Writing Career Options that Pay Well
Individuals looking to pursue a career using their writing skills have several good-paying jobs from which to choose. The careers presented here have median annual salaries that greatly exceed the median salary of all occupations, which the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics determined to be $37,040 in 2016. We'll explore careers in fields ranging from the technical to the creative.
|Job Title||Median Salary (2016)*||Job Growth (2016-2026)*|
|Grant Writers||$46,393 (2017)*||8% (for all writers & authors)|
|Poets, Lyricists & Creative Writers||$61,240 (for all writers & authors)||8% (for all writers & authors)|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale
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Career Information for Writing Jobs that Pay Well
Many technical writers work for engineering, technology and computer companies writing user manuals, instructional materials and how-to guides for a variety of technical and complex products. Some also write about technical matters for firms' various communication channels, such as websites, internal networks, newsletters, brochures, blogs and social media. Technical writers typically need to earn a bachelor's degree, usually in English or communications. Some employers may prefer candidates with backgrounds related to a specific field. In addition to strong writing skills, technical writers also need to be able to translate field-specific jargon into easily understood laymen's terms.
If you enjoy proofreading and editing copy to produce clean, concise text that captures the reader's attention and conveys its message clearly, consider a career as an editor. Editors work for publishers, magazines, authors, companies, newspapers, broadcasters and online, coordinating, planning, revising and reviewing written content for publication. To become an editor, you need a bachelor's degree in English, communications, publishing or journalism and excellent attention to detail. This is a great-paying career for someone who loves writing and improving the quality of written communications.
Writers who love research, travel and digging deep into the past might find the work of a historian an ideal fit. Historians conduct research using primary and secondary sources. They'll interpret or re-interpret the past by analyzing historical data. Historians often use their findings to educate others by writing papers, articles, online content and books. To become a historian, you need at least a master's degree; though many research positions require a doctorate.
Grant writers often work for nonprofit organizations or charities. Their tasks typically include researching funding sources for foundations, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies. Grant writers will research and write funding proposals, usually for specific projects or programs, and develop budgets and plans for how the organizations will spend the money. To become a grant writer, you need a bachelor's degree and excellent research and writing skills. Those wishing to work in a specific field, such as cancer research, might be required to have some previous employment experience or education in the field. As most nonprofit organizations have numerous concurrent fundraising efforts, grant writers need strong organizational skills.
Poets, Lyricists & Creative Writers
Poets, lyricists and other creative writers compose verse, song lyrics, scripts, biographies, short stories, novellas, essays and novels either for publication or performances. They will also edit and revise their work. Some may give public readings, lectures or talks. Though not always required, a bachelor's degree is a common prerequisite to employment. Becoming a poet, lyricist or creative writer requires a great deal of practice and on-the-job training. Even though many people in these fields must work at other jobs to support themselves, some make a very good living in these creative professions.