As a professional writer, your experience is often your most valuable asset. That said, advanced education can keep your skills sharp. If you feel you‘ve hit a wall as a freelance writer, or want to progress in your profession, an advanced degree can benefit your writing career.
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Choosing Your Ideal Degree
Determine your career direction with a few key questions, such as: are you seeking to improve your craft in general? Or will professional knowledge and expertise help you seek and land a specific job you want?
Consider your professional objectives. First, think about the writing projects you’ve done that your clients have applauded. Keep those successes in mind and dig deeper to find the ideal education plan for you, to determine what exactly about them you enjoyed most and excelled the most at. Next, you can uncover your career objectives by answering questions such as: are you interested in highly specialized freelance writing or would you prefer a staff position with growth potential? From there, you can have a better idea of the professional route to take.
For example, an advanced writing degree can help further a strictly writing-focused career path, such as how a graduate degree in journalism is a good foundation for advancement to a position such as a senior editor which includes working on a staff with peers. On the other hand, if you wish to continue in the freelance realm but just sharpen your skills, you might consider workshops, trainings, seminars, and so on, over a spendy graduate degree.
How To Select A Degree That Supports Your Niche
An advanced degree can help you target a particular niche to boost your freelance career. For example, if you excel at writing documents that rely on scientific data, a graduate degree in medical or science writing may be ideal. That’s not your only option, though; advanced education in data analytics, research, or statistics can be helpful as well.
Some degree concentrations cross over into writing, as well, without being specific to writing. Degrees in marketing, strategic communications, and new media, for example, will polish your writing skills while focusing on your niche. Similarly, law, policy, or political science studies are excellent options for writers who want to get involved in the public arena, such as speech or grant writers.
You can also improve your expertise with a graduate certificate. These often take less than half the time of a graduate degree, and you can complete them as stand-alone certificates. Some schools also offer them as a foundation for a master’s degree, which you can complete later. Colleges also offer certificates in the writing disciplines and other relevant topics, such as business communications.
The Benefits of An MBA
As mentioned previously, an MBA is an excellent choice if you want to start a freelance writing business or a similar endeavor. An MBA in entrepreneurship will teach you how to launch, run, and keep a business afloat through tough times. It also provides networking opportunities to help set up and staff your business.
There are also many benefits of an MBA even for those who do not want to launch a business. For one, it can boost your income as a freelancer. The relationships you make can expand your career, helping you to land job opportunities and contract offers. An MBA can also teach you skills such as collaboration, organization, and analytical reasoning that can boost your value in the writing market.
How To Afford Your Degree
Graduate tuition costs can be intimidating, especially if you’re still juggling loan payments from previous schooling like earning an undergraduate degree. But with proper planning and by tapping into resources designed to help make school more affordable, you can still pursue a higher degree in the field you want. Some strategies to afford graduate school include:
- Apply for financial aid to see if you qualify for federal loans, grants, and other programs.
- Look for colleges that offer fellowships, scholarships, and grants that fit your needs.
- Many schools offer graduate assistantship programs to help with tuition.
- Consider taking out a student loan, even if you have bad credit. You may need to take some extra steps, such as finding a cosigner, but there are options available.
As a professional writer, a master’s degree, MBA, or graduate certificate can further your career and your income potential. You will learn expertise and gain connections that can help you land lucrative contracts, professional positions, leadership roles, or even launch your own company. An advanced degree may be well worth the investment to take your writing career to the next level.