Online Professional Writing Certificate Program Overviews

Dec 03, 2019

Research online professional writing courses and programs. Get an overview of program requirements, course descriptions and continuing ed options to help you make an informed decision.

Essential Information

Online certificate programs in professional writing are easy to find at the graduate level. Anyone with at least a bachelor's degree may enroll, but the programs are mainly for professionals working outside of the writing field. Students learn how to create effective and polished documents in the workplace.

Professional writing programs are delivered entirely online as well as through hybrid arrangements. Most all of them require only one or two semesters to complete. Programs require the use of course management systems, such as Blackboard.

Certificate Program Information and Requirements

Students participate via interactive online course management systems, such as Blackboard. Some programs require additional specialized software for watching videos. As such, a computer with Internet access is essential.

On top of that, hybrid programs may expect students to fulfill internships. These are usually arranged at businesses within the student's local area.

Common Courses

Online certificate programs in professional writing may span 12-18 credit hours of study, all of which is earned via only writing-related courses. Subject matter includes topics such as: technical writing; magazine writing; editing; rhetoric; public relations; and more. A sampling of courses is listed below.

Technical Writing

Technical writing courses teach students how to effectively communicate complex or specialized information in a manner that is easier for readers or listeners to understand. Coursework may call for drafting documents like business proposals, white papers and user's manuals.

Professional Editing

This course covers the basics of spelling, grammar and punctuation. Students practice revising professional documents in both electronic and print forms.

Grant Writing

Students learn how to write a grant proposal for fundraising purposes based on an assessment of a company's needs. Hybrid programs may have students complete this assignment for a local non-profit organization. The hands-on experience affords the student a more thorough understanding of the grant proposal writing process.

Creative Writing

Students learn how fiction-writing techniques can enhance non-fiction prose without sacrificing factual basis.

Writing for Law

Legal research and writing courses teach students how to create legal documents and case briefs. Coursework may include segments on both predictive writing and persuasive writing.

Writing for the Web and New Media

This course teaches students how to write effective electronic media content. Lessons cover web copywriting guidelines; web page formatting; and search-engine optimization techniques.


Career Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), technical writers earned a median salary of $71,850 in May 2018. And, the future looks bright for them. Jobs for technical writers were predicted to grow 8% between 2018-2028, reported the BLS.

Of course, most program graduates are non-professional writers seeking success in other fields by improving their written communication skills. As such, one may assume that job and salary prospects vary according to the opportunities available in any given field.

Continuing Education

An online professional writing certificate may be useful for individuals who want to continue their education by earning a master's degree in writing or English, since students could transfer some or all of their certificate credit hours. Additionally, students interested in master's or doctoral degree programs in other fields may also find that the certificate program enhances their educational goals as well. For example, aspiring lawyers might earn the certificate between their baccalaureate and Juris Doctor (J.D.) in order to improve their ability to write legal documents.

Certificate programs in professional writing are readily available online to train students in areas like grant, law or web writing. Graduates may find employment as technical writers, and could potentially seek a graduate degree in the field.

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