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Magazine Writer: Career Profile and Educational Requirements

Sep 14, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a magazine writer. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and job growth potential to find out if this is the career for you.

Most magazine writers have earned at least a bachelor's degree in journalism or a relevant field and gain writing experience while in school. Although not much growth is expected in the industry, potential opportunities may arise for magazine writers due to the shift from print to online media content.

Essential Information

Magazine writers craft articles and feature stories for a variety of print and online publications. They may be employed as staff writers or freelance writers who work on a contract basis. Becoming a writer generally entails earning at least a bachelor's degree in journalism or a related field and experience in the field. Job growth in this field is expected to be slow over the next few years, with the most new opportunities coming in new media formats.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in journalism or other relevant field
Other Requirements Work experience is preferred
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 0% for writers and authors
Mean Salary (2018)* $59,290 for writers and authors in the newspaper, periodical, book and directory publishing industries

Source: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Magazine Writer Career Profile

Magazine writers conduct research and interviews to compose articles for publications. In addition to general writing skills, these professionals need to be proficient in fact checking and proofreading. Entry-level magazine writers may start off completing general assignments. With experience, they could go on to write about more significant topics or specialize in specific subjects. Due to the growth of online media, some magazines prefer writers who are familiar with online journalism and can contribute to the magazine's website.

Career Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, writer and author employment was projected to show little or no change from 2018-2028 (www.bls.gov). Some positions could become available due to the growth of publications with online presence that need writers to produce website content. Jobs at major publications were expected to remain competitive because the industry is expected to shrink. Magazine writers who can adapt to new media formats should experience the greatest opportunities.

Salary Information

In May 2018, the BLS reported an average annual salary of $73,090 for all types of writers and authors, and average salary of $59,290 for writers and authors in the newspaper, periodical, book and directory publishing industries, which would include magazine writers. At that time, the top-paying industry was in the motion picture and video industries, followed by independent artists, writers and performers.

Magazine Writer Educational Requirements

Individuals interested in becoming magazine writers may consider earning bachelor's degrees in journalism or a related major. Some programs offer concentrations or courses in magazine writing. Journalism programs focus on the basic principles of media writing, including editing, composition, theory and ethics. Many schools have campus newspapers that allow students to gain experience investigating and writing feature stories, editorials and columns.

In addition to working for student papers, prospective magazine writers can improve their chances of finding work by completing internships with magazines. These programs familiarize interns with publication policies and allow them to research and write articles under the guidance of experienced magazine writers. Students might also consider pursuing internships in other formats of multimedia journalism. Some degree programs in journalism incorporate internships into their curricula or accept them as course credit.

Magazine writers write and disseminate stories on diverse topics. Although formal education isn't required, a degree in journalism and internship experience at magazine companies are both considered helpful when trying to begin a career in this field. Jobs for writers are projected to grow only slightly through 2028, with online media providing new opportunities.

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