Self -Study FAQs

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When can I enrol?

You can enrol on one of our Self-Study Courses or e-Learning Modules at any time you wish. Please just bear in mind that your enrolment begins at the point that you register, so it is best to sign up when you are confident that you will have the time to devote to your studies. There will be a specific enrolment period, depending on the course or module you choose. The relevant website page will hold this information for each course or module.

Can I enrol if I live outside the UK?

Yes, we have many students who are not UK based. 

What do the different grades mean?

For Tutor-Guided, assessed courses, the different pass marks denote the following:

Pass – You are suited to the profession but need further experience before applying for paid work.

Merit – You show an aptitude for editorial work and could apply for paid work

Distinction – You have reached a very high standard and should feel confident about applying for paid work.

For e-Learning Modules, you will receive a certificate of completion when you have finished all sections.

What are the pass rates for the Tutor-Guided Courses?

Obviously the pass rates vary from course to course, but it is important to note that for the Certificate of Achievement to have value, students must be rigorously assessed, so a pass cannot be guaranteed.

That said, your tutor will work with you throughout the course to ensure that you fulfil your potential, and pass rates are reasonably high. For example, for students who completed the Basic Proofreading course in the period July 2015 – July 2017, 93% successfully completed the course.

How will I submit my work?

All submissions will be by email to the PTC.

The correct email address to use will be part of the specific submission guidelines included with each course.

Do I need a computer?

As our courses are accessed through our online learning platform, and the vast majority of all work is completed on-screen, yes, you will need access to a computer. Editorial professionals working in today’s publishing industry need to be confident in their abilities to work on-screen, so getting to grips with this during training is highly recommended.

Are PTC courses recognised by the industry?

Since the demise of publishing NVQs, there are no generally accepted formal qualifications in proofreading or editing. On successful completion of one of our Self-Study courses you will be awarded a graded certificate. We have been training publishing professionals for more than 35 years and we were the organisation appointed by the publishing industry to represent its views on skills and training to government, which means that your certificate of achievement will be widely recognised throughout the publishing industry.

Will I find work after completing a PTC course?

Completion of one of our Self-Study courses cannot guarantee immediate freelance or in-house work; however, as a graduate of one of our courses we are confident that your CV will be viewed more seriously by employers within the publishing industry.

It takes time and effort to become an established freelance editorial professional, but it can be a very rewarding career. You might like to read about the experiences of one of our graduates, Louise Harnby, or take a look at our blog for more information.

How quickly can I complete a course?

Our Tutor-Guided course enrolments are for 12 or 18 months. These are in-depth, complex courses which require dedicated study. Students must also take into account the administration time for the processing and marking of assignments. Our maximum turnaround for this process is 4 weeks.

For Essential Proofreading and Creative Copywriting, average completion time is around 6-8 months.

For Essential Copy-Editing, average completion time is around 12 months.

Students who enrol on any e-Learning Module will have access to the module for 8 months. You are free to structure your study within this time frame as you prefer. 

Are these courses only for freelancers?

Not at all. If you already work in publishing, or in a role utilising publishing skills, our Self-Study courses supplement and consolidate skills and knowledge gained on the job.

Are there any entry requirements for a self-study course?

There are no strict entry requirements for our Self-Study courses, but you should be confident that you have:

  • an eye for detail
  • a good concentration span
  • a firm grasp of colloquial English, along with English grammar, spelling and punctuation
  • good general knowledge and a willingness to learn

Please note that Essential Copy-Editing is designed for those who already have working knowledge and experience of proofreading, as well as an understanding of the publishing process.

How will I know if a freelance editorial career is for me?

As with any freelance career, you will need to build up experience in your chosen field. Our Self-Study courses are an excellent start, but you will need to gain practical experience too.

You will also need excellent interpersonal skills to communicate effectively with potential clients, and you will need to think about how to market yourself and grow your professional network. Our Successful Editorial Freelancing Self-Study course is an excellent way to gain an understanding of the commercial aspects of running a freelance business. 

Which Self-Study course should I do first?

For those without prior publishing experience, we recommend Essential Proofreading as the best starting point, as this course is designed to take you from beginner to professional level. Once you have completed this course, and have gained some practical experience, you can expand your skills with Essential Copy-Editing.

If you already have proofreading experience, either in-house or freelance, or if you have specialist subject knowledge that you wish to employ as an editor, then you may wish to go directly to Essential Copy-Editing.

Whether you opt for Creative Copywriting, Essential Proofreading or Essential Copy-Editing, we also recommend that you brush up your grammar with our online course, available at a special price when purchased with either of these Self-Study programmes.

Our e-Learning Modules are designed for those who already have editorial experience or training, and are looking to supplement their knowledge of a specific area.

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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.
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