Authors and writers (NOC 5121)

About this job

Authors and writers:

  • plan, research and write books, scripts, storyboards, plays, essays, speeches, manuals, specifications and other non-journalistic articles for publication or presentation
  • work for advertising agencies, governments, large corporations, private consulting firms, publishing firms, multimedia/new-media companies and other establishments
  • may be self-employed
Common job titles
  • author
  • biographer
  • crossword puzzle maker / compiler
  • writer, media - radio / TV / multimedia
  • writer, news - feature writer / columnist
  • writer, novelist / playwright / poet
  • author
  • biographer
  • crossword puzzle maker / compiler
  • essayist
  • ghost writer
  • lexicographer


Annual provincial median salary


Source: 2011 National Household Survey (Full-time full-year median employment income)

Provincial hourly rate

  • High
  • Median
  • Low

N/A - Data not available

Source: 2016 Job Bank Wage Report


Novelists, playwrights, script writers, poets and other creative writers:

  • create and write novels, plays, scripts, poetry and other material for publication or presentation
  • may conduct research to establish factual content and to get other necessary information

Technical writers:

  • analyze material, such as specifications, notes and drawings, and write manuals, user guides and other documents to explain clearly and concisely the installation, operation and maintenance of software and electronic, mechanical and other equipment


  • study and identify selling features of products and services and write text for advertisements and commercials

Special duties

Authors and writers may specialize in a particular subject or type of writing.

Work environment

Key aspects of the work in this occupation:

  • Work takes place in a conventional indoor office setting.

Job requirements

Education, training & qualifications

  • Technical writers usually require a university degree in the area of specialization, such as computer science or engineering.
  • Copywriters usually require a university degree or college diploma in French, English, marketing, advertising or another discipline.
  • Creative writing programs are offered by universities and colleges.
  • Talent and ability, as demonstrated by a portfolio of work, are important hiring criteria.
  • Membership in a guild or union related to the occupation may be required.


  • General Learning Ability
  • Motor Coordination
  • Detail-Oriented
  • Clerical Ability
  • Numerical Ability
View skills definitions

Education programs in B.C.

The following program areas are related to this occupation:
  • Broadcasting Related
  • English/Literature Related
  • Journalism
  • Linguistics (Science)
  • Linguistics Related (Arts)
  • Pre-press/Desktop Publishing/Digital Imaging Design
  • Publishing
  • Writing (Creative, Editing, Technical)

For more information about programs offered specifically for this career, visit EducationPlannerBC.

Select a region to view regional outlook
Vancouver Island / Coast Mainland / Southwest Thompson-Okanagan Kootenay Cariboo Northeast North Coast & Nechako
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Mainland / Southwest
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North Coast & Nechako
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Vancouver Island / Coast
Employment in 2016:
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N/A - Data not available

Source: B.C. Labour Market Outlook

Career paths and resources

Career paths

Workers entering this field typically begin their employment in entry-level positions. These positions may involve work in public relations, marketing publicity, website editing or writing in the public sector or non-governmental organizations.

With experience, workers may progress to supervisory and management positions, such as editor-in-chief or managing editor at large newspapers, magazines or publishing houses.

Additional resources

Additional resources are not currently available for this career.