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Editorial Assistant vs. Assistant Editor: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

Editorial assistants and assistant editors are both positions that support the work of editors. If you’re interested in a career in publishing or journalism, these may be two positions you pursue. Though these roles have similarities, there are several key differences between them. In this article, we discuss the duties of editorial assistants and assistant editors, compare and contrast the two positions and offer advice for those interested in pursuing a career in editing.

What is an Editorial Assistant?

Editorial Assistants provide support to Editors and other members of a publication’s staff. They may be responsible for tasks such as proofreading, copyediting, conducting research, managing schedules and deadlines, and coordinating projects. Editorial Assistants may also be responsible for writing and publishing content for the publication’s website or social media platforms. In some cases, Editorial Assistants may be responsible for managing a team of writers or other staff members.

What is an Assistant Editor?

Assistant Editors work in a variety of publishing settings to support Editors in all stages of the publication process. They may be responsible for tasks such as reading and evaluating submissions, conducting research, managing schedules, communicating with authors and other publishing professionals, and copyediting and proofreading manuscripts. In some cases, Assistant Editors may also be involved in the marketing and publicity efforts for a publication. In all cases, Assistant Editors play a vital role in ensuring that publications are high-quality and meet deadlines.

Editorial Assistant vs. Assistant Editor

Here are the main differences between an editorial assistant and an assistant editor.

Job Duties

Although the specific duties of an editorial assistant and an assistant editor may vary, there are some general job responsibilities that these professionals often share. These duties include things like editing manuscripts, managing authors and communicating with readers. Another key responsibility for both roles is to ensure that the publication meets its publishing schedule. An editorial assistant may perform some of these duties alone, while an assistant editor typically works with other editors in their department to complete tasks.

Job Requirements

An editorial assistant typically needs at least a bachelor’s degree to enter the field, though some employers prefer candidates with a master’s degree. Common majors for editorial assistants include English, journalism and communications. Many editorial assistants start their careers in entry-level roles, such as administrative assistant or customer service representative, before being promoted to an editorial assistant position.

Assistant editors usually need at least a bachelor’s degree as well, but they might also have a master’s degree in a relevant field. Common majors for assistant editors include English, journalism and communications. Many assistant editors start their careers as editorial assistants before being promoted to an assistant editor role. Additionally, some assistant editors pursue certifications through professional organizations, such as the American Copy Editors Society (ACES) or the National Association of Science Writers (NASW).

Work Environment

Editorial assistants typically work in an office setting, often for a publishing company. They may also travel to attend conferences and meet with authors or agents. Assistant editors usually work in an office environment as well, but they may also visit locations where their publications are being filmed or photographed.

The work environments of both positions can be fast-paced and stressful. Editorial assistants may spend long hours working on tight deadlines. The job can also involve some physical labor, such as lifting heavy boxes of books.


Both editorial assistants and assistant editors need to have excellent writing skills, as they will be responsible for crafting various types of content. They also both need to have strong editing skills, as they will be reviewing and revising the work of others. In addition, both roles require good research skills, as they will often be tasked with finding information to support the content they are creating.

One key difference between editorial assistants and assistant editors is that editorial assistants typically have less experience and may be more entry-level positions. As a result, they may be responsible for more administrative tasks, such as scheduling appointments and maintaining records. Assistant editors, on the other hand, usually have more experience and may be responsible for more strategic tasks, such as developing editorial calendars and managing budgets.


The average salary for an editorial assistant is $51,035 per year, while the average salary for an assistant editor is $55,183 per year. Both of these salaries may vary depending on the type of company you work for, your level of experience and your location.


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