Grant Writer: Career and Salary Facts

Explore the career requirements for grant writers. Get the facts about career outlook, salary and degree requirements to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering English Reading & Writing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Grant Writer?

Grant writers are professional fundraisers who help secure resources from businesses or government agencies. As a grant writer, you are in charge of seeking out funding sources and penning proposals on behalf of a corporation, nonprofit organization or government agency. Once the public or private grant has been submitted, you may oversee the grant's negotiation and budgeting stage.

If you pursue a career in this field, no matter the industry, you will need to be willing and able to work in a deadline-driven environment. You must also have good multi-tasking abilities, not to mention solid writing and research skills. You can learn more about what education you may need, as well as what salary to expect as a grant writer. This information is provided in the table below.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Technical writing, English
Key Skills Writing, attention to detail, research, communication
Job Growth (2014-2024) 2% (for all writers and authors)*
Median Salary (2016) $45,238 (for all grant writers)**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

What Does a Grant Writer Do?

Any grant writer has two major jobs: to research prospective funding opportunities and to create funding proposals. First, grant writers identify grants that an organization has a reasonable expectation of obtaining. This often involves extensive searching of databases, websites or known contacts. Grant writers must also keep track of funding schedules and deadlines, as many grant-making institutions only accept applications at certain times of the year.

Once an appropriate grant has been identified, the grant writer creates or collects all the necessary application components. This might include describing the past projects and future goals of the organization, convincing the funder of the organization's ability to use funds well or creating a grant budget. Some grant writers have other duties as well, including reporting on on-going projects or developing relationships with donors.

What Education Do I Need?

For most jobs, applicants will need a bachelor's degree. You'll also need strong communication skills in order to generate effective grant proposals. These skills are often learned through English, technical writing or professional writing bachelor's degree programs. These programs can prepare you to write clearly and efficiently. You can also develop business contacts through internships. Coursework may include topics in technical grammar, editing, rhetoric and ethics.

You may also be able to find grant writing certificate programs. You'll get hands-on experience by locating funds, reviewing proposals and developing budgets for a sample grant.

However, some employers prefer applicants with a master's degree, according to CareerBuilder.com postings. Graduate English or technical writing programs are available. Coursework emphasizes research, writing, documentation and document design.

What About Experience?

Employers request that grant writers have 1-5 years of grant-writing experience. Others may specify an area of expertise. For example, medical grant writer positions may require applicants to understand how the medical industry works or be familiar with medical terminology, according to a February 2011 search of job postings on Monster.com.

What Could I Earn?

Compensation for grant writers may vary based upon location, experience level and assignment length. Some employers may pay on a contract or project basis rather than an annual salary. According to October 2016 information provided by PayScale.com, the median annual salary for grant writers was $45,238.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you have strong writing and organizational skills, and are willing to earn at least a bachelor's degree, you could pursue a career as an editor. Editors typically plan, revise and approve content for publishing companies. Fundraising management could be another career field to consider. These professionals manage campaigns designed to bring in money for the organization they work for. This could include grant writing, but often involves many different types of fundraising initiatives.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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