One of the first questions many people have when first getting into editing and/or proofreading is What professional association should I join? There are a lot of great organizations that have been formed specifically for editors, but each has its pros and cons. Below is a list of some of the more well-known associations.
Disclaimer: I am a member of the Editorial Freelancers Association since this organization fits my needs best as a full-time freelancer. I’ve tried to assess each association impartially based on the research I conducted.
American Copy Editors Society (ACES)
ACES: The Society for Editing—the nation’s leading organization of editing professionals, educators, and students—is dedicated to improving the quality of communication and the working lives of editors.
The society was founded in 1997 and sets standards of excellence and gives a voice to editors in journalism, government, business, and beyond through top-notch training, networking, and career opportunities.
ACES offers the following benefits for members:
- Discounts on the ACES national conference and ACES regional training events
- Discounts on webinars and certificate programs offered online through ACES and Poynter
- Access to Tracking Changes, ACES’ members-only quarterly journal
- A free listing in the ACES Editors for Hire freelancer directory
- Discounts on subscriptions to style manuals
- Discounts on software and other tools
- Discounted conference fees for other associations
Although ACES members come from all different fields and industries, the society does seem to focus on issues and training specifically for journalists. If you want to join an organization that caters to a more diverse group of editors, another association may be a better fit.
Council of Science Editors (CSE)
The Council of Science Editors (CSE) is an international membership organization for editorial professionals publishing in the sciences. Its purpose is to serve over 800 members in the scientific, scientific publishing, and information science communities by fostering networking, education, discussion, and exchange.
CSE offers the following benefits for members:
- An annual subscription to Science Editor, CSE’s quarterly journal
- Access to your fellow members through CSE’s website and membership directory
- Access to the CSE Listserv to communicate with members and colleagues
- Ability to participate as a mentor/mentee in CSE’s Mentorship Program
- A member discount on the registration fee for the CSE Annual Meeting
- A member discount on the registration fee for webinars on current topics and emerging issues
- A member discount on the registration fee for the popular Short Courses
- A range of opportunities to participate in the creation of editorial policies and standards
CSE’s programs are obviously targeted at editors working with life science and biomedical publications, so if you don’t specialize in these areas, another organization may be a better fit for your needs.
Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA)
The EFA provides resources for both freelancers and clients, including a chart of common rates. EFA members are editors, writers, indexers, proofreaders, researchers, desktop publishers, translators, and others who offer a broad range of skills and specialties.
The EFA offers the following benefits for members:
- Online membership directory
- Education program
- Job list subscription
- Discussion list
- Regional chapters and networking groups
- Meetings and events
- Publishing opportunities
- Publications (including the bimonthly newsletter, the Freelancer)
- Health care discount plans
- Discounts on other training and software
The EFA focuses on freelancers, so if you’re an in-house editor, you may not find these resources useful. Competition for jobs published on the jobs list can also be intense.
Editors’ Association of Canada (Editors Canada)
Editors Canada promotes professional editing as key in producing effective communication. Its 1,300 members are salaried and freelance, working with individuals and organizations in the corporate, technical, government, not-for-profit, academic, and publishing sectors across the country and around the world in English and French. Many offer a wealth of editing-related services to their clients and employers.
Editors Canada offers the following benefits for members:
- Workshops and seminars
- Professional certification
- Listing in the Online Directory of Editors (ODE)
- Access to the National Job Board
- Branch hotlines
- Mediation and affordable insurance plans
- Social events
- Annual national conference
- Volunteer opportunities
- Publications and resources, including Editors Canada’s national newsletter
- Discounts on training opportunities, office supplies, and resources
- Email forums and online bulletin board
- Membership meetings
- Professional development seminars
This association offers many excellent resources, but membership may be a better fit for those who live and work in Canada. Most meetings and events are held in Canada, and the certification tests are offered each November at sites throughout the country.
Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP)
The SfEP has three main aims: (1) to promote high editorial standards, (2) to uphold the professional status of editors and proofreaders, and (3) to encourage the use of services offered by SfEP members.
The SfEP was formed in November 1988 and now has about 2,100 members (mostly in the UK) providing editorial services to publishers and a wide range of companies, government agencies, and other bodies.
The SfEP offers the following benefits for individual members:
- Help getting work
- Regular networking opportunities
- Training and professional qualifications
- Publications, including the bimonthly magazine Editing Matters
- Books, products, services, and subscriptions
- Membership-only forums
- Listing in the online Directory of Editorial Services
Although the SfEP does have an international focus, its members are primarily from the UK. As with Editors Canada, if you live and work elsewhere, this organization may not be the best fit for you.
- Intermediate Membership
- Professional Membership
- Advanced Professional Membership
Each level offers different benefits, so it’s a good idea to do your research before applying to join this organization.
This list doesn’t include all of the editing associations out there—there are many more around the world you can consider joining. But if you’re just starting out and looking for a relevant organization to join, this should help you get started. All of these associations provide great resources, training, and support from like-minded editors.
What other organizations have you researched or considered joining? Feel free to comment!