If you aspire to become a professional writer after college, you might pursue any number of specific career paths. Writers are needed across many sectors and industries, and in an array of various disciplines. With all the possibilities for professional writing careers — from science to entertainment — you should find a niche that’s right for you. Explore some of the top professional writing jobs in this guide and begin planning your college education.
In This Article:
Top 7 Jobs for Writers
Although there are many writing jobs out there, it’s best to begin your career after college with tempered expectations. A degree in professional writing can equip you with the foundational tools of the trade, but you’ll also need on-the-job experience. Expect to work in an entry-level position before pursuing one of the more lucrative professional writing jobs.
As the job title suggests, speechwriters are responsible for writing speeches. They must match the style and tone of their client, who may be a politician, celebrity, head of a professional organization or business executive. The goal of writing a speech is not only to convey information, but also to inspire through messages that resonate with the target audience.
Some speechwriters work on a freelance basis, while others land full-time jobs with various types of organizations. Another possibility is to become a public relations (PR) specialist or communications specialist for an organization. In addition to writing speeches, PR professionals also handle other related tasks for their employers or clients.
2. Medical Writer
Are you a writer with a love of science? If so, then medical writing might be right for you. Medical writers are needed for translating complex clinical documents and scientific information into content that is easy for the audience to understand. As a medical writer, you may conduct research, write research papers and write training materials as well as clinical documents. Medical writers may produce:
- Advisory board summaries
- Abstracts for medical journals
- Regulatory documents, such as FDA submissions
- White papers
- Slide presentations for medical conferences
- Healthcare policy documents
Although some medical writers produce patient-facing materials, others are responsible for writing highly technical work that requires an in-depth understanding of the related scientific principles and processes. In this field, there are some writing jobs for writers with a bachelor’s degree in professional writing. However, many medical writers hold postgraduate medical or scientific degrees, such as a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD).1
3. Technical Writer
You know those user manuals you get when you buy a new phone, or the assembly instructions that come with toys you have to put together? The professionals who create those materials are technical writers.
If you have the magic touch with technology and like to write about it, this may be the field for you. Technical writers need to have knowledge of technical topics like computer hardware, software, engineering and similar niches.
4. Proposal Writer
Proposal writers play a key role in the success of the companies they work for. They write proposals that are intended to win valuable contracts for their employer. If you’re interested in becoming a proposal writer, you should become adept at research and information analysis, and you will also need a solid understanding of core business concepts. Proposal writing in a nonprofit capacity is also common and may be related to other careers in development or sales.
Copywriters create marketing materials intended to drive sales and enhance brand awareness. These marketing materials include website copy, blogs, ebooks, company brochures, flyers, advertisements and emails.. While many copywriters work for marketing agencies or in-house marketing departments, others work on a freelance basis.
Effective copywriters often must be able to rapidly shift between different tones and styles to fit the expectations of any given client. Some clients prefer marketing copy that is aimed primarily at educating their audience, whereas others prefer entertaining copy that is intended to grab and hold their audience’s attention. In addition to being creative and adaptable, copywriters must also possess excellent research skills and an in-depth knowledge of grammar.
Are you a grammar nerd who can spot an error a mile away? If so, proofreading may be the job for you. A proofreader ensures that a piece of writing is grammatically correct before it is presented to the intended audience. You won’t be rearranging the overall structure of a piece (that’s an editor’s job); instead, you will be making sure that the writing follows grammar rules and style guidelines.
There are many different types of editors, including copy editors, managing editors, news editors and acquisition editors. Although they all have their own specific job descriptions, some editor’s work will involve managing a team of writers and assigning pieces based on the publication’s overall focus and current editorial calendar.
News editors work with writers to develop the “angle” for a piece. They review content submissions, request revisions as needed and make corrections. Some editors perform fact-checking, while others delegate that task to specialist fact-checkers.
These professional writing careers require not only strong writing ability, but also organizational and communication skills. Some editing roles (such as managing editor) generally require years of work experience, whereas others (such as assistant editor) may be entry-level roles.
5 Industries That Offer Professional Writing Careers
While you’re considering the specific types of professional writing jobs, you should also start thinking about the various industries that you might specialize in. Here are a few possibilities.
Tourism is a large industry. It relies on people having enough information about a place to perceive it as an appealing vacation spot. Travel writers help build up the image of a location.
Professional writers can get started in this industry by pitching articles about their own travels. Adventure writing is a subset of travel writing, as is food and wine writing. In addition to travel magazines, professional writers may work with chambers of commerce, hotels and tourist attractions.
2. Real Estate
Real estate is an industry that is always changing. Trends in home-buying impact houses on the market and how agents list properties. Writers who specialize in real estate are tasked with many different types of materials. For example, they may do web copywriting for real estate websites.
Real estate writers may also be tasked with writing ebooks, neighborhood guides and marketing materials for home-buying kits. They may also write content for presentations and open-house materials. Writers who specialize in real estate can write for agents, brokers, lenders, escrow offices and even attorneys.
3. Sports and Gaming
While most sports teams have official websites, and leagues usually have agreements with certain publishers for books, there are many general sports sites and fan sites looking for writers. Professional sports writers can get their start by attending events and writing coverage for their local papers. Once they have developed a solid portfolio, they can pitch to larger sites.
The gaming industry is huge and continues to grow. Gaming writers are tasked with writing about gaming conventions and events, as well as composing hint guides and ebooks. If you are an expert in a specific game, start writing about your experiences.
Healthcare writing is another specialized field. Many people who go into healthcare writing are former healthcare professionals, such as nurses or physical therapists. However, that is not always the case.
Healthcare writers may write about trends in healthcare or healthcare news. They may also contribute to ebooks and online courses. Doctor’s offices and medical facilities may hire writers to put together patient-facing materials such as fact sheets and brochures.
5. General Business
As busy people, CEOs and other executives may find it difficult to develop their thought leadership platforms or even compose basic company communications. Such executives may hire business writers to pick up the tasks as ghostwriters.
Such ghostwriters in business must adopt individual executives’ unique tones and perspectives when composing communications materials for them. In other words, they may write articles, emails, speeches and books using the “voice” of the executive they work for. People with a passion for business and for working closely with just one or two people are more likely to be great business writers.
Grand Canyon University offers a range of language and communication degrees to students who aspire to become professional writers, editors and similar professionals. The Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing for New Media degree program offers a comprehensive curriculum geared toward the modern media landscape. Complete the form on this page to learn more about joining our supportive learning community.
1 American Medical Writers Association. Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Medical Writer. Retrieved on July 10, 2023.
Approved by the assistant dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences on Sept. 11, 2023.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.