Writer Salary (United States)

Writers in the United States pull down an average of $44,171 annually. Compensation ranges from $25,827 on the low end to $84,755 per year on the high end. Overall cash allowance, which can include more than $5,043 from bonuses and close to $5,068 from profit sharing—generally runs from $29,656 to $77,005. Career duration and geography each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. While some workers in this profession—about a third—do not have any health coverage, a majority do receive medical benefits and about half have dental insurance. Most Writers like their work and job satisfaction is high. Replies to PayScale's salary questionnaire form the basis for this summary.
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  
PayScale
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  
PayScale
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 3 Sep 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 189
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Location:
United States (change)
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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.
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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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Writers who assume a position such as a Senior Copywriter—while uncommon—may get paid an extra $24K per year. The most common career progression for Writers leads to becoming a Copywriter, which actually results in a pay cut of $1,897. However, many Writers also opt to become a Managing Editor, a move that typically includes a raise of $6,412.

Writer Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Writer

Survey results imply that Writers put a diverse skill set to use. Blogging and Marketing Communications are considered valuable skills and can increase employee pay by 18 percent and 4 percent respectively. Skills that pay less than market rate include Social Media Marketing and Copywriting. For most people, competency in Copywriting indicates knowledge of Technical Writing.

Pay by Experience Level for Writer

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Experience is important when determining pay for Writers. At career start, salaries are typically $37K, which grows to $49K after five to 10 years. Those with one to two decades of experience under their belt tend to see salaries around $56K. After spending 20 years in the field, salary continues to increase for Writers and pay is expected at $71K. Experienced employees who have 10-20 years of experience make up 21 percent of the workforce; inexperienced individuals who have been working for less than one year comprise 5 percent, and senior people with more than 20 years under their belt fill out the remaining 14 percent. More than half of respondents report having between one and nine years of experience in this field.

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.
Home to some of the best pay for Writers, Washington offers exceptional salaries, 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). The lowest-paying market is Boston, which sits 20 percent below the national average, proving that location is a significant contributor to overall pay. Employers pay around -20 percent in Austin and -20 percent in Orlando, below-median salaries for those in this field.

Related Job Salaries

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%
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