Upgrading requirements: Experience

You need the following experience points to attain the higher membership grades:

Intermediate (IM) 1 point (100 hours)
Professional (PM) minimum of 5 points (500 hours)
Advanced Professional (APM) minimum of 15 points (1,500 hours)

All your points from previous successful upgrade applications count towards your total. For example, if you gained 8 points when upgrading to PM, you will need a further 7 experience points to upgrade to APM.

We want to see that you have experience of putting your training into practice and that you have enough experience to provide a competent service to your clients.

What counts as experience?

  • Work you have done using the core skills as an in-house employee.
  • Work you have done using the core skills as a freelancer.
  • Work you have done using the core skills as a volunteer.

The Panel will award points for your experience depending on the likelihood of your employer/client understanding the traditional publishing process (and therefore being able to judge the standard of your work). ‘Publishers’ for upgrading purposes are those who understand and can judge the core skills; other employers/clients are ‘non-publishers’ (see below).

Intermediate: We do not distinguish between the types of client you work for. You need to have worked for at least 100 hours using the core skills.

Professional: You need to have worked for at least 500 hours using the core skills. If you have been working in-house, this equates to around 2–5 years, depending on how much of your job involves the core skills. If you have been working freelance, you may have the required experience in around 1–3 years.

Advanced Professional: We expect APMs to be well trained and highly experienced. You will need to show much more experience and a far wider client base (at least three clients/employers and a range of work undertaken).

You need to have worked for at least 1,500 hours using the core skills. If you have been working in-house, this equates to around 8–10 years, depending on how much of your job involves the core skills. If you have been working freelance, you may have the required experience in around 2–6 years.


What if I haven’t worked for publishers?

If you have worked solely or mainly for non-publishers, we will need to validate this experience. To do this you will need to pass our basic editorial test before you can upgrade to Professional or Advanced Professional level. This is a straightforward multi-choice test, and if you are confident in your knowledge of the core skills, you should pass with ease. Read the test syllabus to see what we expect you to know. If you are not sure which of your clients qualify as publishers, it might be a good idea to take the test anyway.


If you work for companies whose main focus is publishing or that produce a large quantity of published material, you are likely to be working for someone who knows what good proofreading or editing looks like and will only give you more work if you do a good job for them.

This type of client also provides useful feedback to help you to improve your work and the service you offer. The client is likely to fall into one of these categories:

  • Book, journal, newspaper or magazine publishers (but not usually companies assisting self-publishers).
  • Publishing packagers and companies or organisations that regularly produce a large volume of reports.
  • Government departments or quangos.


This type of client may not be in a position to judge whether you have done a good job. Projects may be one-off, so the lack of repeat work is not necessarily an indicator of a bad job, and there may be very little by way of useful feedback from this sort of client. Non-publisher clients are likely to fall into one of these categories:

  • Academics (including those for whom English is not their first language) preparing articles or monographs for submission to publishers.
  • Commercial firms, non-profit bodies and organisations engaging editorial services for their publications, marketing materials, websites or similar.
  • Assisted publishing companies and individuals self-publishing their books.
  • Students who need editorial support for their essays, dissertations and theses, or coursework.
  • Translation agencies.

What information should I include?

Freelance clients

Tell us:

  • The name of the client.
  • The projects undertaken (itemised).
  • The type of work done:
    • For IM, we are almost exclusively interested in proofreading and copyediting. You can include other types of work (eg project management, development editing or commissioning), but we do need to see at least 100 hours of work in proofreading and copyediting (estimate what proportion of your time was spent on other work).
    • For PM and APM, we are mainly interested in proofreading and copyediting, but you can also include some project management, development editing, commissioning or similar work (estimate what proportion of your time was spent on this other work).
  • An estimate of how long in total was spent on each project. Many people work for set fees rather than an hourly rate, but keeping track of how long each job is taking is an important part of a professional approach to time management, efficiency and budgeting, so we want to see that you are monitoring this aspect of your work.

In-house work

We need to know what sort of work you have done and how much of it was using the core skills. Tell us:

  • The name of your employer: Include relevant information such as the publications it produces and where the office is located.
  • How long you worked there: If it was part-time work, how many hours a week did you work?
  • What sort of work you did: Was it all proofreading and/or copyediting, or did you do other things, such as project management, picture research or applying for permissions?
  • How much of your working time was spent on proofreading and/or copyediting: Estimate a percentage or fraction for your different types of work.

If you have significant in-house experience (2–5 years for PM and 8–10 years for APM), you may be able to upgrade simply by providing references and passing the basic editorial test (which will confirm that you have been trained well by your employer). Please contact the office for details.


We strongly recommend that you keep records of how long you spend on each job, in hours and minutes, dates worked and the type of job it is. Start doing this now, even if you think you won’t upgrade for a while.

If you already have a list of jobs and hours worked in a spreadsheet or other document, you can submit this rather than re-entering the information directly on your upgrade application form.

Good records will make it easier for you to upgrade, but they will also help you run your business efficiently. For example, you can use the information to prepare estimates of time required and fees to quote for new jobs and for planning your work schedule (such as deciding whether you have time to take on a project or when negotiating a deadline). If your records are detailed enough, you will also learn your personal work rate for various kinds of jobs, so your estimates will become more accurate.

The tax authorities expect you to keep this information. It is used, for example, in claiming the appropriate level of business expenses for working from home (hours worked each month). In the UK, you are required to keep all your business expenses information for six complete tax years plus the current tax year. Further, should you ever need to claim benefits, you will find that some are only available to people who work more than a certain number of hours per week, so you will need to be able to show a history of your working time.

You will also, of course, be well placed to complete your next upgrade application accurately when the time comes.