Writing Career

The written word is a powerful force that finds a place in every sector of the job market, including employment opportunities associated with ministry services, religious education, and faith-based literary agencies. Plenty of companies and businesses are in need of wordsmiths to provide offline and online content. With over 60% of writers and authors following the self-employment route, having a college degree under his or her belt enhances an individual’s authority, knowledge and experience related to the field, as well as increases the chances of getting hired for higher-paying writing projects and onsite staff positions.

Job Activities & Responsibilities

Faith-based writers and authors create content for a variety of media outlets, such as books, magazines, broadcasts and blogs. Some write scripts for movies and TV shows, while others pen plays and musicals. Other areas of writing that may incorporate religious themes and messages include grant-writing, commentary, and advertisements.

Since the overall field is shaped by a wide-range of professionals, which includes copywriters, bloggers, novelists, biographers, screenwriters and speechwriters, the day-to-day activities of a faith-based writer varies, but may include the following:

• Providing readers with engaging content on a specific subject matter
• Working with editors and clients to create acceptable material
• Contributing fresh content to a particular genre, such as religious fiction to biographies
• Conducting research to include authentic descriptions and facts
• Submitting copy that stays in line with a specific denomination or belief system for religious-centered publications


The minimum educational requirement to qualify for a writing job is a high school degree or its equivalent, but depending on the employer, job candidates are often expected to have completed some college-level courses. It is not uncommon for self-employed, freelance and contract writers to find employment with a publication or company without having an undergraduate education. This is a career field that often weighs writing skill and raw talent over collegiate studies.

Although an associate’s degree equips a student with a solid foundation and educational background for entering the field, most employers (like news outlets and large, non-profit organizations) typically prefer to hire writers that hold at least a bachelor’s degree.

Writing skills play a significant role in this field, and employers tend to seek candidates that have a degree in journalism, communications, liberal arts, or English. These degree programs generally incorporate coursework in English, reading, grammar, composition, and writing electives that are important for aspiring authors to take. Applicants who have taken electives in theology, divinity and religious studies tend to stand out when applying for a position with a faith-based publication.

Step by Step: How to Become a Christian Writer

1. Research and apply to a college. A high school degree or its equivalent is the minimum educational requirement needed to qualify for a wide range of writing jobs. However, when hired to work for a company, newspaper, publishing agency or other organization, full-time writers are expected to hold at least a bachelor’s degree. Some schools offer specialized degree programs for aspiring faith-based writers, such as Belhaven University, which is the only Christian college in the U.S. that lets students earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing degree.

2. Complete an associate or undergraduate degree program. Aspiring faith-based writers generally pursue an undergraduate degree in liberal arts, English, journalism or communication, with a minor or concentration in theology or religious studies. Some concentrate their studies in an area of writing, such as playwriting, fiction writing, technical writing, marketing, secular literature, or new media. While in college, take courses in preparation for crafting professional content, such as those that improve grammar, as well as enhance proofreading and editorial skills. A background in research is also a plus, and in some cases, a requirement to qualify for certain job positions.

3. Pursue an internship. Students who complete an internship or mentorship gain valuable experience and learn hands-on lessons beyond classroom instruction. Shadow a local Christian newspaper reporter. Spend a week with an editor for a small monthly religious magazine. Dedicate a summer to working with a local publishing company. Sometimes, an internship is a requirement for completing a degree program. Nonprofit religious organizations, advertising agencies, and small businesses also provide excellent opportunities to sharpen writing skills.

4. Fine-tune writing skills and gain experience. Writers generally gain experience by constantly tweaking their writing style and personal voice. This may include maintaining a blog after college, attending writing workshops, or submitting work to writing competitions. A writer continues to sharpen his or her skills throughout their life, and it is not uncommon for graduates to gain adequate experience through on-the-job training, like the newspaper journalist that finds their voice by covering a particular beat for many years.

5. Build a reputation. Writers and authors are able to advance through the ranks by cultivating a reputation in the industry. Become a prolific writer. Submit short stories, poetry, guest posts and novels to numerous publications on a regular basis. Get as many people as possible to read your work. A writer that wins awards and receives recognition for their creativity also impresses potential employers and publishers. Becoming an authority in a particular subject or holding a religious distinction, such as minister or theology professor are also desirable attributes to have.

6. Network and join an association. To increase job opportunities and network with like-minded professionals, joining a writing-themed organization or association is recommended. Some groups are national (like American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), while others are more localized, such as the Northwest Christian Writers Association (NCWA) or Oregon Christian Writers.

Career Salary, Outlook & Growth

Faith-based writers and authors are hired to pen books and contribute to both online and offline publications, such as newspapers, magazines and journals. In 2017, the median salary paid to writers was $61,820, with the highest-paying states offering between $75,410 (Alaska) and $96,120 (California). One of the leading industries to hire writers is religious-, grant making-, civic- and professional organizations, which pay a median salary of $63,490.

Experienced writers may find work at a public relations department at a theological school or non-profit religious organization. Some work as an on-staff employee and earn a yearly salary, while others are hired as a freelancer and paid on a contract basis. Self-employed writers either apply to online jobs or submit their content for acceptance at multiple publications. Some write books for a publishing company, or self-publish through entities, like Amazon.

The number of online publications and services are continuing to grow at a fast pace, which means the demand for quality content increases job opportunities for writers. Because of this, the number of available jobs for writers and authors is expected to grow 8% from 2016 to 2026. These numbers are in line with the average of all other occupations in the U.S. During this time period, graduates can anticipate a projected 10,000 new jobs to surface, which includes plenty of opportunities for faith-based authors to write.