Basic Proofreading

The only in-depth distance learning training course that takes you from complete beginner to PQB qualified proofreader in one step.

What is proofreading?

Proofreading is the process of checking written materials for errors before they are published. These materials may include books, magazines, blogs, websites, brochures, journals and official documents.

Basic Proofreading is designed to give you the skill, judgement and understanding of the publishing process that you will need to be a successful proofreader. The course includes extensive practice opportunities and exposure to a wide variety of materials. 

Learning outcomes

At the end of this course you will be able to:

  • understand and use British Standards Institution symbols and Adobe mark-up
  • make informed decisions when marking up proofs - what to change, what to leave
  • mark up documents on paper and on screen, and understand the differences between the two
  • follow the instructions of an editor, and give clear instructions to a typesetter

How does the course work?

There are five units, each containing five self-check exercises and a longer assignment, which you will submit to your personal tutor, who is assigned to you for the duration of your course, for marking and commentary. Additional chapters cover explanation of the publishing process and where the proofreader fits in, and the course concludes with career advice and recommendations for further training.

If you have already enrolled on this course and wish to access your course materials, please log in to our learning site and select the course from the 'My courses and resources' list.

Payment Options

The online edition of Basic Proofreading costs £395. It is possible to pay for the course in three instalments. The first instalment of £185 is payable on enrolment. The second and third instalments of £105 each will be automatically collected between the tenth and fifteenth of the following two months.

The printed and posted version of the course costs £440. The first instalment in this case is £230. Second and third instalments as above. If the materials need to be posted to an address outside the UK, there is an additional postage fee of £35.

Have a look through our Frequently Asked Questions for more information. 

How to Enrol

To enrol, you need to click on the Add to Cart button on this page. You will be asked to register (if you have not already done so). You will, at that point, be able to pay immediately by credit/debit card, request a pro-forma invoice or download and complete a “fillable” PDF enrolment form. This form can be emailed to  or posted to the Publishing Training Centre, Ground Floor, Crowne House, 56-58 Southwark Street, London, SE1 1UN.

Money back guarantee

If, within 30 days of receiving your course materials (and before any assignments have been sent to your tutor for marking), you decide that the course is not for you, simply return the materials to us, in perfect condition, to receive a full refund. In the case of the online version of the course, there is nothing you need to return to us, but your access to the learning platform will cease once your refund is confirmed.

Important note:

You must complete the course within 12 months of enrolment or, if you wish to continue the course beyond this period, you can study for a further 12 months following payment of a re-registration fee. Any further extensions are at the discretion of The Publishing Training Centre.

What is Included?

Course Materials

Either posted to you in printed form or as downloadable PDFs, depending on which course version you select.

Your own tutor

Each student is assigned an experienced proofreader as a tutor who will support you through the course and for up to three months after completion.


 Upon successfully completing the course you will receive:

• A completion certificate from PQB showing whether you have achieved a pass, merit or distinction in your work.

• An entry in the PTC’s Freelance Finder – the listing can be used by companies when they are looking to employ freelancers.

• SfEP points – the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP) recommends this course as a foundation for those wishing to take its accreditation test. If you become an SfEP member, passing this course is worth points towards upgrading your membership.

Who is it for?

  • New editorial staff looking to increase your skills
  • Career-changers looking for a flexible and interesting career
  • Anyone who proofreads as part of their job but has no formal training
  • Anyone looking to work as a freelance proofreader

About the Author

Gillian Clarke has been a freelance proofreader and editor since 1975. She is a founder member and honorary member of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP) and was responsible for setting up its training programme. 

Margaret Aherne has worked since 1986 as a proofreader, copy-editor, project manager and tutor/mentor for a wide range of publishing clients, as well as for bodies such as the Audit Commission. She was also commissioned to create and deliver the PTC’s Advanced Copy-Editing one-day course and in 2011 became the tutor for the PTC’s online Grammar at Work module. She is a founder member of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP) and is a mentor in proofreading and copy-editing on the SfEP’s mentoring scheme.

* Course Type:

Study Time

At least 40 hours and up to 12 months to complete

Special Offer

Good grammar is essential for a proofreader. We strongly recommend you also work through Grammar at Work. This normally costs £60 but if booked at the same time as Basic Proofreading the price is reduced to £30.

Copyright © 2014 The Publishing Training Centre, Crowne House, 56-58 Southwark Street, London SE1 1UN
The Publishing Training Centre is a registered charity. Registered name: The Publishing Training Centre Foundation, a company limited by guarantee incorporated in England and Wales.
Registration number: 1253854. Registered office: 16 High Holborn, London WC1V 6BX. Tel: +44 (0)20 8874 2718