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Certification for professional editors

Tina Dealwis
Editors’ Association of Canada
(The Editors’ Association of Canada began using the name Editors Canada on July 1, 2015.)


Most successful editors have extensive experience and may also be well-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 (www) English Hyperlink Notice—Canada's only professional editing certification program—allows editors who work in English to earn certification credentials in proofreading, copy editing, stylistic editing or structural editing. Editors can choose to become certified in one or more of these types of editing. Those who obtain all four certifications receive the designation of Certified Professional Editor (CPE).

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


In 1997, the 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 (www) English Hyperlink Notice (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, the EAC added a credential maintenance component (www) English Hyperlink Notice to the program to ensure 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 the EAC and working as an editor.

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

Benefits of certification

The 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, one that may enable them 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, Montréal and Halifax.

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

Preparing for the tests

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

The EAC also provides several resources (www) English Hyperlink Notice to help editors prepare for the tests, such as study guides and Meeting Professional Editorial Standards, a self-teaching and self-testing package.

More information

More information about the EAC certification program can be found on the EAC website (www) English Hyperlink Notice.