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Occupational Profile

Editor

Editors help writers, publishers and others prepare written text that is clear, accurate, appealing and effective for publication or broadcast.

  • Avg. Salary $65,958.00
  • Avg. Wage $36.15
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary
  • Outlook N/A
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Acquisitions Editor, Book Editor, Broadcast Editor, City Editor, Contributing Editor, Developmental Editor, Editor-in-Chief, Freelance Editor, Magazine Editor, Managing Editor, News Editor, Newspaper Editor, Online Editor, Production Editor, Section Editor, Technical Editor, Wire Editor

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

36%
36%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
NOC & Interest Codes
The Editor is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Editors
NOC code: 5122
DIRECTIVE

Interest in planning and co-ordinating activities of staff to assure production deadlines are met, and in planning coverage of upcoming events and assigning work

INNOVATIVE

Interest in analyzing information to plan and implement layout or format of copy according to space and time allocations and significance of copy

SOCIAL

Interest in negotiating with authors, staff writers, reporters and others regarding revisions to copy; may negotiate royalties with authors and arrange for payment of freelance staff

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation. 

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Jan 30, 2017

In addition to editorial responsibilities, editors in the broadcast and book, magazine and newspaper publishing industries often have supervisory and project management responsibilities. Editors also may work for non-traditional publishers such as website developers, government departments, schools or large corporations that produce annual reports, press releases, course materials, textbooks, journals or newsletters.

Book Editors

Book editors at publishing companies may acquire new manuscripts for publication or supervise the progress of literary works from manuscript to printed book. Book editors usually perform many different roles (for example, substantive editing, copy editing, photo and illustration editing, proofreading). Some large publishers may employ different people for each role.

Editors responsible for acquiring new books for publication (often called acquisitions editors):

  • contact and interview prospective authors of fiction and non-fiction works
  • develop story or content ideas and solicit manuscripts
  • evaluate submitted manuscripts
  • make recommendations to the publisher
  • negotiate contracts with authors or authors' agents

Editors who supervise the progress of an author's work may

  • consult with the writer
  • conduct their own research on the topic
  • arrange for copyright permissions
  • locate and hire designers and illustrators
  • hire another editor on a contract basis to check content, style, organization and grammar and to edit the manuscript in consultation with the author
  • hire proofreaders and, when necessary, indexers
  • make arrangements for printing
  • keep the project within a predetermined timeline and budget

In larger publishing houses, these tasks may be performed by different editors:

  • Managing editors are responsible for all stages of the editing process.
  • Developmental editors supervise the initial stages of a manuscript's development until it is ready for page layout.
  • Production editors supervise and perform editorial tasks from layout until the book is printed.

Newspaper Editors

Newspaper editors' job titles are generally are related to their position in a hierarchy of editors or to the topic areas for which they are responsible.

Copy editors

  • write headlines
  • co-ordinate or do page layouts
  • edit written text to make it concise and readable
  • correct errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation and style
  • check for potentially libellous content, good taste, accuracy, fairness and balance in each story

City editors responsible for local news coverage

  • assign reporters to cover stories in the community
  • gather information about stories via telephone, wire, email, radio, television, press releases, reporters or their own initiative

Newspaper editors in charge of other areas (often called section editors) supervise reporters and other staff covering topics such as sports, business, entertainment, fashion, food, photography, design and graphics.

Managing editors and section editors

  • organize production according to strict deadlines
  • make decisions about the value and relevance of proposed articles and allot space accordingly
  • plan the thrust and emphasis of news coverage with news staff
  • assess news at international, national, provincial and municipal levels (assisted by wire editors who monitor news reports from other parts of the country and the world)
  • make the final selection of and assign priorities to stories and photos
  • maintain the newspaper's budget by controlling hiring, promotions and salaries

The editor-in-chief, in addition to being responsible for everything in the news and comment columns

  • works with the publisher to write and administer policies
  • supervises and co-ordinates the work of other editors

Magazine Editors

Magazine editors have responsibilities similar to those of book and newspaper editors but most magazines do not employ large numbers of editors. Small magazines may have 1 or 2 staff editors or contract freelance editors to

  • establish the editorial mandate of the magazine
  • identify article concepts, conduct research and develop article outlines including key contacts, thematic approach and article length
  • commission articles from in-house or freelance writers
  • commission photographs and other illustrative material
  • receive and review pitches from writers
  • negotiate writers' fees
  • ensure that deadlines are met
  • receive first drafts of articles, do a substantive edit and return to the writer if required
  • receive final drafts and do a copy edit
  • check facts in articles
  • write articles and editorials (contributing editors)
  • collaborate with a design team regarding visual treatments for articles and write associated text
  • proofread page proofs
  • co-ordinate or develop online content as required
  • gather feedback from readers to ensure their needs are met

Other Editors

Freelance editors are hired by governments, businesses and other organizations to produce newsletters, bulletins, website content, magazines, training programs, texts and research studies. They may

  • check facts
  • correct or rewrite copy
  • supervise and guide an author's work
  • evaluate manuscripts
  • edit copy for logical and coherent presentation of content, voice, style and punctuation
  • update written texts or revise texts to suit different audiences
  • oversee artwork, layout, word processing and printing
  • proofread

Broadcast editors prepare copy for news announcers on radio and television. In general, they

  • help reporters write copy in a conversational style
  • assign reporters to cover events
  • select teletype news and taped world news

Online editors prepare and post copy for websites. They may need to rewrite and edit the text for length and to match the website's style, or they may re-format the text for online use. Usually they work with a content management system to post the text but they still need to understand basic HTML markup. (HTML is the document description language used for most websites.)

Technical editors work with specialized scientific or technical publications. They edit copy written by technical writers or content experts. The style and format of these publications usually is rigidly defined for a particular purpose.

Working Conditions
Updated Jan 30, 2017

Editors often work long, irregular hours with overtime required to meet deadlines. Some newspaper editors work from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m., while others work day shifts.

Depending on the industry in which they work, editors may spend most of their day alone, with many people, or with 1 or 2 people. Newspaper editors work in loud and hectic surroundings. Book and freelance editors may work at home because editing manuscripts requires privacy and quiet.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Jan 30, 2017

Editors need to possess:

  • an enquiring mind and a wide range of interests
  • excellent writing and interviewing skills
  • the ability to criticize effectively and think creatively
  • tact and the ability to negotiate with authors
  • organization and time-management skills
  • decision-making and leadership skills
  • the ability to work well under time pressure

They should enjoy planning and co-ordinating the work of others, analyzing information and solving problems, and negotiating.

Educational Requirements
Updated Jan 30, 2017

Editors come from a wide variety of backgrounds but most have a university degree. A liberal arts education with English (particularly useful for book editing) or journalism courses, and a working knowledge of media law, word-processing and online and print publishing programs are recommended. Newspaper editors must have several years of experience reporting or writing. Many copy editors need to be familiar with publishing and printing systems and technologies.

Some editors need specialized knowledge in particular subject areas. For example, editors in the technical textbook industry may need related post-secondary studies in education or in a scientific or technical field.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Ambrose University

Athabasca University

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

St. Mary's University

The King's University

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Individual courses and occasional workshops in editing are offered by post-secondary schools and organizations such as:

 

Certification Requirements
Updated Jan 30, 2017

The Editors' Association of Canada offers a certification program for editors of written material who work in English. To keep up to date credential holders are required to pay a fee each year and participate in professional development every 5 years.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Jan 30, 2017

Editors may work in house or on a freelance (contract) basis for publishers or other publishing organizations. Sometimes, freelance editors are hired directly by authors.

Competition for editorial positions is keen and most editorial posts go to qualified people who already work in the field. Related volunteer experience and membership in a relevant professional organization are definite assets for people trying to break into this field.

Prospective book editors should be willing to work on a freelance basis or take an entry-level position at a publishing firm (in publicity, promotion, or rights and permissions). When an assistant editor's job becomes vacant, people who have publishing experience and a related degree have a much better chance of being hired than those who do not have experience in a publishing office.

Most magazine publishing companies in Alberta hire only a few editors. Literary magazines usually are edited part time by English professors or interested volunteers. Academic journals often are edited part time by professors in relevant fields.

Promotions in the newspaper business typically involve more supervisory responsibilities. For example, a copy editor may become a section editor or be promoted to an assistant city editor position. The opportunity to work at a larger newspaper often is seen as a promotion. For example, many weekly newspaper editors move into junior daily newspaper positions. Occasionally, an editor may move from newspapers to magazines or to broadcast media.

Skilled freelance editors who have access to modern communication technology may work for organizations all over the world. They must purchase their own equipment and supplies and manage all aspects of their businesses, including marketing and accounting.

In Alberta, 76% of people employed as editors work in the following industries:

The employment outlook (PDF) in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions)
  • size of the occupation.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Jan 30, 2017

Editors
NOC code: 5122

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $13.56 $46.15 $31.30 $29.18
Overall $17.21 $53.33 $36.15 $34.24
Top $21.63 $64.05 $47.73 $51.32

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

C: Lower Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Lower Reliability, represents a CV of between 15.01% and 33.00% and/or if fewer than 20 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 33% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Public Administration
ALBERTA, ALL INDUSTRIES
Information, Culture, Recreation
Health Care & Social Assistance

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

36%
36%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

5%
5%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

2%
2%

2015 Vacancy Rate

N/A
Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Social Studies
  • Business, Administration, Finance and IT
    • Management and Marketing
  • Media, Design and Communication Arts
    • Communication Technology
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Communications
  • Humanities and Languages
  • Social Sciences, Law and Religious Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Jan 30, 2017

Alberta Magazine Publishers Association (AMPA) website: www.albertamagazines.com

Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association (AWNA) website: www.awna.com

Cultural Human Resources Council, Careers in Writing and Publishing website: www.culturalhrc.ca

Editors' Association of Canada/Association Canadienne des Reviseurs (EAC/ACR) website: www.editors.ca

Newspapers Canada website: newspaperscanada.ca

Society for Technical Communication (STC), Alberta Chapter website: www.stc-alberta.org

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Jan 30, 2017. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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