Posted on

Jobs with mfa in creative writing

Can an MFA in Creative Writing Help You Get a Job?

If you love writing fiction or poetry, or would like to teach others how to develop their creative writing talents, consider earning an MFA in creative writing.

What is an MFA?

MFA is the common abbreviation of a Master of Fine Arts and is an advanced degree in a variety of creative areas. Specifically, an MFA in Creative Writing focuses on the art and practice of writing for those interested in publishing their own original works or in pursuing a teaching career.

A bachelor’s degree is required before beginning a master’s degree program. While master’s in creative writing programs may encourage applicants who have a bachelor’s degree in English or creative writing, degree seekers may come from any field where they want to improve their writing abilities. Writing samples of your own work will be required when applying to an MFA in creative writing programs.

Why would you pursue an MFA?

A master’s in creative writing provides a foundation of theory and form along with workshops to develop your skills and hone your craft. Whether you are looking to get published or to advance your career, an MFA in Creative Writing will help you develop your voice and become a more proficient writer.

What can you do with an MFA?

An MFA in Creative Writing is preferred or required for a variety of careers. If you want to teach creative writing at any level, from elementary school through higher education, a master’s degree will be required, and a Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing sets you apart from the competition.

Many other writing opportunities benefit from having an MFA in Creative Writing. Advertising, technical publications, local newspapers and magazines, and other organizations that require skilled writers often require or prefer applicants with an advanced degree in creative writing.

The salary potential for positions requiring or preferring an MFA in Creative Writing ranges from $50,000 to $75,100 per year.

If you want to become a published author, an MFA in Creative Writing provides advanced study in the craft. The earning potential for writers varies widely depending on genre and how long they’ve been published. It takes time to establish yourself as an author or poet, and many creative individuals build their audience while working in another job.

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the median pay for writers and authors is $61,820 per year in 2017. This includes a wide range of positions creating written content, including advertising, books, magazines, scripts, and blogs. Technical writers have a median pay of $70,930 annually.

What are the advantages of UTEP’s online MFA in Creative Writing?

UTEP’s fully-online Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing lets you earn your graduate degree from anywhere in the world. The curriculum has a strong emphasis on workshops, but there’s no residency requirement, so you can earn your master’s in Creative Writing from Texas without ever leaving home. And our program is the only bilingual MFA in Creative Writing in the U.S. and the world. Classes and discussions are held in English, but creative assignments may be submitted in Spanish, allowing you to write in your native language or expand your ability.

Our students come from a variety of fields, but they all share a common passion – an interest in improving their writing ability. Whether you are interested in establishing yourself as a writer or advancing your teaching career, our online creative writing program lets you gain essential credentials without uprooting your life.

What’s Next?

We invite you to explore our online program and see what it will take to make that next step into your profession. If you are interested in learning more about our team and UTEP Connect’s 100% online master’s and graduate certificate programs, reach out. An enrollment counselor will contact you directly.

Creative writing

A degree in creative writing allows you to develop your writing, research and creative thinking skills. You’ll also gain skills that are useful in a range of other careers such as publishing, marketing, PR and teaching

Job options

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don’t restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.

Take a few minutes to answer the Job Match quiz and find out what careers would suit you

Work experience

Building a portfolio of written work, especially any that you’ve had published, will help to evidence your writing skills and establish your reputation as a writer.

You can gain valuable experience by writing for your student newspaper or magazine, volunteering in schools, or getting involved with writers’ groups. Also, try submitting work to journals or anthologies, entering competitions, performing at spoken word events or approaching local drama groups to see if they will use your scripts. This will boost your profile and help build your confidence.

To make yourself more employable, look for opportunities to gain some solid work experience. This could be in the form of paid administrative work for a company or volunteering, perhaps with a local charity helping them to promote the work they do.

You could also write speculatively to a number of businesses, including publishing houses and marketing firms, to ask if you could complete some short-term work experience or shadowing. This can have the advantage of getting you a foot in the door in a highly-competitive industry and could lead to a permanent position.

As well as creative talent and writing experience, you will also need perseverance and determination to succeed as a writer.

Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.

Related case studies


Typical employers

As a creative writing graduate you may work to establish yourself as a writer on a self-employed basis, either writing your own works, or writing for others in a freelance capacity.

Alternatively, you could find opportunities with a variety of employers, including:

  • publishing houses or editorial/technical writing service companies
  • advertising, marketing and public relations agencies, particularly in a copywriting capacity
  • primary, secondary, further and higher education institutions
  • media organisations and social media companies
  • general businesses – in an administrative or general management position
  • Civil Service, library or charitable organisations.

Employers hiring creative writing graduates now

Product Developer

  • CGP Books
  • Cumbria
  • £24,501-£27,000
Where will your words shine?

Publishing. Media. Theatre. Study MA Creative Writing. Hone your craft into a lifelong career

Skills for your CV

As well as building specialist knowledge of creative writing, you also develop effective written, oral and presentation skills through your degree. Other skills include:

  • creative thinking and problem solving – these skills are useful for many jobs and you’ll have gained them from developing characters and storylines
  • independent working – having to be self-motivated as a writer means you can effectively determine and direct your own workload
  • time management and organisation – learning to structure your time effectively as a writer means you can be highly organised
  • a good understanding of information technology
  • collaboration – from liaising with students from other related courses such as journalism and film studies
  • independent research and analysis – you’ll be adept at this from turning ideas into well-rounded stories
  • editorial and proofreading – from producing accurately written content
  • negotiation and networking – learning how to market your work effectively gives you the skill to negotiate in other workplace settings.

Further study

As a creative writing graduate you can develop your creative writing skills further by undertaking further study at Masters or PhD level. You can also specialise in an area such as screenwriting, the graphic novel, writing for young people, writing poetry, or writing and producing comedy.

Alternatively, you may want to undertake further vocational training in areas such as teaching, journalism, librarianship or publishing. Vocational courses allow you to study in an area in which you would like to have a career.

You may also want to consider further study in areas such as PR, marketing or advertising.

For more information on further study and to find a course that interests you, see Masters degrees and search postgraduate courses in creative writing.

What do creative writing graduates do?

A tenth (11%) of creative writing graduates who are in employment in the UK are working as authors, writers and translators, while 6% are working as marketing associate professionals.

Destination Percentage
Employed 61.3
Further study 7.1
Working and studying 14.3
Unemployed 11.6
Other 5.7
Type of work Percentage
Retail, catering and customer service 26.1
Arts, design and media 18.4
Clerical, secretarial and administrative 15
Marketing, PR and sales 10.2
Other 30.3

Find out what other creative writing graduates are doing 15 months after finishing their degrees in What do graduates do?