Upgrade your membership

As part of our mission to promote high standards, we encourage members to maintain a plan for their continuing professional development. Anyone can join as an Entry-Level Member, but we expect you to progress through the membership grades as you build up your training, skills and work experience.

When should I upgrade?

  • When you first join, if you meet the requirements for a grade above Entry Level. Your grade will be provisional until you submit the required  evidence of training and experience (within one month of joining).
  • Before you reach the time limit for remaining in the Entry-Level and Intermediate grades.
  • At any time when you have built up training, skills and experience and you think you meet the requirements for a higher grade.

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What are the requirements for upgrading?

We award upgrade points based on your training and experience. We have summarised the points requirements for each of the four main grades of membership in the table below. Follow the link for each category for more information. If you need help deciding which grade to apply for, please read the descriptions of the grades in the membership section.

  • Core skills: For all grades above Entry Level, you will need to demonstrate an appropriate level of training and experience in core editing and/or proofreading skills. (Core skills are outlined in the editorial syllabus and our proofreading and copyediting training suites.)
  • Other training/experience: You may also gain upgrade points for mentoring and for other training and experience if it is related to your professional work.
  • References: For the Professional and Advanced Professional grades, you will also need references from satisfied clients who understand the publishing process.
  • Editorial test: Passing the editorial test entitles you to include work for a wider range of clients in your upgrade application.

Points required to upgrade

Membership grade
  Entry Level Intermediate Professional Advanced Professional
Total minimum upgrade points needed1 n/a 7 25* 50
Training n/a 6 10* 15
Evidence of recent CPD n/a 0 0 5 of the 15 training points must be CPD in the 36 months before your application
Experience2 n/a 1 5* 15
References3 n/a 0 5* 10
Professional recognition
(see list4)
n/a 0 * professional recognition fulfils your total upgrade points requirement professional recognition counts as 25 points towards your training total
SfEP mentoring5 n/a up to 10 points (12 for specialist)
Editorial test n/a up to 12 points
Other information n/a any other details that may add weight to your application as for IM + delivering editorial training or mentoring

1 Points marked in bold are essential categories. The balance of required points for each grade can be from any category. If you work up through the grades, the points you have already earned will be carried forward into your next application.

2 100 hours of experience in core copyediting and/or proofreading = 1 point.

3 1 reference = 5 points.

4 The only professional recognition qualification(s) that we accept are:

  • Board of Editors in the Life Sciences certification
  • Editors’ Association of Canada certification
  • Institute of Professional Editors, Australia, accredited editor (AE) or distinguished editor (DE) status
  • South African Translators’ Institute accreditation in language editing.

5 Mentoring points are counted separately from training and experience points.

How do I apply to upgrade?

Please apply online using the upgrade form in the members’ area of this website (button below). You can start using the form at any time to record your evidence and supporting documents. Your information will be saved there securely for as long as you need to prepare your application, and no one else will see your form until you’re ready to apply.

If you have lots of experience to include, we prefer you to upload a separate spreadsheet or list, rather than entering each job individually on the application form. This may also be easier for you, especially if you already have your own records. Please remember to include all the information we need about each job.

When you’re ready, submit your form and pay the upgrade application fee. The office staff will anonymise your application and send it to the Admissions Panel for a decision, usually within 6 to 8 weeks.

If you have upgraded before, you don’t need to re-key any information that you have already included in a previous online application; this will be sent with your new application to the Panel. It is worth mentioning at the end of your form, in the additional information section, that you are only including information subsequent to your previous online application(s). The office will then easily make the relevant connections.

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Please read all the information about the different requirements before submitting your application. A lack of information will cause delay and may result in your application being rejected.

Take care over your application: Demonstrate your professionalism to the Admissions Panel!

Remember: You can complete your upgrade application form in stages and store it securely on our website until you are ready to apply.

Please note that all upgrade fees are non-refundable, so make sure you have prepared properly before applying.

Upgrade stage Fee
Upgrade to IM £36
Upgrade to PM/APM £47
Reapplication in same year £29
Upgrade appeal £36 (refunded if appeal successful)

How are upgrade applications decided?

Upgrade applications are decided by the Admissions Panel. Panel members are all Advanced Professional Members of the Society and their names are kept confidential to ensure a fair process. Likewise, when you submit your upgrade application, our office staff anonymise your form by replacing personal details with a unique reference, so that the Panel members don’t know the identity of the applicant.

The Panel assesses each application on its own merits using the grades criteria. The Panel will award you the grade for which you have satisfied the requirements. In some cases that will mean a higher grade than the one you applied for, and in others a lower grade. Please see the section on provisional grades for more information.

What if my application is not successful or I want to appeal the decision?

If the Admissions Panel considers that you have not met the requirements of the grade for which you applied, you may reapply for the same level or a lower level of membership within 1 year (365 days) from the date of notification of the unsuccessful application, once you are able to supply the missing or extra evidence required. You will pay a reduced reapplication fee. Contact the office to start the reapplication process.

Alternatively, you may appeal against an unsuccessful upgrade application within 28 days of the date of the decision. Please contact the office to start an appeal. You will need to pay an appeal processing fee.

Where can I get help with my upgrade application?

Have a look at the upgrading case studies to see how other members have progressed through the grades.

Check the list of recognised training courses and the points they attract. You will need to log into the members’ area to see this.

Read the upgrading FAQs.

If you are unable to find the answer to your query, please contact the professional standards director profdev@sfep.org.uk.

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Remember anonymity!

Don’t post any details about your upgrade application – planned, submitted or in progress – on the SfEP forums, social media or anywhere else in public because, to assess applications fairly, the Admissions Panel must not be able to identify applicants. This includes asking upgrade-related questions about your experience, training or work for specific organisations.

Similarly, if you are taking the editorial test as a preparation for upgrading, please do not post about this until after your application has been assessed.

If you need to ask a question about upgrading or the test, contact the office staff or the professional standards director profdev@sfep.org.uk.