Meet a Certified Professional Editor: Jeanne McKane

Have you been thinking about registering for certification, but feeling unsure of how it will help your career? The Editors’ Association of Canada’s certification program is the gold standard in editing—it is a powerful marketing tool that demonstrates your excellence to potential clients and employers. It also gives you the confidence to know that your skills are first rate. Just ask Jeanne McKane.

While Jeanne had built a successful editing career, both in-house and as a freelancer, she wanted a way to demonstrate her abilities to potential clients, and to herself. “As a freelancer working in relative isolation, I wanted a way of proving objectively to myself that my knowledge and skills met the standards set by the Editors’ Association of Canada,” she says. As a result, she decided to write the certification tests, and became a Certified Professional Editor in 2010.

She says the recognition that comes with certification, and the personal sense of accomplishment, have been very rewarding. “For me, the most rewarding part of certification is the sense of confidence that comes from being recognized by my peers—by people I respect, and who are experts in the field I have worked so hard to join. Although I’ve been editing successfully for quite a few years now, I felt a real sense of accomplishment when I got the letter saying I had received my CPE.”

In addition to enhanced self-confidence, Jeanne says her CPE status has helped attract new potential clients. However, the most significant impact, she says, was an unexpected one. “It’s not what I expected at all—it’s been the improvement of my standing with other professionals. As a healthcare editor, I spend a lot of time working closely with doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals, for whom certification is a long-established practice, and a significant part of their own self-image. There is no doubt that when I make them aware of my CPE, it shifts their perceptions of me a little—it allows them to view me more as a collaborator with a different specialty, rather than as support staff, and that, in turn, gives me a greater chance to contribute my own knowledge and skills to a project.”

Jeanne discovered her love of editing while working on her college newspaper. “By the time I finished my undergraduate degree in English and Celtic Studies, it had already occurred to me that editing was where I belonged,” she says. After working for a trade magazine publisher, a non-profit organization and a healthcare communications company, Jeanne made the move to freelancing 13 years ago. She says she loves the intellectual challenge of medical editing. “One week I might be completely immersed in a set of articles on diabetes, and the next, working on a program about schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. I’ve had to learn—or re-learn!—a lot of science and math. In fact, I’m always learning, and that’s one of the things I love most about what I do. There’s also nothing better than taking a piece that’s relatively rough and smoothing it, refining it, into something that has a clear and coherent story to tell; it’s immensely satisfying!”

Make this the year you join the ranks of editors certified by the Editors’ Association of Canada’s landmark certification program. For more information on certification or to register, visit

Issued on behalf of the Certification Steering Committee by the national office.

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