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Career Information for a Degree in Technical or Business Writing

Technical and business writing careers can be pursued by students who major in fields such as journalism, communications and graphic design. Continue reading for an overview of the programs, as well as career options and salary info for graduates.

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One can go on to become a technical writer, copywriter, or desktop publisher after earning a degree in English or a similar major that includes business and technical writing. Computer and written communication skills are essential.

Essential Information

In a degree program that covers business writing, students learn to conduct research and communicate accurately and succinctly in writing. They use language as effectively as possible to communicate ideas in the form of instructions, business documents or marketing copy. Graduates are prepared for careers in technical writing, copywriting or desktop publishing, in addition to many others.

Career Titles Technical Writers Copywriters (Writers and Authors) Desktop Publishers
Education Requirements A bachelor's degree in English, journalism or communications A bachelor's degree in English, journalism or communications Variable; an associate's degree in graphic design, graphic communications or graphic arts, and knowledge of desktop publishing software
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) * 10% 2% for writers and authors -21%
Median Annual Salary (2015)* $70,240 $60,250 for writers and authors $39,840

Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Options

Students who wish to pursue careers in technical or business writing can earn degrees in a number of disciplines, including communications, English or graphic arts. Upon completing their studies and entering the job market, individuals could pursue careers in areas such as technical writing, copywriting or desktop publishing.

Technical Writer

Technical writers use their communication skills to write instructions, web pages and other documents that require precise English to convey a message about a product or process. They are employed by governments, manufacturers, engineering firms and other organizations. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that jobs in this field will grow 10% from 2014-2024, which is slightly faster than average. The BLS also reports that technical writers earned median salaries of $70,240 in May 2015.

Copywriter

Copywriters draft and prepare copy for written and broadcast advertising. They work with other advertising professionals, such as art directors and graphic designers, to create captions, copy and scripts that are used in advertisements. Copywriters generally work for advertising firms that contract their services out to clients, but some work in-house for large corporations that direct their own advertising. Writers in general, including those in industries like advertising, can expect below-average growth in the field because of cuts in the publishing industry as a whole, according to the BLS. The BLS reports that most writers and authors earned between $29,230 and $114,530 per year, as of May 2015.

Desktop Publisher

Desktop publishers use computers to design page layouts and pair text with graphics for printing. They also frequently write and edit content for the Web or print publication. These professionals often focus on Web design and sometimes work under titles such as document designer, publications manager or Web editor. The BLS projects that opportunities for desktop publishers will decline 21% between 2014 and 2024 as more people incorporate these skills into their regular jobs; however, some positions will continue to open. The median salary for desktop publishers in May 2015 was reported by the BLS as $39,840.

Knowledge of technical or business writing, acquired through bachelor's or associate degree programs, can help find you jobs in technical writing, copywriting, or desktop publishing. Salaries differ widely by industry.

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