sub editor
Print and publishing, marketing and advertising

Career outlook for sub-editor

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would check written text before it is published in newspapers, magazines and on websites.

You would:

  • Make sure articles are correct and do not break laws such as libel and copyright
  • Check any queries with the reporter or journalist
  • Re-write articles if needed to make them clearer or shorter
  • Make sure articles follow the house style
  • Write headlines, captions, short paragraphs which lead into articles and ‘panels’ which break up the text
  • Make sure articles are in the right place on each page
  • Use page layout and image editing software like Quark Express, InDesign and Photoshop
  • Send completed pages to the printers

You would work closely with reporters, editors, designers, production staff and printers.

You would need a good understanding of the laws relating to publishing.

Working conditions


You will need to be flexible about your working hours, as you could have early starts and late finishes to meet deadlines. The period immediately before going to print (which could be daily, weekly or monthly) will be particularly busy.


You will usually be based in an open-plan office, which is likely to be busy and noisy most of the time.

UK employment status





Self employed


Create a qualification route

We've found some examples of the qualifications that could help you get this job.

Discover my route

Search course options

Thinking about your future? There are lots of courses available that could interest you. Use our course search to explore course options.

Find courses

Search job opportunities

If you're looking for your new career our job search can help you. Discover interesting opportunities and decide your next steps.

Find a job

Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Cooperating
  • Working with technology
  • Written communication
  • Creative
  • Designing
  • Innovative
  • Observation
  • Researching
  • Attention to detail
  • Time management

Skills Explorer

Your skills can help you choose the career that's right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

Our Skills Explorer tool will help you understand what skills you have and match them to jobs that might suit you.

Use the Skills Explorer tool

Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on


Many subeditors have extensive experience as a journalist; they often have a relevant degree (SCQF level 9/10) or postgraduate qualification (SCQF level 11) in journalism. Qualifications in English, advertising, communication, marketing and media may also be helpful.

You can enter journalism National Qualification courses (SCQF 2-6) with four National 4 or National 5 qualifications (SCQF level 4/5).

You can enter Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma courses (SCQF level 8) with National 4/5 qualifications and one to two Highers or equivalent qualifications.

To enter a degree (SCQF level 9/10) usually requires National 5 qualifications and a minimum of four Highers at BBBC or above or a relevant HNC/HND.

Entry to a postgraduate qualification (SCQF level 11) requires a relevant degree and may require experience.

Useful subjects

  • English (required by most courses)
  • Social subjects

Helpful to have

Work-based experience and qualifications such as a Diploma in Creative Digital Media (SVQ level 3) or National Progression Award (NPA) in Digital Media Editing (SCQF level 5).