Certificate in Editing and Proofreading BWR005

Study, Learn and Work as a Proof Reader or Editor.

Proof Readers and editors work both as:

  • freelance contractors; running their own business from home; and
  • in house staff; employed by book or magazine publishers, printers, newspapers, broadcast media and other enterprises

This certificate is designed to provide the knowledge an skills to work as a freelance editor or proof reader; or seek employment as such in the media.

You will be mentored by a team that includes many experienced media professionals; journalists, authors and editors; led by principal John Mason, himself former editor for four national magazines.

  • Teaching staff have worked in the publishing industry. The principal has been editor for national magazines, others have been journalists for newspapers and periodicals. As an ACS student, you have full support from these professionals to not only help you with your studies but also advise and guide your career development.

Course Structure and Content

Core Modules

These modules provide foundation knowledge for the Certificate in Editing and Proof Reading.

Elective Modules

In addition to the core modules, students study any 2 of the following 8 modules.

These are designed to build extra skills which compliment the job of an editor, in areas such as writing and research. A range of options are offered, to provide students the change of pursuing areas of specific relevance or interest to them. This way every student can build a slightly different set of skills, differentiating themselves from others in industry, and allowing them to develop a reputation as a "specialist" fulfilling a niche that is different to others.

What is in the Core Modules?


This course contains eight lessons as follows:

  1. Introduction to Editing
  2. The Mechanics of Clear Writing
  3. Assessing Manuscripts
  4. Copy Editing I
  5. Copy Editing II
  6. Proof Reading
  7. The Final Stages


There are eight lessons in this module as follows:

1. Introduction to Editing -State of the Art
2. Editing & Design
3. Headings, Headlines & Captions
4. Graphics
5. Refining Text Exiting -common traps
6. Matching Style and Context
7. Legal and Ethical Issues
8. Editing Project


This is a unique, hands on course that develops your practical skills to edit professionally. This course takes you through the processes of editing for a specific publication, submitting work for publication, and meeting the requirements of an editor and publisher. It covers:

  • Working to Specifications
  • Editing Articles for Online Publications
  • Submitting Articles for Online Publications
  • Preparing and submitting layout for publication

Under the guidance of a mentor (a writing/editing tutor), you will learn to edit according to specific criteria, deal with a publisher, and communicate effectively with others involved in the publishing process.

This module gives you hands-on experience in copy editing an online publication. You will work with a tutor (member of our academic staff) who will oversee your role as copy editor for an online publication.


The course is divided into 10 lessons as follows:

1. Scope and Nature of Graphic Design
2. Design Fundamentals - line, tone, colour, etc.
3. Colour Theory and Applications
4. Typography
5. Illustration - methods & techniques
6. Logotype Design
7. Layout Design
8. Design Systems and the Design Industry - design briefs, how to bid for jobs, etc.
9. Comparative Design - lessons from other designers
10. Design Project - a practical project applying what you have learnt


Very few people can immediately write a lucid and well-expressed piece of work. In most cases, the final draft is smoothed and polished so that others can readily understand the writer’s message. It is the editor’s role to improve the quality of the writing, whether their own or someone else’s work.

The scope of editing ranges from self editing, where the writer examines their writing and improves it as best they can, to professional editing, where an expert is employed by a publishing company to improve the quality of a piece of writing prior to publication.

There are many other facets of commercial publishing that require the skills of professional editors. These include commissioning publications; reviewing manuscripts; overseeing manuscripts through the production process; liaising with writers, publishers, printers and agents; writing blurbs, captions and press releases; and researching and organising pictures. In smaller organisations the editor may also be responsible for the design and publication of documents, newsletters, reports, magazines and books using desktop publishing software and equipment.

Editing involves several stages, they are:

  1. Reviewing the manuscript
  2. Structural (substantive) editing
  3. Copy editing
  4. Proof reading
  5. Checking proofs.

Every editing job is different in some respect from others, and different editors may be responsible for different tasks. In general, editors do any or all of the following (or may delegate some tasks to others).

  • Correct language errors, such as poor grammar, incorrect spelling and punctuation, and ambiguities.
  • Identify technical inaccuracies (e.g. in a non-fiction book). 
  • Improve conciseness and clarity, if and where this is of significance.
  • Identify potential legal problems, such as plagiarism, ethical or moral problems, copyright infringements, defamation risks.
  • Check for uniformity and appropriateness of content and style, and make or recommend adjustments if necessary.
  • Determine whether the content of a manuscript should be deleted or replaced (usually with approval from both the author and publisher).
  • Determine whether additional content is required within a manuscript (usually with approval from both the author and publisher).
  • Determine the order in which the manuscript is to be published.
  • Liaise with all other persons involved in the production of the publication.
  • Check and clear copyright material to be used in the publication (for instance, anything which is not the original work of the author should be properly referenced and used only in accordance with the law in any jurisdiction relevant to the publication).
  • Prepare preliminary pages and cover, and mark up any end matter, usually in collaboration with the author.
  • Prepare instructions for others involved in production, such as the designer, illustrator, typesetter and printer. (This may involve marking up the manuscript, preparing a series of ‘briefs’ and, in some cases, contract or tender documents.)
  • Select illustrations, including photographs, tables and drawings from material submitted by the author.
  • Identify and source additional illustrations if required (from the author or elsewhere).
  • Write marketing material if required (often in collaboration with the author and/or the marketing staff).
  • Monitor (and sometimes control) production schedules.
  • Check proofs at each stage of production.
  • Maintain a record of corrections after production for use in any reprints or new edition.

A computer with an up-to-date word processing program is vital for anyone considering a career as an editor. These days almost all publications are produced electronically, and even though you will probably receive a printed copy of the manuscript, most of the editing process is done on screen.

You will also need a compatible printer – if you are self publishing or regularly edit long manuscripts – and a modem connected to the internet.

It may be advantageous for freelance editors to have a quality desktop publishing program such as QuarkXPress or Adobe PageMaker or FrameMaker. These programs are used by publishers and printers to produce end-quality work, and some smaller publishers prefer to employ editors who can competently use these programs.

The best editors are able to work according to the requirements of a job, changing the intensity and detail of their editing according to each different situation they are faced with.

  • Editors should be impartial, objective and unhindered by prejudices.
  • Good editors are not pedantic. They are pragmatic.
  • Above all, a good editor is one who can improve communication with the readers.


  • Ensure your skills are up to date, by pursuing further studies or attending professional development activities.
  • Keep up to date with what's happening in the field of editing and writing. Where is there likely to be more work? And what skills are most desirable at present?
  • Join a networking group to meet people who are working in the field.
  • Get some experience. Whether paid or unpaid, experience will always make your CV look more impressive and give you some practical knowledge to apply in your interview or when you are seeking work from publishers.


You can enrol on the Certificate in Editing and Proofreading at any time.

If you are not ready to make the decision yet and have any questions about the course - get in touch with our specialist Writing and Journalism tutors - they will be happy to help.

Enrol Now!

Fee Information (CT)
Prices in Australian Dollars

PlanAust. PriceOverseas Price
A 1 x $3,425.51  1 x $3,114.10
B 2 x $1,848.61  2 x $1,680.55
C 4 x $996.93  4 x $906.30

Note: Australian prices include GST. 

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Courses can be started anytime
from anywhere in the world!

All orders processed in Australian dollars.