Career Definition for a Copywriting Professional
A copywriting professional prepares advertising copy used to promote a business, service, person, opinion or idea. This copy can appear in print, web and broadcast media. The majority of copywriters are employed by advertising agencies, web developers, public relations firms, online marketing firms and print publications. However, many copywriting professionals choose to work as freelancers for several clients at once, either at home or at their clients' offices.
|Education||Bachelor's degree in journalism, English or communications|
|Job Duties||Prepares advertising copy for print, web and broadcast media; could work full time at advertising agencies or as freelancer|
|Mean Salary (2018)*||$73,090 (writers and authors)|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)*||8% (writers and authors)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
A 4-year degree program in journalism, English or communications provides the ideal knowledge and skills for a career in copywriting. Courses should focus on writing skills and mechanics, as well as advertising concepts, but it is also helpful to take electives in web design or computer graphics. An internship for an advertising agency or department also provides a competitive edge and real-world experience.
Excellent writing skills are the most important requirement for a copywriting professional. Copywriters must express ideas with clarity, logic and creativity. Aptitude with computers and communications equipment is essential in order to correspond with clients, sources, co-workers and editors. Knowledge of electronic publishing and software is also valuable. The ability to multitask, manage time effectively, solve problems and work under deadlines is required.
Career and Economic Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that between 2016 and 2026, careers in writing would grow by 8%, which was as fast as average for all occupations. Copywriting is a very competitive field because there are generally fewer job openings than there are job seekers. The BLS reported that writers in general earned an average of $73,090 annually in 2018.
Those who desire more responsibilities in proofreading and approving written work should consider becoming editors. These professionals not only correct grammatical and spelling errors but also rewrite sentences for clarity. They also make decisions about what to include in the copy, check facts for accuracy and work with writers to develop content.
A bachelor's degree in communications, journalism or English is generally the path to this profession, along with strong computer skills. According to the BLS, editors will see a 1% decrease in job opportunities from 2016 to 2026 because of the decline of print media outlets. The BLS reported that as of May 2018, the average salary for editors was $69,480.
For those wanting to write about more complex science and technology topics, a career in technical writing could be a good option. Technical writers consult with science and engineering professionals before producing text for scientific documents, product descriptions and user manuals. They also select images that enhance the message and customize writings to fit a particular audience.
To gain employment in this field, technical writers need to earn a bachelor's degree in journalism, communications or English. Some employers may also require a background in areas such as engineering or computer science. The BLS projects an 11% employment increase for technical writers between 2016 and 2026, resulting in the creation of 5,700 new jobs. These writers earned an average salary of $75,500, as stated by the BLS in 2018.