What to expect from a career as a professional Writer

Many of us enjoy or have a passion for writing but don’t realize that it’s possible to make a career from our talents. Communication careers are booming and writers are needed for a variety of mediums from the web to advertising to television and more. Writing programs at Ontario colleges can help students polish their writing techniques and learn new forms and methods of writing that can help them in any number of careers in the industry.

If you’ve got a passion for the written word and want to develop your writing skills as part of your career path, here’s what you need to know.

Writing Courses

There are many different writing programs offered by Ontario’s colleges, so course material will vary depending on the program you choose. Examples include:

  • Creative Writing. Whether you’re an aspiring novelist, poet or essayist, specializing in fiction or non-fiction, creative writing programs are for you. Courses on narrative style and plot and character development can help you find your own voice and style, while courses on freelance writing, editing and the business skills all writers need can help you get your work published.
  • Technical Writing. Technical writing is very different than creative writing, requiring strong analytic skills and the ability to convey visual and technical information clearly and concisely through the written word. Students will learn to design technical documents and produce online documentation, while also learning fundamental writing and editing techniques.
  • Copywriting. Copywriting is another form of creative writing, but one that has a direct goal – advertising and selling. Copywriters must learn to convey a message with their words that inspires desired behavior. Often, copywriters will work closely with graphic designers, and therefore must learn layout and basic design skills for their content.
  • Scriptwriting. Scriptwriting programs will give students the writing skills they need to work in television, theatre, film, new media and a variety of other venues. Students will learn to visualize the end result of their work and will learn the business end of writing, from marketing and promotion to copyright laws and grant application.

General Writing Program Requirements

Ontario college writing programs are often offered as graduate certificate programs, which means completion of a degree or diploma program in a related field is generally required. For diploma programs, an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent is required, which includes a grade 12 English credit.

In both types of programs, a writing sample may also be required.

Writing Jobs and Salaries

Jobs in the writing field can take you nearly anywhere, from marketing departments to television and broadcasting studios to manufacturer and corporate headquarters. Many writers also work independently, as freelance writers or in attempts to have themselves published.

Because of the broad range of job opportunities, salaries are difficult to predict. Technical writers, freelance writers and copywriters can expect starting salaries anywhere from $30,000 to $55,000 per year, depending on the position and their level of experience. For novelists, salary can only be dictated by the success of their book sales and their contract with a publisher.

Ontario Colleges Offering Writing Programs

Use the left-column navigation to refine your search by College, Program Availability, Program Start Date and more, or see the table below for a complete list of writing programs at Ontario colleges.

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