading niche is a daunting (albeit exciting) task. With so many options available, from academics and legal documents to DIY craft tutorials, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. 

But don’t sweat it! We have a few handy tips and insights to share that can help you discover the perfect proofreading niche:

  • Connect with veteran proofreaders: Ask them how they were able to find their perfect proofreading niche. You can connect with experienced proofreaders on forums, community pages, or even through online proofreading course groups — our General Proofreading course has a dedicated private Facebook group where you can instantly connect with other students and graduates! 
  • Assess your interests and hobbies: Choose a niche that aligns with your passions to get more enjoyment out of proofreading. Working in something you care about gives you the chance to get nerdy about your favorite hobby. 
  • Consider your life experiences: Reflect on any experiences that had a huge impact on your life and shaped you into who you are today.
  • Evaluate your expertise: Consider your qualifications, achievements, and work experience, and also your professional connections. You likely already have specialized knowledge under your belt that you can use to your advantage as a proofreader. 
  • Ask friends, colleagues, and relatives: Reach out to those in your circle and ask them what they have learned about you and where they feel your interests lie. Those around you can offer a fresh perspective and may have insights you’ve overlooked about yourself. For example, your friends may know that your face lights up whenever you’re binging a true crime show!
  • Experiment: Try proofreading different mediums and subject areas, and consider which ones resonate the most. Hands-on experience is the best way to get a feel for a niche and whether it’s right for you.

Once you’ve identified a few topics where you’d love to hone your expertise, the next step is to consider the profitability of proofreading in that industry.

Analyze if the niche is trending, search for active communities online, and check out average salary statistics on websites like Indeed and Glassdoor.

We’ll also be sharing some of the most lucrative niches below, so read on! 

Most Profitable Niches

Most Profitable Niches

To get a job within the most profitable niche industries, you will most likely need an advanced education, but some can be accessible to general proofreaders with specialized experience.

Here are the most profitable niches:

General Proofreading

Before we delve into the most lucrative proofreading niches, we’ll kick things off with a brief rundown of general proofreading. 

General proofreaders are adept at reviewing and polishing a wide variety of written materials, including blog posts, social media content, newsletters, marketing copy, and business documents. They’re also familiar with multiple subject matters and can readily adapt to different writing styles. 

While general proofreading isn’t as lucrative as other types of proofreading, the role does allow you to explore a wide array of topics — something that can help you zero in on the perfect niche if you’re struggling to decide! Compared to specialized proofreading, general proofreading is incredibly accessible, requiring less training and zero qualifications to get started. 

Qualifications & Salary

General proofreaders can make an annual income of $43,047 and eventually earn around $53,733 per year. Exact earnings depend on experience, skill, and whether you choose to work full-time or freelance.  

Though you don’t need a formal qualification to work as a general proofreader, you do need a keen eye and a willingness to become best friends with the dictionary (and a few industry-related style guides).

The main skills needed to become a proofreader include:

  • Strong attention to detail
  • Mastery of the English language 
  • Passion for the written word 
  • Solid grasp of grammar and punctuation rules 
  • Understanding of the major style guidelines 
  • (For freelancers): Knowledge of invoice procedures, how to draft contracts and other administrative processes 

Our General Proofreading course has everything beginner proofreaders need to start their business and learn the basics of the proofreading industry!

The course features over 14 modules and is updated regularly to ensure students and graduates are always kept up to date on industry changes and events. You’ll also learn how to pitch yourself to prospects, market your services effectively online, and manage your time efficiently. 

How to Become a Proofreader for Amazon

One outstandingly fast-growing (and increasingly lucrative!) niche in the proofreading industry is product description for e-commerce sites like Amazon. As a product description proofreader, you’ll pick out clunky typos from product descriptions (written summaries about products’ features and benefits), and you’ll ensure they effectively convey the product’s value to customers.

Product description proofreaders are always in hot demand, supported by millions of active Amazon sellers, each selling hundreds to thousands of products. And this demand is growing, with the e-commerce industry predicted to reach a market value of $7.9 trillion by 2032.

You can get started as an Amazon product description proofreader by finding a gig on remote job platforms like Upwork, Hire A Proofreader, and FlexJobs. Search the terms “product description” and “Amazon” to bring up relevant job listings. You can also directly contact sellers on Amazon and ask whether they’re looking to hire product description proofreaders. 

Pro tip: If you spot a product description with an awkward typo while browsing on Amazon, kindly drop the seller a message and point the typo out to them, then slip them your virtual business card (aka a paragraph explaining your service and rates!).

Transcript Proofreading

If binge-watching true crime dramas is your guilty pleasure, then you’ll likely love transcript proofreading! This lucrative gig involves reviewing and polishing court transcripts for court reporters, meaning you’ll get to work on real crime cases and gain an “insider” understanding of the legal realm. 

Qualifications & Salary

Most transcript proofreaders earn around $32,000 in their first year. As you gain more experience and hone your expertise, you could make up to $85,000 annually, which translates to around $40 to $50 per hour.

You don’t need a law degree to become a transcript proofreader, but the role requires the following skills on top of standard proofreading skills:

  • Familiarity with legal lingo and the vocabulary of court proceedings 
  • Knowledge of medical and business jargon
  • Understanding of transcript formatting and court shorthand 
  • Ability to review verbatim (spoken) records respectfully  

Enrolling in a reputable transcript proofreading program can help you pick things up quickly and ensure you’re fully prepared for the role. 

How to Become a Proofreader for Court Reporters

Our Transcript Proofreading course is suitable for beginners and provides students with all the training and technical knowledge they need to kickstart their legal proofreading career. The self-paced course takes around 3 to 6 months to complete and is packed with handy resources, practice transcripts, quizzes, and insider tips from experts in the field (including our very own Caitlin Pyle). 

During your training, you’ll also be taught how to establish your business and effectively market your services to court reporters, reporting agencies, and law firms.   

Transcript proofreading does take more time and effort to master than general proofreading, but you’ll be rewarded with the feeling of being a detective (right?!) and the potential to earn quite a lucrative income. What’s more, this career can help you truly make a difference in people’s lives. 

Not ready to commit to the full program? Get a taster with our FREE 7-day transcript proofreading course.

Medical Proofreading

Medical proofreading is an absolutely fantastic niche for anyone with a keen eye and a background in science.

Medical proofreaders review and polish up medical documents such as research papers and medical reports. They weed out authority-destroying typos, check that medical jargon is used accurately, then make sure documents are formatted correctly and that they follow the provided style guidelines. 

In many instances, medical proofreaders are also required to redact personal information like names and addresses to protect the privacy of patients and ensure the content doesn’t breach confidentiality laws.

Qualifications & Salary

Medical proofreading is one of the most lucrative proofreading niches because it requires highly specialized knowledge and a strong understanding of the medical field. Most medical proofreaders earn $45.00 per hour in their first year, and you could earn up to $60.00 per hour with more experience.

Medical proofreaders must have the following qualifications and skills:

  • A graduate degree in a medical field (or at least one year of related experience)
  • Familiarity with style guidelines commonly used in science (such as AMA, APA, and NLM)
  • A passion for scientific research 
  • Up-to-date understanding of the latest scientific innovations and breakthroughs
  • A strong understanding of medical terminology 
  • Ability to proofread medical data (think tables, figures, and references)
  • Fluent in data protection and confidentiality

Medical Proofreading Course

Although there aren’t any online courses specifically for medical proofreading (most are tailored to editing or writing like the University of Chicago’s course), a general proofreading course (like our course at PA) can still provide you with the essential skills to succeed. You can then brush up on your medical lingo with a dedicated medical terminology course. 

Furthermore, while there are plenty of medical terminology courses available online, make sure the course you choose is run by an established institution and not a random website with no credible reviews. The course should also provide practice materials, quizzes, and a certificate upon completion. 

At PA, we personally recommend Des Moines University’s remote course. The program provides a thorough overview and includes helpful memorization tips, quizzes, and audio pronunciations of medical terms.

Academic Proofreading

If you often find yourself in the non-fiction book aisles and have a degree under your belt, the academic proofreading niche may be a great fit!

Academic proofreading involves meticulously reviewing scholarly works, such as research papers, lab reports, and journal articles, and ensuring they’re polished in time for publication. As well as combing through content for grammar mistakes, academic proofreaders typically must also ensure citations are accurate and any references used are relevant (and reliable). 

As an academic proofreader, you can choose to gain insight into a whole range of subject matters or focus on a specific area that aligns with your expertise and passion — the role is flexible and extremely fulfilling! 

Qualifications & Salary

Most academic proofreaders earn between $40 and $55 per hour, making this niche one of the most lucrative in proofreading. The exact salary can depend on experience, qualifications, and subject expertise.

To thrive as an academic proofreader you’ll need:

  • A bachelor’s degree (or higher) 
  • A passion for research 
  • Knowledge of academic jargon 
  • Familiarity with common scholarly referencing systems
  • Understanding of academic style guidelines (APA, MLA, and Chicago)
  • Up-to-date on data and theories in the field you’re proofreading 

Proofreading Business Materials

This one’s for solopreneurs, digital nomads, and fresh-out-the-gate marketing grads! This lucrative proofreading niche allows you to make full use of your business savviness.

As the name suggests, a business proofreader meticulously reviews and works on a range of marketing materials, from fun marketing copy to formal case studies. The business proofreader’s primary goal is to make sure the content enhances the brand’s credibility and conveys the intended message. 

Simply put: Business proofreaders ensure a company’s content goes viral for the right reasons (… i.e. for their amazing products, not their cringe-worthy typos!). 

Qualifications & Salary

Freelance business proofreaders typically earn between $45.00 and $57.50 per hour, or approximately 2 to 4 cents per word — certainly nothing to scoff at!

We weren’t able to find specific salary data for in-house business proofreading. However, we did sift through relevant full-time job postings and found that most employers offer a salary of $30 to $60 per hour.

Most business proofreading jobs ask for the following additional qualifications:

  • A business-related degree or equivalent experience 
  • A strong grasp of marketing strategies and business lingo 
  • Familiarity with different types of business documents, from technical (case studies) to social (social media posts) 
  • Awareness of digital media techniques
  • Knowledge of content management systems 

Proofreading in the Publishing Industry

If the library is your second home or your friends have nicknamed you “Bookworm,” specializing in the publishing niche may be the perfect next chapter for your career. 

Publishing proofreaders work directly with publishing houses (or in some cases self-published authors). They have a similar role to general proofreaders, with the main difference being that they’re familiar with common publishing formats and style guidelines. 

As a professional proofreader in the publishing industry, you’ll get to experience a wide array of authors and writing styles, making the niche a fantastic option if you enjoy variety in your daily work routine. 

Qualifications & Salary

Proofreaders in the publishing industry can expect to earn $35 to $50 per hour, depending on their experience level and the subject matter they work with. For example, fiction proofreaders in the publishing industry tend to earn less than non-fiction proofreaders. 

Some of the typical skills and qualifications for proofreading in the publishing industry include: 

  • A degree in literature, journalism, or communications, or equivalent experience (not required, but usually necessary for in-house positions)
  • Strong research skills 
  • Familiarity with publishing formats and style guidelines 
  • Up-to-date understanding of publishing industry trends and developments 

If you primarily proofread fiction works, you should also be familiar with literary techniques and ensure any revisions you make don’t take away from the author’s intended message — many literary writers break conventional grammar rules and sentence structures for dramatic effect.

Bilingual or Translation Proofreading

If you spend your time impressing friends with your pronunciation of mille-feuille, or your ability to mingle effortlessly with the locals while backpacking abroad, you’ll want to consider the translation proofreading niche.

Translation proofreading involves meticulously reviewing of translated texts to ensure they’re grammatically accurate, and that the works maintain the ideas, nuances, and tone of their original languages. 

Translation proofreading has a lucrative earning potential and you don’t necessarily need a degree to get started.

You just need to show that you have fluency in two or more languages, which you can easily prove by taking language proficiency tests or earning certifications through online language courses. You can also become accredited through ATA, or the American Translators Association. 

Qualifications & Salary

The average salary for a translation proofreader is around $71,000 per year in the US. Beginner translation proofreaders can expect an annual income of $45,000, while more experienced proofreaders can earn up to $94,000 per year. 

Translation proofreading typically requires qualifications and skills such as: 

  • A degree (or equivalent) in linguistics, translation, or a related subject (desirable, but not essential)
  • Certification from an online language course 
  • Accredited through the American Translators Association (desirable)
  • Fluency in two or more languages, including an understanding of their cultures
  • Strong communication skills 
  • Familiarity with computer-assisted translation (CAT) software

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  1. I’m interested in legal transcription.

    I am 67 years old and retired. I worked 20 years as a litigation Legal Secretary and Paralegal. It was common to transcribe a 50 page brief, then revise the document the same day, while still attending to daily, or ongoing work.

    Could you please send me opportunities for transcription, rather than proofreading
    Thank you.

    Beverly Tyler

    1. We aren’t a job site for proofreading or transcription work. We offer proofreading courses that train students to become proofreaders and start their own freelance businesses. However, I thought of an idea that might help point you in the right direction! I used the keyword “transcription” in our blog’s search bar and found this article to help you:
      Best of luck and much success to you Beverly!😊

  2. While I would love to become a proofreader for you or anyone else, I will not be paying for the opportunity to do so. I find that the industry, as well as other industries are saturated with nefarious individuals who want the entrance fees and provide nothing (or not much) else. I will thrive or fail on my own merit, not by my willingness to send money to find out about proofreading.

    1. That’s understandable, Eddie. We wish you much luck and success with your freelance proofreading endeavors! If somewhere down the line you find that our proofreading courses would be beneficial, we’ll be happy to train and guide you! Please write to us at [email protected] if you ever have any questions and a member of our support team will be happy to help you! Feel free to explore almost 400 articles here in our blog about working from home, proofreading, our courses, and much more! 😊

  3. All of these seem to require a degree. I can't afford that and I'm in my 60s. I was a secretary working in the publishing industry and I'm also an author, a poet and I've taught English to overseas students. Is there no way to circumvent the degree?

  4. Thank you for sharing your insights on the most profitable proofreading niches. I have been working as a scientific editor and proofreader (medicine) for over 4 years. I've finally decided to launch my freelance business. I was so happy to find medical proofreading on this list! It boosted my confidence that I have selected the right target audience for my services.

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