Here are some of the most frequent questions I have been asked

When I enrol on the course, are there any further charges?

  • No. I do not make a charge for my postage, marking your exercises or for the Certificate you receive on the completion of the course - unlike some course providers!

Do I need a formal education?

  • No. You do not need lots of GCSEs, A levels or a degree. You do, however, need (a) an eye for detail, and (b) a reasonable grasp of the English language - for example grammar and punctuation - both of which the course shows you how to develop.
  • Proofreaders come from a variety of backgrounds. I've trained teachers, nurses, clerical workers to name but a few. Some had excellent academic qualifications, others had none at all.

How long does the course take to complete?

  • This is the 'how long is a piece of string' question! Because you complete each module of the course at your own pace, it is impossible to give a precise time scale.
  • The course can be completed in two or three months, but an average would be twice that. It really depends on what other commitments you have!

Will there be a problem if I take a long time to complete the course?

  • No, not at all. Some companies charge a 'reinstatement fee' if you take too long. I don't. You take as long as you need to complete the course. You simply do it at your own pace.

Is there a particular time I need to enrol, like a new school 'term'?

  • No. You can enrol at any time.

I see that some course providers give away free gifts with their courses. Do you?

  • No. I don't feel the need to give away 'freebies' to encourage you to enrol. I feel that the course stands on its own merits (see What Students Say), without bribing you with 'gifts'!

I notice that some course providers have a combined proofreading and copy-editing course for sale. Why don't you?

  • In my experience, it would be extremely difficult - if not impossible - to obtain any copy-editing assignments without first having some reasonable experience in proofreading. I feel it would be a waste of your time, learning copy-editing in detail, before you've even received one proofreading assignment! My proofreading course does cover the very basics of editing, but it is not a copy-editing course.

I don't live in a large town or city. Will that matter from a publisher's point of view?

  • No. Most freelancers receive and return their work through the postal or courier systems, so it doesn't matter at all where you live.

If I'm not particularly computer literate, will that matter?

  • No. In fact, for proofreading you will not actually need a computer! Most proofreaders work on 'hard copy' - that is, paper. However, access to email is useful - but not vital.
  • Nor will you need a computer for the course itself, as all the course materials are hard copy.

How do I go about getting work?

  • The course covers how to go about obtaining work and promoting yourself. Whether you want to offer your services to publishers or to any of the other organisations needing proofreaders, rest assured that you do not need to go cold-calling! You will need to apply yourself to the ethos of obtaining work - it won't just land on a plate in front of you - but it's not difficult, and how to go about this is covered in the course.

Can you guarantee that I will obtain work?

  • No course ever written can guarantee work. And if any course provider says they can, they should be approached with caution! No-one can state, with hand on heart, that you will obtain work. However, with the correct approach and the knowledge gained by taking this course, the answer to this question is: 'No - but you almost certainly will - and in a relatively short time!' (Read the first extract shown in What Students Say.)

Why do publishers and other organisations need freelance proofreaders?

  • Simply because the cost of employing full-time proofreaders 'on the payroll' can be prohibitive (the publishers would have to pay salaries to their proofreaders irrespective of whether there is work for them to do or not!), and it makes economic sense to employ freelancers as and when the need arises.
  • Having said that, the very large firms may well have 'in-house' proofreader(s), because the publisher would be large enough to 'ride out' any temporary downturn in production - but they would still employ freelancers as well when there is too much work for the in-house proofreader(s) to cope with.

What can I expect to earn, and what expenses will I incur?

  • Publishers tend to use the NUJ rates as guidance, but that is all they are - guidance! The current hourly NUJ rate is around £25, but realistically in this economic climate, £17-£18 per hour is more commonplace.
  • Your expenses are negligible. You will be working from home, and your basic expenditure will be on blue and red pens!

I live abroad. Can I still do the course, and will it benefit me?

  • The majority of my students live in the UK, although I have trained students in Portugal, Spain and France. Proofreading is proofreading, and the symbols used are internationally recognised.
  • However, the course is not designed for people living in the USA, as there are a number of fundamental differences in the two types of English!

Is the certificate 'recognised'?

  • There is no recognised qualification in proofreading. No GCSE, no NVQ, no A level, no degree! (If you know any different, let me know, and I'll amend my website accordingly!). However, the certificate I award on successful completion of the course is a valuable qualification showing that you have shown commitment and that you are a competent proofreader.

Any further questions? Please ask!

Ron J Hebbs

Grange Bungalow ~ Old Bury Road ~ Palgrave ~ Diss ~ Norfolk ~ IP22 1AZ

Tel: 01379 783070



15 years of training proofreaders