Why does it matter that your editor belongs to a professional association?

Why does it matter that your editor belongs to a professional association?

When a freelance editor (or proofreader) belongs to a professional association, it could hint at some of their qualifications.

Editors, unlike lawyers or healthcare workers, don’t need a license to work. That means anyone could claim they are an editor.

But of course, you want to hire someone who has the necessary professional skills. If your editor (or proofreader) belongs to a professional association, it gives you some hints as to their qualifications.

Here are some things that membership in a professional association could tell you.

☘ Your editor/proofreader takes their profession seriously

When an editor/proofreader is a member of a professional association, it tells you they take their profession seriously.

To put it bluntly, we pay the fees to belong to that association because it lets us show others that we are committed to our professionalism.

☘ Your editor/proofreader may have a certain level of qualifications/training

This will depend on the association, but some associations require members to show they have a certain level of experience and training.

The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP), for example, requires intermediate-level members to have a certain amount of training and at least 100 hours of editing experience. Professional members need more training, at least 500 hours of experience, and endorsement from a client.

Some associations, like the Institute of Professional Editors (IPEd), have accreditation schemes. That means the editor has passed a proofreading/editing exam that reflects professional standards for their country.

(But just because someone doesn’t have certification doesn’t mean they are not qualified. In the US, for example, the leading editors’ associations do not offer certification; the option simply isn’t available.)

☘ Your editor/proofreader may be updating their skills

It means it’s likely (although not guaranteed!) that the editor will be updating their skills.

Editors/proofreaders can access training and resources through their organizations and are encouraged to continue updating their skills. CIEP, for example, requires members to get more training as they go up the membership ranks.

Many organizations also offer forums and meetups, where editors learn from each other on the latest practices and technologies.

☘ Your editor/proofreader may be bound by professional standards

I am bound by the CIEP Code of Practice.

As a CIEP member, I’m bound by its Code of Practice. The Code ensures CIEP members act professionally and abide by certain industry standards.

For example, I will

  • give a true and fair representation of my qualifications, experience and skills (3.1.4)
  • not accept any job that I believe I cannot carry out to an acceptable standard (3.1.5)
  • work with you to clearly define the terms of the work at the outset and agree on it in writing (e.g., in an email) (3.2.3)
  • make the best use of my time for a job and make an effort to complete it to the required standard and schedule (3.1.6)
  • keep you informed of my progress and respond to your emails in a timely manner (3.1.10, 3.1.11)
  • take all reasonable precautions to ensure that the files you entrust to me are safe (3.1.9)
  • respect confidentiality at all times (3.4)

And again, we take these codes seriously because we value our membership and our professionalism.

So! Those are some things that membership in a professional association might tell you about your editor/proofreader.

If you can think of others, feel free to leave a comment 🙂

If you would like to discuss whether we might be a good fit for your non-fiction scholarly writing project, please send me details via the contact form or email me at info@theclarityeditor.com.

Image by Wokandapix via Pixabay.

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  1. I really appreciate your effort in shedding light on the importance of editors belonging to a professional association. Your article provides valuable insights into the benefits that come with hiring an editor who is a member of such an organization. I couldn’t agree more that being part of a professional association demonstrates a commitment to ongoing professional development and adherence to ethical standards. Apart from belonging to a professional association, what other qualities or qualifications should one look for in an editor?

    1. TheClarityEditor

      Hi Sharon, that’s a great question.

      From an editor’s perspective, I think it’s important that you first have a very good idea of what kind of help you’re looking for.

      Do you need a developmental editor (someone who can help you construct your writing work) or a proofreader (someone to check the galley proofs for glaring errors)? Or something in between?

      Editors also have specializations so make sure you find someone who does work with your type of writing (e.g., cookbooks, medical journals, romance).

      But probably the hardest thing to figure out is whether you will “click” with that person. If the editor is up for it, you might have a Zoom call, or you may be happy to discuss the work via email. Or you might ask for a sample edit so you can get a sense of what it’s like to work with that editor (keep in mind not all editors will offer sample edits though).

      I hope this helps. Good luck!

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