How Much Does a Proofreader Make?

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

What is the average proofreader salary? How much do freelance and company proofreaders get paid? These are just a few questions you might have before applying for a proofreading job.

Keep reading to learn how much a proofreader makes hourly and yearly. Find out if you can make a living out of this freelance career and the factors that affect your salary.

Can You Make a Living Proofreading?

You bet you can make a living out of proofreading! Primarily if you’re employed in a book publishing house or any other company. They offer stable job opportunities that pay an extraordinary amount enough to fulfill your needs and wants.

Many freelance jobs also allow you to make sufficient income at a full-time proofreader’s salary. If you’re willing to work at least six hours a day, you can succeed in your career and earn enough. 

Enhancing your skills is the best way to start making a living out of proofreading. Enroll in an online course like Knowadays to learn different techniques in the editing process. 

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Are Proofreaders in High Demand?

Yes, proofreaders are in high demand because all industries produce written documents that require professionalism and accuracy. You can get paid to correct their spelling mistakes, grammar inaccuracies, and punctuation errors.

Proofreading is also in demand now that businesses are trying to build their online presence, and book writers can self-publish. The same is true for freelance editors. Some types of editors include developmental, structural, and line editors.

How Do Proofreaders Get Clients?

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Proofreaders get clients after acquiring enough language and technical skills for the job. Usually, they enroll in an online proofreading training program, then find professional writers on different platforms. These include Upwork, Freelancer, Reedsy, ProofreadingPal, etc.

It’s also possible to get clients at in-person networking events. You’ll find many fellow proofreaders who can refer you to different companies and clients. Indie authors may also be present at these events to look for skilled proofreaders with whom they can work. 

Publishing houses hire freelance proofreaders as they publish dozens of books yearly. If they add you to their freelancer pool, then you finally have a stable job for the next few months or years. 

Average Hourly Rates

PayScale states that the rates for proofreading can cost anywhere between $12.02 to $34.08 per hour. The median in this range is $19.39 per hour, but a seasoned freelance proofreader can earn more on the higher end of the spectrum.

If you’re a part-time proofreader who works three hours daily, your salary may range from $36.06 to $102.24 daily. Meanwhile, full-time proofreaders earn an average of $155.12 daily.

There’s also a considerable chance that the job has an extra cost if you do plenty of proofreading work. Many writers and book publishers prefer freelance proofreading jobs that also include editing. That means the scope of proofreading goes beyond catching typos.

Specialized proofreading can also cost above $19.39. A scientific or novel proofreader may earn more than a blog content proofreader.

Average Per Word Rates

The average proofreader salary per word is $0.013-$0.016 per word, depending on the standards for proofreading. That means a 1000-word essay can cost up to $16. 

If you proofread quickly, you might be able to complete an entire book within a week to earn more. Skilled proofreaders can also proofread dozens of books in months to increase their per-word salary.

Many clients prefer to pay based on word count rather than hourly rates because they are more structured and reliable. Such a method applies to a freelance or full-time employed proofreader. 

No matter what document you’re working on, always set your proofreading prices to industry standards. Consider the minimum per-word rate if you’re a beginner.

Statistics on the Average Pay of Proofreader Jobs

PayScale.Com notes that the hourly wage for a freelancer in the proofreading industry is around $19.39. That means salaried, full-time proofreaders can earn an income of $155.12 daily. 

The yearly full-time income of successful proofreaders can reach up to $70,000, excluding bonuses and profit sharing. But the median proofreading rate is $47,000 per year. Aside from the average proofreader salary, you can also earn a bonus from $300 to $5000.

These pieces of information are not entirely accurate. Your salary may still depend on the type of freelance proofreading services you offer and your level of experience.

Salary.Com states that a full-time proofreader gets around $54,956 per year as of June 2022. However, the rates for freelance proofreading range between $48,000 to $62,000. These annual salaries will likely increase as you gain more experience in the industry.

The website doesn’t provide information on hourly rates. That’s why it’s difficult to estimate the salaries for part-time proofreaders. 

The annual pay for full-time employees depends on the type of editing they do and their skills. It also depends on whether they found a job on freelance websites or in the publishing industry.


According to ZipRecruiter, the average proofreader salary in the United States is $49,002 yearly, equivalent to an hourly rate of $24. This information gathered by PayScale is based on the majority of proofreaders in the country.

Some may earn higher or lower, depending on the experience of freelance proofreaders. The type of client and additional editorial costs may also influence the pay of the proofreader.

ZipRecruiter’s annual estimate is also based on full-time hours. That means you can make a reliable income from a proofreading company.

Factors Affecting How Much You Earn as a Proofreader

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Now let’s go in-depth on what you should consider when you’re getting paid as a proofreader. 


The salary of a proofreader depends on the tasks their employer assigns them. Among freelance proofreading jobs, the most basic task of an entry-level proofreader includes correcting mechanical issues in a piece of writing. 

But your salary can be higher if the client asks you to fact-check, fix the writing style, and correct the flow issues in the text. 

The salary may also depend on the type of content you’re proofreading. Technical writing usually costs more than casual blog content and captions. You’ll also earn more working with self-publishing authors for books than shorter content.

A salaried position in a company pays an extra cost for administrative tasks. The salary for proofreaders in these firms can be higher if they also invoice or do diary management.

The Present Demand

High-paying proofreading jobs are more common if the job is in demand. Currently, the majority of proofreading jobs can be found on the internet. Online proofreading is hot now that there are more independent authors who self-publish their works on Amazon and more.

A blogger or small business may also seek an entry-level proofreader to help them with their blog posts, captions, and email copies. All you need to do is acquire English grammar skills and have a sharp eye for simple typos.

Many people take online proofreading courses to fulfill the high demand for proofreaders. Others also learn developmental editing and other types of editing jobs to get a proofreading career.

Cost of Living

Another factor that affects the average salaries for proofreading jobs aside from the demand for proofreaders is the cost of living in the area. Every industry needs to consider this factor so that they may retain their employees despite massive economic crises.

For example, corporate and freelance careers in the United States usually have higher salaries than those in the Southeast. That’s because the products and services in the US are more expensive. 

Even within the US, there are disparities among people’s primary income. For instance, the costs to proofread books in New York City are higher than in Ithaca.

Level of Experience

Experience is a huge indicator of any employee’s salary. Clients tend to pay freelancers with better proofreading ability because of their years of experience over an inexperienced proofreader. 

There’s also a benefit for proofreaders who previously worked on the same type of content. For example, if you edit a health magazine’s content, you will likely get high-paying online proofreading jobs in health blogs and books. 

You can also get a higher salary if your previous experience required you to do more than just proofreading. If you could analyze big-picture issues in writing, that makes you fit to be an editor and proofreader in one.

But don’t lose hope if you have zero experience. It’s easy to get a proofreading gig for beginners. In fact, many successful students in college have thriving side hustles as proofreaders.

Become a Successful Proofreader

The average proofreader’s salary is enough to pay for an individual’s lifestyle. You can start a freelance career if you have excellent English and technical skills. Just look for a job on Upwork, Fiverr, and other platforms.

You may look for a salaried position in companies if you have a solid academic background and lots of experience. That way, you’ll be able to make more money and get benefits.