Become a Board-Certified Editor

Q: How do I apply and register for the certification examination?

To be eligible for BELS certification, you must usually have a bachelor's degree or equivalent from an accredited academic institution and at least 2 years of experience as a manuscript editor in the life sciences. A manuscript editor is defined here as one who is concerned not only with the form but with the intellectual content of a manuscript.

You may print and submit an Application Form to the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences at any time. Include your resume or curriculum vitae (an education history and summary of editing or other relevant experience); three letters from employers or clients describing and verifying your employment; photocopies of transcripts, diplomas, or other documentation of your education; and your application fee of $65 US.

If you are requesting an exception, be certain to state which one and to submit the appropriate documents. Applicants living outside the United States should contact the office for instructions.

You will be notified shortly about your eligibility to register for the certification examination. Eligibility is determined on the basis of a complete set of application materials that demonstrates satisfactory fulfillment of the eligibility requirements. If you are eligible, you will be sent a dated notice, a schedule of test dates and sites, and an examination registration form.

You may, within 2 years, notify the Board that you wish to take the examination by submitting the registration form and a fee of $250 US to reserve a place at the scheduled examination of your choice. You will be sent your ticket of admission to the examination.

Note that if your registration form is delivered after the published closing date (4 weeks before the examination date), your fee will be returned and you will be asked to register for another examination. If you decide not to pursue certification and notify the Board no later than 3 weeks before the date of the selected examination, half of the fee will be refunded.

If you would like more information about certification contact us.

Q. How do I prepare for the test?

You can download a copy of the Study Guide from the website. Daily work as an editor is the best preparation, but the Study Guide gives a list of references that might be helpful.

Q. How often is the examination held?

The examination is held at least three times each year in various locations across the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia, as candidate interest warrants.

Q. If I have a disability that may require special accommodations to take the examination, what should I do?

If you have a disability requiring accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, contact us no later than 6 weeks before the exam you plan to take. You will be sent a form to complete and return to the Registrar.