In the world of technical writing, you'll find a lot of different writing formats and techniques. They all require a specific set of knowledge points that earn them a bigger salary than typical writers. In addition, some technical writers function as specialized grant writers, so the average grant writer salary is usually higher. According to popular salary reporting platforms Glassdoor, a grant writer's salary lies between the $37,000 and $117,000 range.
Grant writers are a special breed because they require complete knowledge of the subject matter and need to master a specific format. That's because grant proposals and grant applications need to be written and formatted in a particular way to be accepted.
This article will go over the average grant writer's salary and some FAQs on their duties, responsibilities, and career paths.
Let's dive right in.
Average Grant Writer's Salary
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average technical writer's salary is around $72,850 in the United States. As per the BLS database, over 50,000 technical writer jobs are currently in the U.S., with over 5,000 being grant writer jobs.
The grant writer position is a full-time commitment in most cases.
However, some organizations tend to get grant writers on a contractual basis. You can also find plenty of grant writers on freelance websites, although it's pretty hard to find one who knows what they're doing.
Furthermore, each industry has different regulations for grants. This means that a grant writer would be better off writing grant proposals and applications for any industry.
The grant writer position sits under the technical writer job description in most cases.
Industries that pay the highest grant writer salaries are healthcare, computer science, and management services.
Grant writers working in STEM-related companies and healthcare organizations tend to earn more due to an increased need for complex knowledge. You can also increase your salary by taking certification courses that showcase your ability.
That said, it's best to look at a few other sources to understand how much a grant writer makes, according to individual salary reports.
According to Glassdoor, the national average base salary for grant writers is $51,395. The average salary range is between $33,000 and $81,000, with the higher-end pay in cities like Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, and New York City.
Glassdoor is a well-known website for finding various salary estimates, reviews, and more.
Any employee can upload and add anonymous annual salary reports and enter benefits information, cost of living estimates, employer reviews, and total compensation values.
You can also check various salary estimates on the site by adding more filters. For example, you can make more precise searches with the following filters.
- Choose your industry for salary estimates
- Enter the approximate size of your company based on the total number of employees.
- Enter the combined years of experience in the position.
Adding the filters listed above helps make your search better and more accurate. In addition, that helps you get a better estimate of the grant writer's salary according to your parameters.
You can also look at the salaries of related jobs, such as proposal writer, medical writer, and more.
Glassdoor offers one of the best estimates and most detailed information on the grant writer's salary.
Indeed says the average grant writer salary in the United States is $43,031. Other than that, grant writers get additional cash bonuses and monetary compensation in some cases. However, that usually depends on the company and industry.
The site also shows you the most common employee benefits you can get while working as a grant writer.
Expected benefits for the grant writer role include a 403b, dental insurance, employee assistance programs, work-from-home privileges, and flexible scheduling.
Furthermore, Indeed shows you what cities offer the best grant writer salaries. The highest-paying cities in the U.S. for grant writers include Sacramento, New York City, Omaha, Phoenix, and San Francisco.
You can set up customized job alerts based on specific salary estimates. As a result, you'll only get job alerts for grant writer jobs with a specific salary and above.
According to PayScale, the median salary for grant writers in the U.S. is $49,044. That brings the average hourly rate to around $24.53. The average salary range is between $37,000 and $69,000.
Other than that, grant writers can earn up to $4,000 in bonuses, $20,000 in profit-sharing, and $11,000 in commissions.
PayScale is a website dedicated to providing a holistic view of salary data, estimates, total compensation, and information on employee benefits.
You can also find gender-based pay estimates, cost of living estimates, and other pay-related information.
Furthermore, PayScale shows you what states offer the most pay to grant writers. According to successful grant writers, proposal writers, and organizations, New York and California are the highest-paying states. The highest-paying cities include New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Francisco.
Career Outlook for a Grant Writer
A grant writer is a relatively entry-level position. However, an individual can advance from it to more serious roles by working within the industry and gaining professional experience. Additionally, they can upskill themselves in areas such as business development and management to achieve more senior and well-paying roles.
After gaining crucial working experience and sharpening their writing abilities, a professional can become a grants manager. Handling more significant responsibilities and supervising the junior positions gives them the necessary background to move to a director of grants role. Alternatively, they can become the director of development at the non-profit organization.
The average compensations for more senior positions on the technical writer career path (as per PayScale and reported in March 2022) are given below:
As a grants manager, the individual has to look over all the grants assignments and provide writers with the necessary guidelines. Therefore, the role requires managerial abilities along with writing skills. The average annual pay for the role amounts to $59,053 and increases with more years of experience.
The director of grants looks over all the organization's strategic decisions related to grants and donations. In addition, they guide grant managers and grant writers on their approach. It is a significantly senior position, and the director of grants receives an average annual pay of $72,995.
If you wish to achieve a better-paying grant writing position, you must sharpen your skills and gain more relevant knowledge. To grab an impressive grant writer salary, you should check out our grant writing certification at TechnicalWriterHQ.
Top Paying Cities for Grant Writers
As per ZipRecruiter, the cities with the top-paying grant writing positions, categorized by location in the U.S., are given below.
U.S. West Coast
- Phoenix: $54,679
- Los Angeles: $49,281
U.S. Midwest/Rocky Mountains
- Chicago: $58,166
- Detroit: $56,467
U.S. East Coast
- New York: $62,324
- Atlanta: $56,939
- New Orleans: $54,134
Education Level for Grant Writer Role
Organizations rely on grant writers to create eloquent and persuasive grant proposals that help run important initiatives. However, such outcomes aren't possible until the grant writer has the right qualifications and experience. Therefore, having the right academic qualifications and a strong portfolio is essential to attract an impressive salary.
A grant writer should have a Bachelor's in English, creative writing, or journalism. Such programs give the individual the solid writing and persuasion skills necessary to achieve a well-paying grant writing position.
There are many certifications that grant writers can pursue to build an impressive body of work and showcase the credibility of their talent. Some prominent ones are given below:
- TechnicalWritingHQ: It offers a dedicated grant writing certification that helps you build writing and communication skills
- University of Massachusetts: It offers a professional certificate in grant writing focusing on imparting writers with advanced skills.
- SDSU: Their professional grant writing certificate takes you through important aspects like funds research and grant development.
Grant Writer Salary Across Top Companies
As per Glassdoor, here is what the annual average grant writer salary looks like in some of the top firms across different industries.
- The Salvation Army: $47,950
- American Red Cross: $49,632
- United Way: $61,758
- Catholic Charities: $63,116
The average grant writer salary mainly depends on the organization and industry.
That's why professional grant writers and grant writing businesses focus on one industry. They develop personal benchmarks to improve and focus on getting more technical knowledge and experience. As a result, a grant writer can negotiate a better salary.
Since becoming an expert grant writer takes time, effort, and learning, it's best to develop a habit of keeping up to date with your industry's rules, formats, and regulations.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do you become a better grant writer to negotiate for better salaries?
The best way to become a better grant writer is to start taking technical writing courses and certifications to increase your knowledge, expertise, and accreditations. Other than that, you can learn more about your industry and follow grant writer best practices. For example, learn about good documentation practices.
If you are new to grant writing and are looking to break-in, we recommend taking our Grant Writing Certification Course, where you will learn the fundamentals of being a grant writer, how to write proposals that win grants, and how to stand out as a grant writing candidate.
Josh is the founder of Technical Writer HQ and Squibler, a writing software. He had his first job in technical writing for a video editing software company in 2014. Since then, he has written several books on software documentation, personal branding, and computer hacking. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.