Magazine Editors


Education and Training Requirements

High School

While in high school, develop your writing, reading, and analyzing skills through English and composition classes. It will also benefit you to be current with the latest news and events of the world, so consider taking history or social studies classes. Reading the daily newspaper and news magazines can also keep you fresh on current events and will help you to become familiar with different styles of journalistic writing.

If your school offers journalism classes or, better yet, has a school newspaper, get involved. Any participation in the publishing process will be great experience, whether you are writing articles, proofreading copy, or laying out pages.

Postsecondary Training

A college degree is required for entry into this field. Most magazine editors have degrees in journalism, English, or communications. The Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications offers a list of accredited journalism programs at its Web site, http://www.acejmc.org/accreditation-reviews. Specialized publications prefer a degree in the magazine's specialty, such as chemistry for a chemistry magazine, and experience in writing and editing. A broad liberal arts background is important for work at any magazine.

Most colleges and universities offer specific courses in magazine design, writing, editing, and photography. Related courses might include newspaper and book editing.

Other Education or Training

A variety of webinars, conference seminars, and other continuing education opportunities are offered by professional associations such as ACES: The Society for Editing, American Society of News Editors, Investigative Reporters and Editors, MPA–The Association of Magazine Media, and the Online News Association. Topics include writing, editing, proofreading, developing a freelance business, social media, and technology. Contact these organizations for more information.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

There is no certification or licensing available for magazine editors. 

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Previous experience as a writer, reporter, or assistant editor is necessary to work in the field. All entry-level positions in magazine publishing require a working knowledge of typing and word processing, plus a superior command of grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Deadlines are important, so commitment, organization, and resourcefulness are crucial.

Editing is intellectually stimulating work that may involve investigative techniques in politics, history, and business. Magazine editors must be talented wordsmiths with impeccable judgment. Their decisions about which opinions, editorials, or essays to feature may influence a large number of people.

Handling stress and deadlines, as well as being able to work with and motivate others, is also important. Good reporting skills and a natural curiosity will help editors have good news judgment and instincts. There is always deadline pressure and always news to edit. Although the long hours and pressure are sometimes difficult to handle, the rewards of being an editor are many. In fact, many editors thrive on this unrelenting pressure and excitement.

Good public relations skills are also important for magazine editors. If readers are upset about what they read, or don't read, it is often the editor who has to address their concerns. Although it is good news for a local magazine when the public feels a strong ownership in the publication, it can also be a challenge to meet the needs of a diverse readership.