How to Become a

Magazine Editor

The complete career guide to be a Magazine Editor: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $64,910
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • -5.3%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Creativity Focused
    Career Attribute
  • Fast Paced Career
    Career Attribute

Magazine editors oversee the entire process of publishing a magazine. They choose what articles are published, choose images to accompany articles, and develop themes for special issues. Because of their high involvement in all aspects, magazine editors are directly responsible for their publication’s success.

Recommended Schools

What is a Magazine Editor?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in magazine editor roles:

  • Maintain an editorial calendar for a magazine, brainstorm article topics, assign articles to writers, and review and accept/decline pitches from staff and freelance writers
  • Ensure that magazine content is fresh, relevant, and of interest to the publication’s target audience
  • Proofread and edit the content of submitted articles and make or request needed changes
  • Choose what articles are featured, pick images to accompany articles, and assist with determining the overall layout of each issue

A Day in the Life

A magazine editor is responsible for every aspect of publishing an issue of a magazine. The editor creates editorial calendars that consider the timeliness or relevance of articles and sets schedules for special, thematic issues. A magazine editor chooses what articles appear in each issue of a magazine and may assign articles to writers based on the editor’s own ideas, or he/she may review pitches from both staff and freelance writers to discover ideas for future publications.

Before an issue is published, the magazine editor oversees putting every aspect of the magazine together. The editor determines what articles will be featured, what columns to include, and what images will accompany content. The editor also works with the sales and advertising teams to determine ad placement throughout the issue. The goal of the magazine editor is always to increase magazine sales and subscriptions, so their role is to ensure that all content will be compelling to target audiences.

Magazine editors also perform more traditional editing responsibilities. They may review content for grammatical, spelling, and formatting errors, and they’re accountable for ensuring factual accuracy of content published. The magazine editor works with photographers on scheduling sessions for photographing products, models, and featured guests to collect images for use alongside articles. Magazine editors may also be responsible for hiring staff and managing the publication’s budget.

Typical Work Schedule

Magazine editors’ schedules depend on the publications they work for. In many cases, the role requires long hours and overtime as editors oversee a variety of tasks in order to prepare for publication. However, editors of smaller, less frequent publications may work more traditional schedules.

Magazine Editor Specializations

Editors at magazines with small audiences and fewer issues published per year may perform tasks from all specializations. Larger magazines, on the other hand, often split duties among the following specializations:

  • Editorial assistants assist with editorial tasks. They may handle random responsibilities assigned by the editor, or they may handle all editorial duties for a subset or section of the magazine.
  • Editors oversee the content of an entire magazine. They work with assistant editors to assign and choose topics to appear in issues and work with photographers to collect relevant images.
  • Managing editors may conduct any editing responsibilities, but they also have higher-level responsibilities like managing budgets, hiring staff, and managing sales and advertising teams.
  • Executive editors focus on increasing magazine revenue. They work with sales teams to increase outlets selling individual issues, with advertising teams to increase the number of ads sold for each issue, and with marketing teams to increase magazine subscription rates.

Career Progression

  • Early Career: Writer, Editorial Assistant
  • Mid-Career: Editor, Managing Editor
  • Late Career: Executive Editor, Editor-in-Chief

Typical Employers

Some of the most profitable magazine publishers include Time Inc., Hearst Magazines, Condé Nast Publications, and Meredith. Magazines that earn the most revenue include People, Sports Illustrated, Us Weekly, Better Homes and Gardens, Time, and Cosmopolitan.

Recommended Schools

How To Become a Magazine Editor

Most magazine editor jobs require a bachelor’s degree in writing, journalism, or communications. If you’re interested in writing for a niche magazine, it can also be helpful to pursue a double major or minor in the field you’re interested in working in. For example, having a degree in journalism with a minor in fashion or design may be useful if you want to work for a women’s fashion or interior design publication. The alternative can also be useful—a major in a specific field with a minor in writing.

Beyond having a degree, the process of becoming an editor is mostly about getting a job at a magazine and working your way up. Some people get a foot in the door with an internship, some start as writers for the magazine, and some start in advertising or sales positions. Editors must have experience working for magazines, so the best way to work your way up is to choose an inoffensive entry-level position and make strides in that position to prove your abilities.

After securing an internship or other entry-level position, you can work toward becoming an editor by moving into roles with greater responsibility. Individuals in sales positions may be able to pitch ideas and become writers. Writers may be able to work their way into assistant editor positions. Successful editorial assistants will be in line for editor positions when they open, and working as an editorial assistant for some time may also allow you to qualify for magazine editor positions at other publications.

Magazine Editor Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

Low Range




High Range


How do Magazine Editor salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Magazine Editor's can make an average annual salary of $64,910, or $31 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $39,690 or $19 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #229 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Average Salary Nationally

Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Magazine Editor. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.

Highest Education Among Magazine Editors

  • 4.7%   Doctorate
  • 19.3%   Masters
  • 59%   Bachelors
  • 4.3%   Associates
  • 9.1%   College
  • 3.1%   High School
  • 0.5%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Magazine Editor job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of -6,200 jobs for a total of 111,000 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a -5.3% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #703 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Avg. Growth Nationally

What Companies Employ The Most Magazine Editors

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Newspaper publishers 19,400 -6,700 -7%
Self-employed workers 15,900 500 1%
Other information services 6,700 1,000 1%

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