Education Writer: Career and Salary Facts
Research what it takes to become an education writer. Learn about job duties, academic programs that can teach you how to write about the classroom and education system, career options and earnings to find out if this is the career for you.
What Is an Education Writer?
According to the Education Writers Association, education writers are newspaper reporters and freelance writers who focus on topics relating to education (www.eva.org). Education writers can cover the education system at all levels - from preschool to postgraduate. They report on the latest trends in education and issues that impact education stakeholders, including students, teachers, administrators and parents. They may conduct interviews, investigate and make observations to collect, analyze, and report information about the educational system.
The following chart provides more information about this career.
|Education Field of Study||Journalism, education|
|Key Skills||Knowing what's newsworthy, interviewing, writing|
|Licensure/Certification||Required for teaching in public schools|
|Job Growth (2018-28)||-12% (decline) for all reporters and correspondents*; 0% (little to no change) for writers and authors|
|Median Salary (May 2018)||$41,260 for all reporters and correspondents*; $60,250 for writers|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Education Do Education Writers Need?
A variety of academic programs can prepare you for a career as an education writer. If you are interested in becoming a reporter for a news outlet, you might consider completing a 4-year Bachelor of Science in Journalism program. If you want to focus solely on education writing, you might also consider completing a minor in education.
In order to gain first-hand knowledge of what happens inside a classroom and the politics involved in the educational system, it may be beneficial to have a background in teaching. This offers you an opportunity to gain actual classroom experience before starting a career as an education writer. In this instance, you will need to complete a state-approved bachelor's degree in education and earn a teaching license. Having experience as a teacher might help you secure work writing on this subject.
What are the Duties of an Education Writer?
If you decide to work as an education writer, your job will be to follow developing news stories that relate to the school systems in the United States. You might cover the education beat for a small town newspaper or work as a freelance reporter for national newspapers and magazines. You might also report education news through online media, such as Web articles and blogs.
As an education writer, you could report on topics ranging from school funding to a curriculum change. You may also cover school violence, teaching trends, university rankings and government mandates related to education. You will need to be well-versed in the world of academia and keep a pulse on the feelings of a community.
How Can I Find Work in the Field?
There are several ways you might find work as an education writer. Internship opportunities may be available at a local newspaper. You could parlay that experience into a full-time staff reporter job. Once you have proven yourself in the field, you may be given your choice of topics to focus on, such as education. You might also branch out and become a freelance education reporter. In that instance, you will come up with ideas for news stories relating to education and pitch them to various publications.
What Salary Can I Expect to Earn?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not offer data related specifically to the career title of education writers; however, it did report that reporters and correspondents in general held about 43,000 jobs in 2018 and made a median annual salary of about $41,260 (www.bls.gov). More specifically, reporters and correspondents who worked for newspapers, periodical, book and directory publishers earned $35,860 in 2018 and writers who worked in the same industry earned $59,290.
What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?
If you wish to get more involved in the field of education, you might consider a career as a postsecondary teacher. In this job, you would instruct students in a variety of lessons to help them prepare for college and eventually secure a job. You could also work as a writer or author who creates more general and varied content, such as books, newspaper or magazine articles, blogs, advertisements, songs, movie or television scripts, or other types of media. Like education writers, both career choices require a bachelor's degree and good oral and written communication skills.