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Advertising Copywriter

Advertising copywriters create concepts and write ads. The ads can be for print, broadcast media, or online or outdoor use.

Also Known As

Copywriter, Writer

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Copywriters (5121.3) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Authors and Writers (F021) 
  • 2011 NOC: Authors and writers (5121) 
  • 2016 NOC: Authors and writers (5121) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Copywriters

2006 NOC: 5121.3

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
INNOVATIVE

Interest in synthesizing information to write text for advertisements and commercials, including commercial scripts

METHODICAL

Interest in studying products and services to be advertised, and in submitting copy to editor for approval

directive

Interest in persuading audiences by determining the most effective advertising approach, including text, style and length of copy

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Advertising copywriters write ads to promote goods, services, and organizations. Their main function is to work with creative team members to come up with ideas, present them to clients and carry them out.

In print media, copywriters write newspaper and magazine ads. They also may write copy for reports and brochures.

In broadcast media, they write radio and TV commercials and short announcements. They also may write video scripts.

In online media, they write ads that appear on websites. They also may write web copy, blog entries, social media posts, and email messages.

In out-of-home media, they write ads for billboards, location-specific posters (such as for washrooms), and transit applications such as bus shelters. They may also write scripts or scenario guides for guerrilla or street-team marketing.

In ad agencies, copywriters may write for all of the above. They may specialize in local or national corporations, government departments, retail outlets, or not-for-profit organizations. Along with ads, copywriters may write media releases, brochures, direct mail pieces, or articles for trade journals. They may also consult on branding projects, which could include developing names, taglines, and brand stories.

Duties vary from one role to another. But in general, advertising copywriters:

  • Come up with creative ideas and solutions that meet clients’ goals
  • Take into account client needs and the overall marketing plan
  • Sell their ideas to clients, supervisors, and account executives
  • Consult with account executives or clients about key messages
  • Research the product or service they are writing about
  • Work with others to create advertising concepts and develop tactics to attract the target audience and influence consumers
  • Discuss concepts and copy with their creative director, then make revisions based on their feedback
  • Work closely with layout artists (such as creative directors, art directors, graphic designers, commercial artists, and photographers) to add visual impact
  • Edit and proofread ads
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

Advertising copywriters work in office settings. Because it is a competitive, fast-paced industry, they have to juggle projects and meet deadlines. They must balance their need for quiet, creative thinking, and writing time with the need to take calls, go to meetings, and work with clients and co-workers.

Copywriters generally keep regular office hours. But they may work overtime to meet deadlines. They may need to travel to photo shoots or radio or film productions.

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Advertising copywriters need:

  • An outgoing nature
  • Writing, editing, proofreading, and presentation skills
  • The ability to put themselves in customers’ positions
  • Creative conceptual-thinking skills
  • The ability to give and take constructive criticism
  • Time-management and organizational skills
  • The ability to focus and work well under pressure
  • Interest in current events and social trends
  • Interest in advertising, sales and marketing

To work in online media, they also need an interest and aptitude in technology.

Advertising copywriters should enjoy:

  • Finding creative solutions
  • Studying and researching products and services
  • Synthesizing information
  • Persuading people

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2011 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Authors and writers

2011 NOC: 5121

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 11 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Nov 19, 2021 and Sep 26, 2022.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Personal Suitability: Flexibility
Personal Suitability: Accurate
Personal Suitability: Excellent written communication
Personal Suitability: Organized
Personal Suitability: Team player
Personal Suitability: Excellent oral communication
Computer Applications: MS Word
Personal Suitability: Initiative
Computer Applications: MS Excel
Other benefits: Learning/training paid by employer
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Minimum Education Varies

Most advertising copywriters have post-secondary education in communications, journalism, marketing, or broadcasting. Many have a bachelor’s degree in English. They should be motivated to keep up to date in the field.

Building a strong portfolio is essential for finding work.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Cypress College - Medicine Hat
Northern Alberta Institute of Technology
Simon Fraser University
University of Lethbridge

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Certification Not Regulated

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Advertising copywriters work at:

  • Ad agencies
  • Newspapers and magazines
  • Radio and TV stations
  • Government departments
  • Corporations
  • Consulting firms

It may be hard to find a copywriting position at first. Experience writing for school or community publications or personal or corporate blogs is a definite asset. So is social media or sales experience. Applicants should provide portfolios. Prior to working in the field, portfolios often include several pieces of work for fictional projects that show diverse creative thinking and writing. Applicants may also need to pass a writing test.

Few specialized advertising agencies exist in Alberta. Most copywriters start working with smaller print or broadcast media companies. They progress to larger newspapers, radio, or TV stations. A copywriter may develop a strong working relationship with an art director. That way, they are treated as a creative team on projects.

In larger stations and agencies, there may be opportunities to advance to copy chief or creative director positions. With training, copywriters may also move into broadcast sales, production, public relations, fundraising, or marketing. Or they may choose to move into a different area of media or to do freelance work.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 5121: Authors and writers occupational group, 75.2% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 5121: Authors and writers occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2.2% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 58 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2019

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Authors and writers

2016 NOC: 5121
Average Wage
$29.81
Per Hour
Average Salary
$59,315.00
Per Year
Average Hours
38.4
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2019 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 5121 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production), and other forms of compensation.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $18.27 $35.83 $24.75 $24.04
Overall $22.16 $44.95 $29.81 $26.68
Top $22.71 $47.00 $35.76 $35.10

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

Public Administration
ALL INDUSTRIES

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
42%
42%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
29%
29%
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
0%
0%
Vacancy Rate
N/A
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Business, Management and Administrative Studies
  • Communications
  • Humanities and Languages
  • Social Sciences, Law and Religious Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Big Future website: bigfuture.collegeboard.org

Institute of Communication Agencies (ICA) website: theica.ca

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2019. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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