Upgrading to Intermediate Membership

Page owner: Professional development director

When you are considering an application to upgrade, think about the length of time you have been working in copy editing and proofreading. You may not be ready to upgrade immediately after training; it usually takes around 18 months to 2 years of practice before competence is achieved.

Intermediate Membership (IM) is suitable for those with some experience in copy-editing or proof-reading who are working towards Professional Membership.

Please note: If you apply to join as an Intermediate Member, you must submit the evidence to support your application within one month of joining. If no upgrade form has been received within that time, we will enrol you as an Entry-Level Member (ELM) but, of course, you can upgrade at any time once you have joined as an ELM.

Key requirements

There are only two requirements for upgrading to Intermediate Membership:

Information we need

The Admissions Panel would like as much information as possible about your editorial background so that they can make an informed judgement about your eligibility. Please include everything that is or could be relevant.

To make the process as fair and equitable as possible, the Panel uses a points system to assess eligibility for the different membership grades. There are many possible ways in which you might satisfy the criteria.

Please note that we focus on copy-editing and proofreading – the core editorial skills – as outlined in the SfEP Code of Practice and the Editorial Syllabus.

Related editorial skills, such as project management and development editing, will be considered if you can also provide evidence of training and experience in the core skills. Note, however, that other publishing skills that are less closely related to editorial work – such as indexing, typesetting, design, marketing, copy writing, translating, and so forth – are not included in our criteria and will not be counted.

You will find it helpful to get together all the details (names, dates, hours, type of work) on your background before you start to complete the online form. If you have paper certificates from your training courses, mentoring or conference attendance, we need you to scan the documents and supply them electronically with your application form. Please DO NOT redact your name; the office needs to see the completed certificate.

A note on detail

If you do not provide sufficient detail in your application, the Admissions Panel will not be able to assess your experience fairly and your application will fail. Saying ‘Years of experience for a large number of clients’ is not sufficient.

The Panel allocates experience points on the basis of hours worked, so for freelance work please provide the number of hours spent on each job, rather than its overall duration e.g. ‘52 hours’, rather than ‘2 weeks’, or ‘5.5 hours’ rather than ‘1 day’. The Panel applies a formula for full-time working in-house to produce the hours figure.

As a professional editor, you will have been maintaining detailed records (for HMRC purposes, for example) of your clients and the hours you have worked. The Panel needs to see this level of detail to assess your application fairly.

Further information

No one entering the SfEP Mentoring Scheme may upgrade with training and mentoring alone. Mentoring is not counted as experience.

We do not expect those applying for Intermediate Membership to take the Basic Editorial Test.

There will be an opportunity on the form for you to give any other information that you think might add weight to your application. This could include awards received, for example.

Please note:

  • Only include information related to your editing and/or proofreading; information about indexing, writing, copy writing, translating and other related fields will be disregarded.
  • Please do not include here any information that might easily identify you (other than certificates); the upgrades process is strictly anonymous.
  • Please alert the Office to anything which identifies you so that the material can be anonymised before being passed on to the Admissions Panel. Do not redact any information yourself.