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Writer Salary (United States)

Pay for Writers in the United States sits in the ballpark of $45K annually. Including potential bonuses and profit sharing proceeds (more than $5K for each in exceptional cases) overall income bottoms out near $26K and hits $85K on the high end. Career length is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by geography. Over a third of professionals in this line of work do not receive benefits; however, a majority report medical coverage and close to one-half claim dental coverage as well. Job satisfaction for Writers is high. The data for this snapshot was collected from individuals who took PayScale's salary survey.
Writer Salary (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$29,656 - $77,005
(Median)
30K
45K
60K
77K
MEDIAN: $45,051
10%
50%
75%
90%
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Writer Salary (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$10.05 - $50.00
(Median)
10
20
31
50
MEDIAN: $19.00
10%
50%
75%
90%
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National Salary Data

 (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$29K$58K$87K
Salary
$29,656 - $77,005  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $5,043  
Profit Sharing
$197.27 - $5,068  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$25,827 - $84,755  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 3 Sep 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 401
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$20$40$60
Hourly Rate
$10.05 - $50.00  
   
Overtime
$14.29 - $59.12  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Bonus
$0.00 - $5,043  
   
Profit Sharing
$197.27 - $5,068  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$25,827 - $84,755  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 3 Sep 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 189
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Job Description for Writer

Writers are typically responsible for providing written content for companies in the form of articles, blog posts, manuscripts, website text, and other creative content. Writers work under executive or senior editors, as well as with creative directors or producers. They occasionally interact directly with the clients. Writers may also be expected to perform administrative tasks such as taking minutes and writing notes and emails for supervisors. They may also be asked to review content for publication. Writers typically work in an office setting with a small team or write and submit their work from home. For this reason, the working hours for a writer may vary; writers may work full time, part time, or by commission. Likewise, a writer's payment may also vary depending on the amount of traffic the writer is able to generate for the company. Additionally, some writers may have to work without payment at first in order to build a list of references or a competitive resume.
Read More...
Writer Tasks
  • Revise written material to meet personal standards and to satisfy needs of clients, directors, or company.
  • Confer with management to discuss changes or revisions to written material.
  • Create and develop editorial written works, such as newsletters and company magazine articles for external and internal communications.

Common Career Paths for Writer

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It's not very common for Writers to move on to become Senior Copywriters. Typical pay for a Senior Copywriter is $68K annually. A Copywriter role is the most prevalent career advancement for Writers. Paychecks for that role are $42K on average. The Managing Editor position is another common transition for Writers; in this role, salaries are typically at the $51K mark.

Writer Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Writer

Writers report using a pretty varied skill set on the job. Most notably, skills in Blogging, Marketing Communications, Writing Procedures & Documentation, and Editing are correlated to pay that is above average. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include Social Media Marketing and Copywriting. Those proficient in Copywriting are, more often than not, also skilled in Technical Writing.

Pay by Experience Level for Writer

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Experience seems to be a major factor in determining the incomes of Writers. The average worker who claims fewer than five years of experience earns around $37K. In contrast, however, individuals who report five to 10 years in this occupation see a much larger median of $49K. For Writers, 10 to 20 years of experience on the job amounts to an average salary of $56K. Old hands who claim more than two decades on the job enjoy average earnings of $71K. One to nine years of experience is standard for most employees in this area; more than half of respondents fit between this range. Experienced employees who have 10-20 years of experience make up roughly one in five of the workforce; inexperienced individuals who have been working for less than one year comprise less than one-tenth, and senior people with more than 20 years under their belt fill out the remaining close to a seventh.

Pay Difference By Location

Washington
up arrow 36%
Seattle
up arrow 34%
Houston
up arrow 29%
up arrow 22%
Los Angeles
up arrow 16%
Atlanta
up arrow 11%
San Francisco
up arrow 8%
Portland
up arrow 7%
Detroit
up arrow 6%
National Average
$44,000
Dallas
up arrow 1%
Nashville
up arrow 5%
Chicago
up arrow 11%
Austin
up arrow 20%
Boston
up arrow 20%
Orlando
up arrow 20%
Larger circles over a city indicate a job is popular in that location.
For Writers, busy Washington offers a higher-than-average pay rate, 36 percent above the national average. Writers can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Seattle (+34 percent), Houston (+29 percent), New York (+22 percent), and Los Angeles (+16 percent). Writers in Boston take home the lowest salaries, earning a whopping 20 percent less than the national average. Employers also pay below the national average in Austin and Orlando (20 percent lower).

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Experience Affects Writer Salaries

National Average
$44,000

Skills That Affect Writer Salaries

Blogging
up arrow 18%
Marketing Communications
up arrow 4%
Writing Procedures & Documentation
up arrow 2%
Editing
0%
National Average
$44,000
Technical Writing
up arrow 1%
Copywriting
up arrow 4%
Social Media Marketing
up arrow 18%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied Image
Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5 based on 138 votes.

Gender

Female
70%
female alumni
 
Male
30%
male alumni

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
5%
1-4 years
38%
5-9 years
22%
10-19 years
21%
20 years or more
14%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 61% dental benefits Dental: 48%
vision benefits Vision: 34% employee benefits None: 37%