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EIU Department of English

Career Paths for English Majors: 

Professional Writing

Leeann KirchnerBusinesses, nonprofit agencies, and other employers hire professional writers to write many kinds of materials, destined to communicate with many different audiences and in a wide variety of formats. Professional writers may prepare grant proposals, newsletters, instruction manuals, letters, speeches, slide shows, video scripts or story boards, content for a variety of online platforms, and more.

Some writers specialize in technical areas, including software documentation, medical writing, other science writing, or financial writing. For these writers, developing a good working understanding of the field in which they intend to employ their communication skills is essential.

EIU students interested in professional writing and editing generally select the emphasis in Professional Writing, but they may also combine the emphasis or the minor with a variety of other fields of study, depending on their interests and career goals..


Gracie AnnorenoThe employment outlook: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2014 there were 136,500 jobs in writing and another 52,000 positions as technical writers, with the latter field expected to grow faster than average, about 10%, by 2024. * Although the federal government doesn't yet track social media management (or social media marketing) as a separate career, it's a growing field that can be ideal for professional writing majors. 

Does this sound like you?
Professional communicators usually enjoy both written and spoken communication. They like the challenge of figuring out the best ways to present information for specific readers, listeners, or viewers. They also usually are naturally curious people, who enjoy learning about many different subjects. Many professional writers must work closely with other employees as well as members of the public in order to do their jobs well—so they aren’t necessarily sitting at a computer all day. On the other hand, professional writers do generally enjoy the writing process.














*All data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics cited on this page come from the Occupational Outlook Handbook, which is available and searchable online.

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Contact Information

Department of English

600 Lincoln Ave.
Charleston, IL 61920
(217) 581-2428
Fax: (217) 581-7209

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