Before you publish a document, proofreaders check it for grammatical and spelling errors. Proofreaders must be meticulously and consistently accurate, because they're the last stage of typographical checks prior to a document being published. Proofreading is a source of extra income and can be done on a freelance basis, according to your own schedule. You do not have to be certified to work as a proofreader.
Gain experience in writing and grammar. You can complete a degree with a major in English or take technical writing courses. Take journalism courses, including copy editing and online editing. These classes are not requirements to land a proofreading job, but the knowledge you gain from them will help you to become a proofreader.
Learn standard proofreading and editing marks. These marks are used to correct documents and relay the information back to the printer or typesetter. There are manuals available to learn these marks, including "The Chicago Manual of Style," "The Associated Press Stylebook and "The Gregg Reference Manual." Proofreaders routinely use these reference guides.
Enroll in a proofreading class. Depending on your schedule, take a proofreading course in person or online. Visit your local college or go online and sign up for a class. Prices vary depending upon the school you attend. Universal Class offers proofreading classes online. The class is $50 without a certificate of completion or $75 with a certificate. Regardless of the route you take, the information learned is helpful in qualifying you to work as a proofreader.
Contact the U.S. Proofreader Certification Association or the Editors Association of Canada. These associations offer tests to obtain your proofreader certification. As of the date of publication the U.S. Proofreader Certification Association test costs $225 for members and $350 for nonmembers, and tests are offered in January, April, July and October. Tests are mailed to you for completion. The Editor's Association of Canada proofreader test costs $400 for a member and $500 for a nonmember. Tests can be taken at locations throughout Canada.
Michael Laws is college educated with a major in business management. His professional experience includes the military, government contracting and information technology, and his areas of expertise include careers, technology, certification programs, computers and business.