You’ve always wanted to supplement your career with a freelance writing business. Or perhaps you’ve always had a great novel idea festering in your head but didn’t know how to get started. You might think you’re not even qualified to be a writer because you respect the profession and the people in it.
Do you need a degree to be a writer?
The short answer: It depends on what kind of writer you want to be.
When you need a degree
Just like needing to go to school to become a primary care physician in Cranford, NJ, you need a degree to become a medical writer for many companies, no matter what the location might be.
While, yes, there are medical writing positions available that don’t require degrees, many companies ask for, at the very least, a bachelor’s degree in the related field. Sometimes a journalism, english, or communications degree will suffice, and somethings an applicant will need a relevant medical or science degree.
Many journalists hold english, journalism, or communications degrees. In fact, to become a journalist, you typically do need a bachelor’s degree because you’re not just a writer but a reporter and investigator as well.
While not every freelance position requires a degree, there are many companies that do require one to work for their publication. However, you don’t have to have a degree to start a freelance writing career because you choose the clients and websites you work for.
In short, the only time you need a writing degree is when the job or company asks for one.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for writers is $61,820 per year, which is why many creatives go down the writing path, even without a degree.
When you don’t need a degree
Believe it or not, there are plenty of successful writers who didn’t study writing. Likewise, there are people who say you can’t go to school to learn writing despite the fact that there are countless writing degrees, even ones beyond the undergraduate level (such as the MFA).
You don’t need a degree in writing to become a novelist, essayist, screenwriter, poet, or many other creative writing professions.
While some publications require their employees to have writing degrees, there are freelance journalists who don’t have them yet still write for those big publications. It is, however, beneficial to have a journalism degree if you want to be a journalist of any kind because there’s skills that journalists need to have and learn.
You don’t need a degree to write your manuscript and secure a traditional book deal. What matters is the words you put on the paper and the story overall, although it doesn’t hurt to have an online presence to prove to publishers that you have a built-in following. Even still, you don’t need a writing degree (or any degree, for that matter) to grow your following.
Finally, many screenwriters, novelists, and poets go to school for MFAs to learn the craft and also increase their chances of getting published. Still, you don’t need a degree to publish in any of those fields.
Not everyone wants to sit in a classroom, especially if they have a full-time job. Luckily, accredited online and continuing education degree programs exist and they provide a great avenue for aspiring writers who want to go back to school. While you don’t need a degree in many cases to become a writer, a degree can help you become an expert in a particular field It can help you learn the craft and also give you validation. If you want a writing degree, then we encourage it, but you don’t need it in many cases to become a professional writer.