Individual membership grades

Which grade is best for me?

There are four main grades of membership if you join the SfEP as an individual: Entry Level, Intermediate, Professional and Advanced Professional. We also offer two special arrangements for professional members who are retiring or taking a career break. Which one is right for you will depend on your experience, training and skills, and what sort of work you do. We take a variety of factors into account when deciding your grade, and you don’t need to have worked in traditional publishing. Find out the full requirements for each level in Upgrading your membership.

All members benefit from

  • member rate for training courses, CPD events, conferences and publications
  • access to our member-only online forums and networking groups
  • discounts from partner providers on books, software, business services and subscriptions
  • free digital subscription to our magazine
  • grade-level logo
  • £25 voucher towards SfEP training when you join for the first time.
Members talk about editing and proofreading at networking events

Entry-Level Member (ELM)

Anyone can join as an Entry-Level Member, without submitting evidence of training or experience. You will enjoy all the basic membership benefits.

Choose this grade if any of the following apply to you.

  • You are thinking of becoming a proofreader or copy-editor.
  • Proofreading or copy-editing is part of what you do but not the main part.
  • You are a proofreader or copy-editor but you haven’t done much paid work yet.
  • You need time to gather evidence for upgrading to a higher level.

Intermediate Member (IM)

If you have some training and experience you can apply as an Intermediate Member. Additional benefits include an advertising entry in our internal IM Available fortnightly list to help you find work.

You will need to submit evidence within one month of joining that you meet the requirements of this grade.

Choose this grade if the following apply to you.

  • You’ve done some core editing or proofreading training (at least one or two courses).
  • You have at least 100 hours of work experience.

Upgrading to professional membership

As part of our mission to promote high standards, we expect members to have a plan for their continuing professional development, and we encourage you to progress through the membership grades when you are ready. ELM/IM membership is therefore limited to seven years in total (four in IM) – but that’s plenty of time for you to build up your training and experience to upgrade to professional membership.

Find out more about upgrading

Professional Member (PM)

Professional membership offers you more credibility and additional benefits, including:

  • an entry in the SfEP’s publicly searchable Directory of Editorial Services, through which many of our members get regular work
  • job adverts placed by publishers and other businesses/organisations
  • you will be a voting member of the Society, able to help shape what we do
  • free legal helpline, for work or personal issues.

You will need to submit evidence within one month of joining that you meet the requirements of this grade.

Choose this grade if the following apply to you.

  • You have at least 500 hours of work experience.
  • You have done core training in editing or proofreading, recently or some time ago.
  • You have clients who will provide references.

Or if

  • You are returning after a career break.
  • You are BELS/EAC/IPEd/SATI accredited.

Advanced Professional Member (APM)

This is currently our highest grade. Achieving it is deliberately tough, but you’ll be recognised in the profession as having proved your worth. Additional benefits include:

  • a dedicated email address
  • enhanced visibility in our Directory of Editorial Services
  • all job adverts, including those sent only to APMs
  • you will be a voting member of the Society, able to help shape what we do
  • free legal helpline, for work or personal issues.

You will need to submit evidence within one month of joining that you meet the requirements of this grade.

Choose this grade if the following apply to you.

  • You have been working as an editorial professional for several years.
  • You have at least 1,500 hours of work experience.
  • You have special skills or expertise.
  • You have broad core skills training and up-to-date CPD.
  • You have clients who will provide references.

If you haven’t worked with traditional publishers

If you don’t have work experience in the traditional publishing sector, but you feel your skills and knowledge equip you for one of our professional grades, you can take our editorial test to support your upgrade application. When you don’t have publishers who can vouch for your skills, knowledge and judgement, our test will show us that you meet our requirements. If you study our editorial syllabus, the test is not difficult, but the pass mark is set high as part of our commitment to excellent standards.

Find out more about our editorial test and syllabus

Retired Member (RM)

You may apply for Retired member status at annual renewal (1 March) if you are a Professional or Advanced Professional Member and will be scaling down or ending your professional editing or proofreading work. You will receive basic benefits, such as being able to stay active on our forums and in local groups, but you will no longer be able to take SfEP courses at member rates or use SfEP resources to gain work. A change to Retired Membership is irreversible.

Retired Members may describe themselves, if they wish, as 'Professional Member (Retired)' or 'Advanced Professional Member (Retired)' (if they held those grades).

Career breaks

If you need to take a career break, you may be eligible to put your membership on hold if you are a PM or APM.

Find out how to take a career break

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