Creative Writing Courses

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What is Creative Writing?

Creative writing is any form of writing that falls outside the traditional professions associated with writing, specifically journalism, technical writing or academic writing. Creative writing is often associated with fiction, poetry or other related forms of writing. Individuals operating in this field will have a strong understanding of various forms of writing, literature, history, and other associated fields.

Top Online Creative Writing Programs

Earning a creative writing degree online may be a formidable choice for students across the country.  Online classes provide students with access to quality curriculum, taught by subject matter experts at accredited institutions.  While studying online, you may elect to enroll in one of the following creative writing programs which will determine how long it takes you to earn a degree in creative writing.

Online Certificate in Creative Writing

The online certificate in creative writing is a short-term program designed to pinpoint a subdiscipline within creative writing or provide students with foundational knowledge in the field of study.  Certificate programs can last from a few weeks to a year and provide students with a platform to continue learning and honing their craft in the writing domain.

Online Creative Writing Associate's Degree

Associate degrees in creative writing are 2-year programs that combine general education courses with writing curriculum.  Degrees at this level are most frequently conferred as an Associate of Arts (AA) as the curriculum is infused with more liberal arts than science.

Online Creative Writing Bachelor’s Degree

Online bachelor’s degrees in creative writing are conferred as a Bachelor’s of Arts (BA) as a 4-year program.  Disciplines within creative writing depend on the breadth of programs offered by the school and can include: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or screenwriting.  Bachelor’s degree programs are the most common degree option in creative writing with associate degrees and certificate programs gaining ground.

Why Earn a Creative Writing Degree Online?

Accredited universities of all types have been rapidly adding distance learning degrees in creative writing.  In an effort to keep up with student demand, accredited programs in writing have been added to provide distinct benefits to students.  The most common reasons creative writing students have migrated to online degrees include the following six reasons.

  • Cost – Net cost associated with earning a creative writing degree is generally less than on-campus equivalent degrees.  The opportunity cost of continuing to work while earning a degree allows students to earn a wage while earning a degree. Next, distance learning can be accomplished from virtually anywhere.  Thus, the need to live on campus can be averted saving considerable expenses of housing, food, transportation, and parking.  Next, accredited programs recognized by the DOE allow students to apply for federal financial aid.  Lastly, talk to the school's admissions team about credits for life experience to further reduce your degree requirements.
  • Access & Flexibility– Students enrolled in an online course have the unique ability to jump online at any time without the traditional restrictions of being in class. With little to no physical limitations, distance from the school and class scheduling is much easier for students and working professionals.   In fact, many online programs start every eight weeks giving you the ability to start on a rolling basis versus waiting through the traditional school year cycle.
  • Accreditation – Enrolling in an online program offered by a regionally or nationally accredited program is critical to your success. Accreditation is earned by colleges and universities by independent, third-party organizations that vet a school’s processes, procedures, and curriculum to ensure quality standards are met from program to program.
  • Quality Curriculum & Instruction – Quality of online degrees are on par with classroom-based degrees based on surveys from graduates across the country. With a published instructional model and organized syllabus, online classes can have the same feel as a traditional degree program integrating a capstone course, thesis, cumulative examination and dissertation according to the program.
  • Pace – Many online degree programs in finance are self-paced in an asynchronous learning environment allowing students to take as many classes as time allows at a given time. Additionally, the notion of a traditional school year is augmented with many classes starting on a rolling basis instead of just once a year.
  • Student Services – Online programs offer students access to dedicated academic advisors and career advisors to help answer questions about your future. Students studying online will have access to substantive student services to help them succeed in school and land a job after graduating by leveraging the school’s career counselors and alumni network.

What Colleges Offer Creative Writing Degrees?

A number of regionally or nationally accredited colleges or universities offer creative writing degree programs and creative writing certificates.  The most important thing to keep in mind is to find the best degree program for you.

Take the time to perform deep research on the programs found on this resource page by simply requesting information from schools that fit you or utilize our proprietary matching system to find the perfect school for you.  Once you have information from a number of top schools, you can narrow down the list to a few programs and submit an application for admissions online.

Remember to stay organized, focus on what is important to you, and seek to learn valuable skills transferrable to the workplace during your course of study.

Educational Requirements in Creative Writing

Though any individual may endeavor to pursue creative writing, there is a variety of programs that encourage and educate one in the methods and processes involved in creative writing. These programs can range from the associate level to high level graduate degrees, with higher level degrees often exploring theoretical and educational aspects of writing, and allowing for employment in colleges and universities.  Newer programs may also focus on a wider area of writing, including television and screenwriting.

A curriculum in creative writing may include a number of the following learning domains:

  • Fiction Writing
  • Introduction to Poetry
  • Comparative Literature
  • Writing for Television
  • Writing for Genres
  • Creative Nonfiction
  • Memoir Writing
  • Screenplay Writing
  • Magazine Writing
  • Writing Mysteries and Thrillers
  • Spirituality
  • The Art of the Sentence
  • History-Based Fiction
  • Young Adult Novel
  • Short Stories

Employment Opportunities for Writers

Individuals with an education or interest in creative writing may pursue employment in a variety of fields. This includes screen and television writing, short or long form fiction, poetry, and other such writing endeavors.

Success in writing may not be immediate as it is a field that requires experience and acknowledgement in order to be successful, and as such many individuals turn to related occupations that utilize the skills earned through creative writing, such as technical writing, advertising, and teaching positions.

What Can You Do with a Creative Writing Degree?

By earning a degree in creative writing, students can set themselves up to work in a number of capacities across various industries.  Creative writers can find themselves working for public institutions, government agencies, private companies, or non-profit organizations in any number of industries.  A list of top job titles you can earn with a creative writing degree include:

  • Advertising copywriter
  • Arts administrator
  • Technical Writer
  • Creative director
  • Reporter
  • Digital copywriter
  • Editorial assistant
  • Blogger
  • Copywriter
  • Lexicographer
  • Public relations specialist
  • Magazine journalist
  • Newspaper journalist
  • Writer

Writers Salary and Job Growth

Salary for writers will depend highly on one's position and can be incredibly low, or incredibly high based on the type of work one finds and pursues.  The median annual income for a creative writer is $61,240 with the top 10% averaging $118,640 a year and the bottom ten percent making $29,380 a year.

Job growth for creative writing is expected to remain steady over the coming decade.  Publishing opportunities for writers today has never been better.  Mediums and applications that support the writing community are abound to provide examples of quality work and inspiration.  Employment opportunities will vary based on the type of work pursued based on work experience, writing prowess, and exposure.

Largest Employers of Creative Writers

1. Advertising and PR Firms 7,000
2. Publishers 4,970
3. Independent Authors 3,640
4. Motion Picture Industry 3,460
5. Technical Consultants 2,370

States with the Highest Employment of Creative Writers

California 8,380
New York 6,790
Texas 2,060
Florida 1,830
Massachusetts 1,580

Top Paying States for Creative Writers

1. District of Columbia $97,970
2. California $95,920
3. New York $83,060
4. Maryland $80,110
5. Colorado $74,660

Resources for Writers

Individuals interested in creative writing may also be interested in general writing, rhetoric & composition, playwriting & screenwriting, communications, or technical & business writing.  Trade associations in writing may be worth the investment of time and money for those serious about creative writing.  Organizations to investigate may include:

  • Novelists Incorporated
  • Writers Relief - NEA
  • American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA)
  • Author's Guild (AG)
  • The National Writers Union (NWU)

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Related Areas of Study

Career Summary: Creative writing Major




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