Turning Your Written Words Into A Career: Writing Degree

Do you have a passion for words, excel in both written and spoken English, and would like to turn these skills into a career? With a writing degree you can not only hone your skills, but also learn what it takes to work in this exciting industry. There are a lot of different types of writing degrees that you can pursue, depending on your interests and what type of work you would like to do after studying. These range from general writing majors to technical writing, professional writing, business writing, creative writing and even journalism. No matter which one you choose, they can all be invaluable for anyone who would like to make a career out of wordsmithing.

Writing Degree Information

Many undergraduate writing programs fall under the rubric of another subject, generally English literature, although some may offer a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. At the master's and doctoral levels, there are fine arts degrees that focus specifically on writing.

Study Options

Students who are not ready to pursue a bachelor's degree will find that there are junior college programs that offer an Associate of Arts in Creative Writing. This degree can also be earned online. For undergraduates, they may earn a Bachelor of Arts in English or English literature with a creative writing concentration. Other universities or colleges may offer a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Writing or Creative Writing. Students can move on to an M.F.A. in Journalism, Creative Writing, Technical Writing or Professional Writing. Doctoral degrees in writing are also possible.

Advanced Degrees

Students who intend to pursue a career in creative writing do not need a master's degree, but they may find one useful for honing their writing skills and getting needed feedback and criticism from professors and peers. Those who intend to teach creative writing will benefit from a graduate degree, but will also need publication credits. Those looking for work in fields like journalism or technical writing will usually need a graduate degree for the job they want.

Master Of Fine Arts In Creative Writing

Students pursuing an MFA in creative writing will read the authors of classic literature to learn their styles and how one can emulate them. They will write extensively and receive feedback in lectures and peer review sessions. While no one can teach talent, the MFA in creative writing provides the student with the skills he or she needs to make use of his or her natural gifts.

Master of Arts or Master of Fine Arts in Professional or Technical Writing

B.A.s or B.F.A.s in writing may find that pursuing an M.A. or M.F.A. in professional or technical writing is a more practical approach. These degrees teach the finer points of grant writing, writing white papers, writing press releases and other types of writing that major corporations value. Writers with this degree can go on to careers in advertising, authoring of technical manuals and fund-raising for major charities.

Choosing A Degree

Writing can be a tricky major choice for many students. Students without writing talent may be frustrated by the discipline, while those with writing talent may feel that they do not need instruction. However, both types of students can benefit from writing courses, and all students can certainly learn to be better writers through college-level writing instruction. Those who really feel that their future career is in the writing arena should definitely pursue a writing, English or journalism degree.

Career Opportunities

There are many fields that require writers, however some of them find a large number of people competing for a small number of positions. Screenwriters, novelists and other creative writing positions may be scarce, as is the case with positions such as newspaper or television reporter. Technical writing and copy-writing jobs tend to be more plentiful and provide the writer with a better chance at securing gainful employment.

Getting Your Degree Online

A writing degree is a great choice for continuing education students getting back into the academic world and a great choice for an online degree. Writing and reading assignments can be done on the student's own time and professors can be contacted remotely with questions. This allows students to complete the degree at their own pace and according to their own schedule, and the writing degree may even be completed considerably sooner than the comparable offline degree. Those pursuing online writer's degrees should take the time to research the online program to make sure it is accredited and the best fit for that particular student.

Getting Your Degree Offline

At a traditional liberal arts college or university, students can matriculate with a major in English or English literature with a concentration in creative writing. There may also be a B.F.A in creative writing available. At the graduate level, they can pursue master's degrees in fields like English, journalism or technical writing. Attending a top traditional university is an opportunity many students, especially those fresh out of high school, do not wish to pass up. In addition to getting a quality education, students pursuing writing degrees at a brick-and-mortar university can make friends and connections that will stay with them throughout their entire writing career.

Writing Degree FAQs

What Can I Do with an Online Journalism Degree?

There are numerous career paths open to students entering the workforce with an online writing or journalism degree. The classic profession associated with the degree is novelist or book writer.

However, the majority of writing graduates enter the corporate world as copywriters and technical writers. Others become journalists for newspapers and magazines. Additional career options include teacher, professor and screenwriter.

What Topics of Study Are Covered in an Online Journalism Degree Program?

As expected, written projects comprise a major portion of any online writing degree program. A healthy amount of reading is also required, with classes such as American literature, world literature and classical literature often required. Some classes may offer business-related classes for students interested in an office writing job. Research practices and grammar are also common classes.

What Are the Benefits of Earning a Journalism Degree?

An online journalism degree is a great option for students seeking a flexible program structure. Most online degrees require no specific class times and can be completed without interrupting career and job duties.

As writing is traditionally a solitary endeavor, a distance writing degree does not limit the learning experience for most students. To facilitate class discussions, most degree programs encourage communication through online bulletin boards and other measures.

How Much Can I Potentially Earn As A Writer?

There are numerous ways to earn income as a writer and they all have different pay scales. For example, when working as a freelance writer your income will depend on how many hours you spend working or the rate you charge for assignments. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for those working as writers and authors in 2015 was about $60,250. Of course, those in the highest 10 percent earned considerably more at about $114,530. Technical writers earned between $41,610 and $112,220 in 2015, while

Online Writing & Journalism Degree Programs

Online degrees in journalism can be earned at the associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral level. Within each degree level, several online degree specializations are available.

For example, individuals may wish to begin their academic careers by earning an Associate of Arts in Creative Writing. Bachelor level programs include a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Writing and Bachelor of Arts in English.

Graduate level degree programs allow students to specialize in a chosen field. A Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Journalism, Creative Writing and Technical Writing are a few of the available online writing degree programs.

Who Is An Ideal Candidate To Study For This Degree?

One of the most important qualities for writers in the modern age is adaptability. No matter what type of writing you end up doing, it usually requires the use of software platforms and programs, such as content management systems, which must be learned. Writers who aspire to write books, scripts or other forms of fiction will benefit immensely from having a lot of creativity as well as critical-thinking skills. Due to the length and nature of some writing projects a lot of determination is needed. Social perceptiveness is another good skill to have if you want to connect with your audience as a writer and persuasiveness is handy for writers who want to pursue freelancing careres where they will have to market themselves. Research skills are also a must as is the ability to take complicated topics and write about them in a manner that is understandable to readers.

Writing & Journalism Student Guide

A career in writing can mean many things. A professional writer can be a novelist, a journalist, a traditional advertising copywriter or a hip, modern SEO copywriter. Professional writers can be technical writers, reworking complex jargon into easily digestible pieces for employees, screenwriters, using their skills in the entertainment industry or even editors, making sure other writers produce crisp, readable work.

Books On Writing

The best way to improve ones writing is to read every book one can get his or her hands on. When learning the discipline of writing, a very important book to have on the shelf is The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White. This instructive text on proper writing style is considered invaluable to many writers today. Those planning a career in journalism or most other kinds of professional writing will also want a copy of The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law by Norm Goldstein, one of the accepted standards on proper grammar, punctuation and sentence structure.

Online Literary Journals And Magazines

The journals that will be most helpful for effective writing are literary journals and magazines. These journals and magazines do not necessarily provide tips on writing, but they contain examples of quality writing and students can analyze this writing and use the principles they observe in their own work. Some popular literary journals and magazines include the American Literary Review, the American Poetry Review, Brick, The Writers Chronicle, Poets and Writers, The Colorado Review, Creative Nonfiction and Fiction International.

Other Writing Research Tools

A resource that those studying writing will want to look into is the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (Awpwriter.org). This site helps interested students identify the best writing programs, has links to writing centers and conferences and links to writing contests and careers among its many features for writers.

Related Sections

More Schools and Programs