Speech Writer Salary and Job Outlook

Speech writers have a fascinating and highly-rewarding profession that includes so much more than writing punchy speeches. These professionals also have to be able to understand the public figures for whom they are writing speeches intimately, and engage in extensive research to create a speech that is entirely factually accurate.

Speech writing is a niche field that is more lucrative than most other professions that rely on writing. What do they earn, on average, per year?

Average Salary for Speech Writers

The CEOs, celebrities, politicians, and other influential public figures who hire speech writers place a lot of trust in these uniquely-skilled professionals. A speech writer’s responsibilities are multifold — speech writers don’t only craft speeches that will resonate with the audience and further the aims of the person the speech is written for, but also have to engage in thorough fact-checking to ensure the reputation of their client is upheld.

It is, therefore, ultimately unsurprising that speech writers tend to earn significantly higher annual salaries than some other writers:

  • Salary.com reports that professional speech writers earn a median annual salary of $137,000.
  • According to the popular salary-tracking platform PayScale, speech writers have an average yearly salary of $84,859.
  • ZipRecruiter offers a lower estimate; this platform’s data shows the annual average salary for speech writers in the United States to be $67,765.

While these platforms each offer radically different estimates, in accordance with their own data collection methods, it is abundantly clear that speech writers have the potential to enjoy above-average salaries.

To illustrate this, we can compare the estimates above to government data provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for writers and authors across all sectors is currently $67,120. In some sectors, the salaries tend to be significantly lower. Reporters and news analysts, for instance, earn a median salary of $49,300 per year.

What Do Speech Writers Make Per Hour?

It is important to keep in mind that many speech writers will be self-employed professionals, who perform their jobs on a freelance basis. Any hourly rate they earn is likely to be a calculation based on their monthly or yearly income, which tends to be higher than average.

Because researching and writing a single speech is hard work that relies on close cooperation with the client for whom the speech is produced, numerous hours will be spent writing any single speech. In addition, the rate a speech writer can expect to earn depends on multiple factors, which include their area of expertise and the profile of the public figures for whom they are writing speeches.

Despite that, ZipRecruiter estimates that the average hourly wage for speech writers in the United States is around $33.

Based on Experience

How is a speech writer’s income impacted by their number of years of relevant experience, either as speech writers or in a closely related field? Salary.com estimates that even speech writers who are new to this particular field and have worked in it less than one year earn a median annual income of $129,914.

With experience, a speech writer’s earning potential continues to rise:

  • Speech writers with three to four years of experience in the field earn a median salary of $132,523 per year.
  • For those who have five to six years of experience, that number rises to $137,369 on an annual basis.
  • More experience speech writers with seven to eight years of experience on the job make a median salary of $145,030 per year.
  • After spending a decade or more working as a speech writer, the annual median income shoots up to $152,521.

This trend is likely the result of the fact that seasoned speech writers will have built a network of industry connections as well as impressive portfolios, rather than solely being based on an increased skill set.

Based on Education

Professional speech writers who craft speeches for high-profile public figures will have to be excellent writers who understand which oratory techniques are most effective. They will additionally have to be deeply familiar with the field in which their clients work, whether that is politics, science, other areas of academia, or business.

Salary.com estimates that:

  • Speech writers who have earned a Bachelor’s degree have a median yearly salary of $135,505.
  • Those who have a Master’s degree enjoy an annual median wage of $137,369.
  • With a PhD or equivalent qualification, speech writers earn a median salary of $138,114 per year.

Keep in mind that this data solely looks at education, and that experience is another important part of the equation. Those speech writers who have earned an advanced degree, accumulated years of experience in the field, and have earned an excellent reputation have the highest earning potential.

Top Paying States for Speech Writers

ZipRecruiter’s information indicates that the top-paying states for speech writers include California, Massachusetts, Washington State, and New Jersey.

Aspiring speech writers may want to keep in mind that this profession relies on confidentiality and privacy — and therefore, remote working opportunities will not be abundant. Speech writers frequently collaborate with their clients closely, something that depends on in-person communication.

Job Outlook for Speech Writers

The outlook for speech writers appears to be extremely positive. While jobs for writers and authors, as a broader category, are projected to rise by a modest nine percent over the coming decade and speech writing can be a hard field to break into, successful speech writers can expect numerous career opportunities.

As we have seen, this is a field in which the average income also rises steadily with experience — in part because seasoned speech writers can look forward to working with high-profile clients.

What Exactly Does a Speech Writer Do?

The job description of a speech writer is more versatile than many would expect. A speech writer:

  • Has to understand the vocabulary, mannerism, and even sense of humor of their clients in great detail to be able to write a speech that perfectly matches the style of the person who will be delivering it.
  • Be deeply familiar with their clients’ views and aims.
  • Engage in background research and fact-checking to ensure that everything in a speech is fully accurate and will help their clients build, rather than damage, their reputation.
  • Craft compelling, engaging, riveting, or entertaining speeches. The craft of speech writing relies on excellent writing skills, of course, but also on interpersonal skills and an understanding of psychology.
  • Work with their clients to revise or update a speech.

How to Become a Speech Writer?

Aspiring speech writers will likely begin their careers in a related field that involves communicating with the press or the public. Speech writers may previously have been Public Relations officers, press release writers, or social media managers, for instance. Following this experience, they may be hired in roles that include speech writing, or they may become freelance speech writers.

The best way to become a speech writer does depend on the field in which you would like to write speeches, however. Political speech writers will typically be politically active themselves, and are politically aligned with the politicians for whom they craft speeches. They may simultaneously act as advisors or have other political roles.

Qualifications to Be a Speech Writer

Speech writers are typically highly-educated professionals who have a Bachelor’s degree or above. Areas of study conducive to a career in speech writing include, but are not limited to:

  • Communications
  • Journalism
  • English
  • Liberal Arts, with a focus on writing and psychology
  • Marketing

Some public figures may additionally require speech writers who have a deep understanding of their own field, and as such, degree in political sciences or business can be extremely helpful as well.

Skills to Be a Speech Writer

Speech writers need to have the unique ability to “step into their client’s skin” — without this skill, which depends on empathy as well as background research, it would not be possible for a speech writer to craft effective speeches that perfectly reflect the client’s goals and personality. A speech should sound as if the person delivering it could have written it themselves, and the client should feel perfectly comfortable delivering the finished speech.

Therefore, the best speech writers will be proficient:

  • People-readers — this refers both to the client and the audience.
  • Researchers, as an extensive amount of background research goes into crafting a speech.
  • Writers. Speech writers do not need to be excellent orators themselves, but they do need to understand all the different factors that influence how effective and persuasive a speech is.

Can You Be a Speech Writer Without a Degree?

Possibly. Most speech writers will, however, possess a Bachelor’s degree, and many have completed a Master’s degree or a postgraduate degree.


  1. https://www.salary.com/research/salary/benchmark/speech-writer-salary
  2. https://www.ziprecruiter.com/Salaries/Speech-Writer-Salary
  3. https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Speech_Writer/Salary
  4. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/writers-and-authors.htm#tab-5
  5. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/reporters-correspondents-and-broadcast-news-analysts.htm#tab-5

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