Proofreading and Editing Career Tracks

Sometimes it’s difficult to know where to start your training when entering a new career. The following career tracks can help you get started in the exciting and fulfilling freelance proofreading/editing business.

If your freelance editing career is humming along nicely but you’re ready to add new skills, The PEN Institute offers several courses for you too!
Each track is designed to prepare you for a new career or help you advance in your existing profession.

Most courses are available in three formats to give you the flexibility you need and want: Group Courses, One-on-One Instruction, and Lesson Packs (self-guided study). Webinars, Mentoring, and Second Pass services are also available. Please follow the links for more information about these formats and services. 

Career Tracks 

Whether you are just beginning your editing career or are looking for advanced classes to update and expand your skills, we have a track for you. 

The courses are listed in the order we suggest you take them. Those with an asterisk (*) can be taken in any order.

Select Education from the menu above to view all of these courses and their outlines in the three formats (Group Course, One-on-One, and Lesson Pack).

Proofreading Track for Beginning Proofreaders

Proofreading and copyediting share some basic skills; however, proofreading looks for mistakes. Right or wrong. Black or white. Its focus is on punctuation, usage, grammar, spelling, consistency, and formatting. The following courses teach what every successful proofreader needs to begin a successful freelance career.

  • Proofreading 101
  • Freelance Editing 101
  • Grammar 101*
  • Copyediting Fiction 101
  • Nonfiction Editing 101
  • Nonfiction Copyediting & Proofreading 401 (Boot Camp)
  •  Establishing Your Freelance Business 101
  • Avoiding IRS Audits, Webinar

Advanced Editing Track

Once you’ve mastered the basics, it’s time to buff up your skills and learn deeper editing techniques, including substantive editing and developmental editing.


  • Substantive Editing for Fiction 101
  • Substantive Editing for Fiction 201
  • Substantive Editing for Fiction 301
  • Substantive Editing for Fiction 401 (Boot Camp)


  • Nonfiction Editing 301
  • Nonfiction Editing 401 (Boot Camp)
  • Editing Nonfiction Book Proposals* (Lesson Pack only)


Copyediting Track for Beginning Editors

Copyediting improves the manuscript’s flow, syntax, organization, logic, pace, tone, and so much more. The following core courses teach the basics every copyeditor must know. On completion, the copyeditor is equipped to open his or her freelance business.

  • Freelance Editing 101
  • Grammar 101*
  • Editing in MS Word 101
  • Microsoft Word: Headers & Footers for Creative Projects, Webinar*
  • Communicating with Clients 101
  • Establishing Your Freelance Business 101
  • Avoiding IRS Audits, Webinar


  • Nonfiction Editing 101
  • Nonfiction Editing 201


  • Copyediting Fiction 101

Specialty Track

Breaking into new fields of editing can be difficult. These courses teach the skills and knowledge you need to take your business to the next level.  


  • E-book Formatting for Editors
  • Self-Publishing for Editors
  • Editing Children’s Books


  • Editing Devotionals
  • Editing the Memoir
  • Grant Writing and Editing Fundamentals


  • Editing YA Fiction
  • Editing Romance Novels

Ready to get started?

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