Education and Training Requirements

High School

A bachelor's degree is the minimum education required for being hired as a copywriter, so while in high school take college preparatory classes. Also take as many English, writing, and journalism courses available. For added experience, work on your school's newspaper and yearbook.

Postsecondary Training

Competition for writing jobs almost always demands the background of a college education. Many employers prefer that you have a broad liberal arts background or major in English, literature, history, philosophy, or one of the social sciences. Other employers desire communication arts or journalism training in college. A number of schools offer courses in copywriting and other business writing.

In addition to formal course work, most employers look for practical writing experience. If you have served on high school or college newspapers, yearbooks, or literary magazines, you will make a better candidate, as well as if you have worked for small community newspapers or radio stations, even in an unpaid position. Many advertising agencies and public relations firms offer summer internship programs that can provide valuable writing experience. Interns do many simple tasks, such as running errands and answering phones, but some may be asked to perform research and even assist with the ad writing.


The American Association of Advertising Agencies, in cooperation with its U.K.-based sister organization the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), offers the IPA Foundation Certificate Program for entry-level professionals. Those who complete the program must complete 30 hours of online learning in seven learning areas: The Power of Creativity; The Communications Landscape; The Client and Agency Roles; Theories, Tools, & Techniques; Comms Review; The Creative Development Process; and Evaluating Effectiveness. and pass a two-hour online exam.

Other Education or Training

The American Advertising Federation, American Association of Advertising Agencies, Editorial Freelancers Association, MPA–The Association of Magazine Media, and other professional associations offer a variety of webinars, conference seminars, workshops, and other continuing education opportunities. Contact these organizations for more information.  

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

There are no certification or licensing requirements for copywriters.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

To develop the skills necessary for an entry-level copywriter position, plan to complete an internship while in college. Work on the school newspaper and yearbook or contribute writing services on a volunteer basis to a local nonprofit organization.

Copywriters also should be creative and have a broad general knowledge, strong research and computer skills, and the ability to clearly express ideas. Curiosity, persistence, initiative, resourcefulness, and an ability to perform in stressful situations are also beneficial. At some ad agencies and other employers, the environment is hectic and client deadlines are short. For these copywriters, the ability to concentrate and produce under pressure is essential.