Indexer apprenticeships - where to start
You can get into this job through
a university coursean apprenticeshipapplying directlyspecialist training with a professional body
If you want to work in a specialist area, like science or law, you'll need in-depth subject knowledge, which you could get from doing a relevant degree. You'll usually need 2 to 3 A-Levels, or equivalent, for a degree.
You may be able to start by doing a library, information and archive services Level 3 (advanced) apprenticeship. You'll usually need 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths.
You can apply directly for jobs. Many indexers have a higher education qualification like a degree, although this is not essential.
Often, indexers start this work as a second career, using the experience and in-depth knowledge they've built up from their main area of work.
You can do a training course with the Society of Indexers by distance learning. This is a combination of online tutorials, assignments and assessments.
The course takes around 45 to 50 hours of study and is recognised by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals. It includes:
When you've successfully completed the course you'll be awarded accredited indexer status, which is recognised by employers as a first stage towards becoming a professional indexer. The Society of Indexers runs short workshops, which give an overview of indexing together with practical exercises. These are useful for anyone who may be thinking of taking up indexing as a career.
They also offer workshops on working as a freelance indexer and establishing an indexing business.
- indexing terminology
- indexing books, periodicals and websites
- computerised search systems
Indexer apprenticeships - what it takes
Skills and knowledge
- the ability to work well with others
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- sensitivity and understanding
- customer service skills
- to be flexible and open to change
- administration skills
- excellent verbal communication skills
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
Indexer apprenticeships - what you'll do
In your day-to-day duties you could:
- study documents to get an overall idea of what they cover
- identify important words and phrases in the text, record where they occur and put them in alphabetical order
- identify the main topics and break them down into sections
- cross-reference related topics
- organise the index so that information is easy to find
- index photographs, diagrams and other illustrations
- use specialist computer software for sorting, formatting and printing
You could work from home or in an office.
Career path and progression - Indexer apprenticeships
You could combine indexing with related areas such as proofreading and copywriting.