English degrees provide college graduates with a number of in-demand career opportunities, including jobs for writers. An education grounded in professional writing qualifies students for jobs that are both lucrative and rewarding. In fact, according to Inc., more than 73 percent of employers look for candidates with strong written communication skills. This makes studying writing an ideal choice for those looking to excel in the workplace.
Many students choose to study technical writing because it offers practical career preparation for writing in a business context. “A technical writing degree offers students a practical way to use their talent and interest in reading and writing to establish a sustainable career, with excellent pay and benefits,” said Dr. Rob Wallace, interim dean of the WVSU College of Arts and Humanities and chair of the Department of English.
The following are just some of the options when it comes to jobs for writers.
Technical writers are tasked with simplifying complex material so that it is easily understood by a diverse audience. They create easy-to-follow content that turns jargon into understandable prose. Technical writers might work on projects such as instruction manuals, how-to guides and other supporting content.
The overall goal of technical writing is to make products easier to use, so technical writers may also be responsible for ensuring that content is standard across multiple platforms. Job outlook for technical writers is strong, with 10 percent growth expected through 2024. That rate is faster than the national average for all occupations. Technical writers earn a median salary of $70,240 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
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Copywriters primarily work on marketing or advertising projects including blog articles, product descriptions, website content, radio ads and more. They are responsible for creating compelling content that accurately reflects brand messaging. Because they work with a wide variety of clients, copywriters should be versatile.
Other responsibilities include meeting with clients to discuss concepts and pitch ideas, along with researching and proofreading. Copywriters create content for both digital and print platforms. The median salary for copywriters is $47,441, according to PayScale. Although the BLS doesn’t provide information specific to copywriters, it notes that employment of advertising, promotions and marketing managers is expected to grow 9 percent through 2024.
Grant writers usually work for nonprofits, foundations and charitable organizations. They create proposals with the goal of acquiring funding for specific projects and initiatives. Grant writers may also be responsible for “responding to funders’ questions about a proposal, developing relationships with prospective donors, and documenting a grant’s impact at the conclusion of a project,” the BLS says. Though the BLS does not report data for grant writers specifically, the median salary for writers and authors is $60,250 per year, and those occupations are projected to grow 2 percent through 2024.
Freelance work is one of the most flexible jobs for writers. Freelancers work on a wide variety of projects for different clients, usually as independent contractors. Examples of projects include brochures, scripts, websites, case studies and more.
It is important for freelance writers to have a strong portfolio that showcases their work for prospective employers. They use sites like Upwork, Freelancer and Toptal to find potential clients and job opportunities. The median hourly rate for freelance writers is $24.62, according to PayScale.
Get Started With WVSU
No matter which career path you choose, an English degree is a smart first step. West Virginia State University offers a fully online Bachelor of Arts in English – Technical Writing degree program that helps students understand the complexities of writing in the business world. It combines a comprehensive writing curriculum with skill development in digital literacy, critical reading, soft skills development and more. With these skills, you’ll graduate with the knowledge to be successful in many writing and communications careers.