Online Writing Degree Programs

Professional writing is an important part of many fields from business to government. Most professional writers hold at least a bachelor degree and online writing degree programs prepare students for careers in many different areas. Online writing degree programs provide students with a strong liberal arts background while allowing them to focus on a specific specialty. Writing programs help students sharpen their communication skills and give them the essential practice and skills to lead a successful writing career. Read more about online writing degree programs.

Some Stats

In 2006, there were 2,097 bachelor degrees, 2,449 master degrees, and 16 doctorate degrees conferred in creative writing and 480 bachelor degrees, 230 master degrees, and 9 doctorate degrees conferred in technical and business writing (1). In 2006, writers and editors held about 306,000 jobs with over 1/3 being self-employed (2). According to Payscale.com, people employed in the professional writing field had average annual salaries from around $37,000 to $60,000 depending on position and field (3).

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook for writing jobs varies greatly on degree, field, and position. Many fields are demanding writing professionals to create required content as advancements and new technologies emerge. Employment of writers and editors is expected to grow as fast as average for all professions from 2006 to 2016, increasing 10% and adding 30,000 new jobs (2). Technical writers with less than 1 year experience earned average annual salaries between $35,159 and $49,199 (4).

Specialties

The field of writing is a vast and dynamic area and students can choose from a variety of specialties to focus their study and pursue an exciting writing career in many different fields. Writing specialties include creative writing, technical writing, scientific writing, critical writing, nature writing, poetry, composition, nonfiction, fiction, screenwriting, playwriting, children’s writing, expository writing, college writing, travel writing, curriculum writing, business writing, medical writing, magazine writing, grant writing, English writing, biographical, autobiographical, and legal writing. The possibilities are endless and students who are interested in a particular specialty should select schools that offer a strong program in the area of interest.

What to Expect

Writing degree programs provide students with a broad liberal arts education and focus on theory and practice with a variety of specialty options. Undergraduate writing degrees strongly focus on English and composition, but require general education courses in math, science, and humanities. Coursework varies by program, but many require courses in English, communications, spelling, vocabulary, syntax, subject/tense agreement, style, metaphor, imagery, tone, and editing. Many students also choose correlating minors to help support their specialties. Graduate writing degree programs help students build more advanced writing skills and prepare graduates for higher level positions.

The End Result

Undergraduate writing degrees can be applied to many different career fields. Many writing professionals work for newspapers, magazines, book publishers, and non-profit organizations. Students with specialties often pursue careers in those areas. Students with graduate degrees will be able to transition into more expert positions. Career opportunities for writing graduates include:

Technical Writer
Copywriter
Copy Editor
Magazine Editor
Marketing Coordinator
Business Writer
Novelist
Freelance Writer
Publication Assistant
Creative Writer
Poet
Reporter
Literary Agent
Publisher

A writing career will be rewarding for individuals who have a strong passion for writing and are creative, curious, self-motivated, and have broad range of knowledge. Professional writers apply their expertise and compose material for a variety of different career fields.

(1) SOURCE: U.S. National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics
(2) SOURCE: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2008-2009 Edition
(3) SOURCE: Payscale.com, Salary Survey for Degree: Bachelor of Arts (BA/AB), Professional Writing
(4) SOURCE: Payscale.com, Salary Survey Report

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