Writer / Editor Training and Qualifications
A college degree generally is required for a position as an author, writer,
or editor. Good facility with computers and communications equipment is
necessary in order to stay in touch with sources, editors, and other writers
while working on assignments, whether from home, an office, or while traveling.
Education and training. A bachelor's
degree or higher is typically needed for a job as an author, writer, or editor.
Because writing skills are essential in this occupation, many employers like to
hire people with degrees in communications, journalism, or English, but those
with other backgrounds and who can demonstrate good writing skills may also find
jobs as writers. Writers who want to focus on writing about a particular topic
may need formal training or experience related to that topic. For example,
textbook writers and fashion editors may need expertise in their subject areas
that they acquired either through formal academic training or work experience.
The Internet and other media allow some people to gain writing experience
through blog posts, text messages, or self-publishing software. Some of this
writing may lead to paid assignments based upon the quality of the writing,
unique perspective, or the size of the potential audience, without regard to the
absence of a degree.
Training and experience for author, writer, and editor jobs can be obtained
by working on high school and college newspapers, community newspapers, and
radio and television stations and submissions to literary magazines. College
theater and music programs offer playwrights and songwriters an opportunity for
them to have their work performed. Many magazines, newspapers, and broadcast
stations also have internships for students. Interns may write stories, conduct
research and interviews, and learn about the publishing or broadcasting
Other qualifications. Authors, writers and
editors must be able to express ideas clearly and logically and should enjoy
writing. Creativity, curiosity, a broad range of knowledge, self-motivation, and
perseverance are also valuable. Authors, writers, and editors must demonstrate
good judgment and a strong sense of ethics in deciding what material to publish.
In addition, the ability to concentrate and to work under pressure is essential.
Editors also need tact and the ability to guide and encourage others in their
Familiarity with electronic publishing, graphics, Web design, and multimedia
production increasingly is needed. Use of electronic and wireless communications
equipment to send e-mail, transmit work, and review copy often is necessary.
Online publications require knowledge of computer software and editing tools
used to combine text with graphics, audio, video, and animation.
Advancement. Writers and authors generally
advance by building a reputation, taking on more complex writing assignments,
and getting published in more prestigious markets and publications. Examples of
previously published work form the best route to advancement. Establishing a
track record for meeting deadlines also makes it easier to get future
assignments. Writing for smaller businesses, local newspapers, advertising
agencies, or not-for-profit organizations either as a staff writer or on a
freelance basis, allows beginning writers and authors to begin writing right
away and take credit for their work. Opportunities for advancement within these
organizations may be limited, because they either do not have enough regular
work or do not need more advanced writing.
In larger businesses, jobs and promotions usually are more formally
structured. Beginners often read submissions, do research, fact check articles,
or copy edit drafts, and advance to writing and editing more substantive stories
Most editors begin work as writers. Those who are particularly adept at
identifying stories, recognizing writing talent, and interacting with writers,
may be interested in editing jobs. Except for copy editors, most editors hold
management positions and must also enjoy making decisions related to running a
business. For them, advancement generally means moving up the corporate ladder
or to publications with larger circulation or greater prestige. Copy editors may
move into original writing or substantive editing positions or become
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor,
Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition
Find related resources below:
Writer / Editor Income
Writer / Editor Job Outlook
Writer / Editor Training and Qualifications