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Certification for professional editors

Tina Dealwis
Editors' Association of Canada

Most successful editors are highly experienced and may also be highly trained and highly educated. Some are graduates of editing and publishing programs, while others hone their skills on the job. But until recently, professional editors have not been able to earn official recognition for the excellence of their editing skills through a certification program.

In 2006, the Editors' Association of Canada (EAC) launched its landmark certification program. EAC Certification—Canada's only professional editing certification program—allows editors who work in English to earn certification credentials in Proofreading, Copy Editing, Stylistic Editing, and/or Structural Editing. Editors can choose to become certified in one or more of these types of editing. Those who achieve all four certifications receive the designation of Certified Professional Editor (CPE).

Since the certification program's inception, EAC has certified a total of 167 professionals.


In 1997, EAC voted to "institute a certification program in English editing." The association devoted nearly a decade to developing editorial standards, policies, procedures, and tests. The first certification tests were administered in 2006; credentials were awarded to Canada's first certified editors in 2007.

The tests are designed to reflect the 2009 edition of Professional Editorial Standards (PES), which outlines the skills and knowledge an editor must have to edit at a professional level with minimal supervision. PES is available for download at no charge.

In 2011, a credential maintenance component was added to the program, which ensures that editors continue to keep their skills up-to-date. Activities that qualify for credential maintenance include delivering education and training, receiving education and training, volunteering for EAC, and working as an editor.

In 2012, EAC voted to complete its certification program by instituting a program in French editing. This program is being developed.

Benefits of certification

EAC created its certification program to promote and maintain professional standards of excellence, to help editors develop professionally, and to enhance the status of editing as a profession in Canada. As recognition of certification grows, the benefits to businesses, governments, organizations, and individuals seeking expert editors also increase.

Certification allows editors to demonstrate and earn professional recognition for their high level of knowledge and skills. Becoming certified is also a powerful marketing tool for editors, which may result in being able to command a higher salary or rate of pay.

For employers, certification provides a unique professional development opportunity and ensures that employees and independent contractors meet the industry standards for excellence in editing.

The tests

Two of the four tests are administered each November in designated test locations across Canada. Tests have been offered in previous years in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and Halifax.

Each test includes multiple-choice and short answer questions, along with a passage to edit. The tests are designed for experienced editors with at least five years of experience. Registration for the tests opens each July and closes in October.

Preparing for the tests

Seminars, workshops, and continuing education courses offered through post-secondary institutions and through EAC itself are recommended ways to prepare for the exams. Candidates are also encouraged to form study groups to share knowledge and help each other to study for the tests.

The Editors' Association of Canada also provides several resources to help editors prepare for the exams, such as Study Guides for each of the tests and Meeting Professional Editorial Standards.

More information

More information about the Editors' Association of Canada certification program can be found at