How to Become a Freelance Academic Editor

Are you the sort of person who relishes the world of academia? Do you miss writing research papers? Were you an exceptional student who rarely, if ever, cited/formatted a paper incorrectly? Perhaps, in present day, you’ve already been writing or editing informational articles, and want to revisit those academic days – actually getting paid for it this time! Whatever your background happens to be, switching into this niche shouldn’t be taken lightly.

A distaste for haste…

Don’t approach an entrance into this freelancing niche with a mindset of something like, “Oh, I’m great at grammar/punctuation/researching things. How hard can academic editing be, really?” Actually, it can be quite daunting – especially for those more technical, science-based topics.

Most academic editing companies require, at the very least, an in-process or already-obtained undergraduate college degree, preferably in whatever subjects that are most in-demand by their client base. It’s even better to have a post-graduate degree, and best to have a doctorate.

Even then, though, there’s the issue of the qualification tests that some companies will use as screeners. These tests could be multiple choice, a sample paper to edit according to a certain citation style, or even both.

In the hopes of getting onboarded as soon as possible, you might find yourself trying to rush through the tests, selecting the answers that seem the most obvious, and ultimately not getting to proceed with the opportunity.

Build, don’t block…

By eliminating the impatient, hurried approach and adopting a moderated, precision-oriented outlook, you’re already one step closer to improving your freelancing academic editing candidacy. If you currently don’t meet the education requirements, and you still have your heart set on this freelancing niche, don’t allow that to be a deterrent!

Consider working towards obtaining an advanced education on your own financial timetable. In the meantime, seek out other freelance editing niches that hire based on demonstrated proficiency, not degrees.

  • A tried-and-true path to take for many freelancers both with and without college education is to begin by writing content articles (or transcription) with next-to-flawless grammar/punctuation/all that good stuff. As time progresses, that exceptional work can get noticed, and the freelancer promoted to an editing position.

Prepare to get your share…

  • Purchase print copies (or get online subscriptions) of the most prevalent citation styles: MLA, APA, and Chicago – make sure you have complete, current copies.
    • Take a few days to scan through each one, at the very least getting used to navigating through each’s respective index section.
  • If you intend to make money in this freelancing niche, you can’t restrict yourself to one subject – that’s boxing yourself out of potential jobs. Instead, try to be well-informed about at least three, no more than five subjects.
  • Spend some time researching academic opportunities on more than just your usual search engine or job hunting database.

Despite the difficulty quotient, there’s still a lot of competition in freelance academic editing – just like there is with most things in the job world, freelance or not. That’s shouldn’t stop you in the slightest. In fact, it should be all the more of a reason to rise up to the challenge and prove your awesomeness.

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