Copy Editing: 12-Session Self-Paced Course

Land work as a copy editor

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Find out how to pass edit tests, fact check, and launch your career as a copy editor. You'll learn how to resolve punctuation issues, spot and correct common errors, and craft elegant sentences. You'll also discover how to adapt your resume to land work as a freelancer or full-time staffer.

Assignments include copy editing newspaper stories, magazine features, press releases, marketing materials, online copy, and fiction.

In this class, you will learn how to:

  • Understand grammar, in-house style, and the work flow of a copy editor
  • Identify an em dash, en dash, and appropriate hyphen usage
  • Identify and correct commonly misused words, agreement, parallelism, capitalization, and headline style
  • Fix modifier issues like dangling participles, modifier placement, and antecedent problems
  • Appropriately use a semicolon, period, colon, ellipsis, exclamation point, question mark, and single quotes

By the end of this course, you will have:

Experience copy editing with both AP Style and The Chicago Manual of Style and experience copy editing seven kinds of manuscripts (fiction excerpt, medical text, press release, newspaper story, academic text, online story, and magazine feature).

The self-paced course includes:

  • A video introduction from instructor Cheryl Della Pietra
  • Eleven written lessons
  • Eleven resource lists
  • Twelve copy tests and answer keys
  • Eight supplemental videos on proofreading marks and queries, fact-checking, electronic editing and track changes

Cheryl Della Pietra has been a freelancer for Elle, Us Weekly, LIFE, and Fast Company, where she not-so-quietly obsessed over comma splices and misplaced modifiers. She has copyedited at and also supervised the copy department at P.O.V. magazine, where she was the research editor. Yearning to have her work copyedited for a change, she has written for Redbook and Marie Claire. Many moons ago, she was Hunter S. Thompson's editorial assistant, a job that honed her margarita-making skills.

  • "Cheryl is an excellent instructor. She is knowledgeable, communicates with warmth and humor, was encouraging, stimulating, and spoke to each participant with respect."

    Miranda Smith

  • "Cheryl was amazing. Her teaching skills are excellent and she clearly knows her stuff. Very impressive."

    Carol Wallace

  • "Cheryl's experience is a huge asset, providing us all with valuable practical advice. I would gladly take another course with her."

    Kelle Walsh

  • "Cheryl is patient and caring. I will definitely take courses with her."

    Michael Maynard

  • "This class was the shot in the arm that I needed as I tackle new freelance assignments. Cheryl brought real-world experience and answered our various questions with ease and a sharp sense of professionalism."

    Jay Franco

  • "Cheryl is wonderful! She was extremely thorough and generous sharing her insights into the publishing industry."

    Susan Case

  • "Cheryl is a direct, witty, and brilliant instructor! Her classes overflow with invaluable content for both entry and seasoned editors."

    Phylencia Taylor

  • "Cheryl's a real pro! She did an excellent job of boiling the information down to essentials, and is clearly at the top of her game."

    Alison Mundy

  • "Cheryl united a diversified class with her personable, approachable style and professionalism. Her course content far surpassed my expectations. I've recommended her class to friends and colleagues."

    Katie Sherman

  • "It was a pleasure to be in Cheryl's class. She knew her material and the industry, and was very supportive."

    Ellen Ryan

  • "Cheryl was prepared, knowledgeable, professional, engaging, and giving. I would recommend her to anyone."

    Daniel McCourt

  • "Cheryl has the perfect qualities of an instructor. She knows her stuff, can explain complex ideas in simple terms, and obviously enjoys teaching."

    Joanne Hus

  • "Cheryl was all I had hoped for -- experienced, serious about the subject matter, and able to present lectures and hold chats with a sense of humor."

    Kimberly Stravers

  • "For anyone intimidated by the world of copy editing, Cheryl will quickly put you at ease with her keen insight into the field."

    Alvin Blanco

  • "Taking Cheryl's class was the most worthwhile thing I've done. She was incredibly knowledgeable and helpful and I would recommend her class to anyone at any kind of job -- not just those involved with copy editing."

    Alyssa Bieler