Book Critic: Education Requirements and Career Info
Book critics analyze literature and write objective reviews for newspapers, magazines and blogs. Degrees in English, journalism and mass communications focus on the writing and critical reading skills necessary for this career field.
Aspiring book critics can earn degrees in English, journalism or mass communications to prepare for employment. A Bachelor of Arts in English requires the completion of courses such as British and American literature, creative writing, critical thinking, literary criticism, advanced grammar and linguistics. Many schools offer variations on the coursework required to complete a degree in English, but the basics of most programs are consistent.
Journalism schools offer degree programs that focus on the skills necessary to work as a book critic. These courses include critical writing, revising and editing, opinion writing and research. A bachelor's degree in mass communications can also help prepare a student for a career as a book critic. Mass communications encompasses the study of written and oral communication while focusing on multiple ways to transmit that communication. Courses in traditional and electronic media, editing, critical thinking, reporting and organizational skills can be useful for aspiring book critics.
These 4-year degree programs provide students the opportunity to develop skills such as the ability to analyze the theme and symbolism of a piece of literature and to objectively and critically write reviews.
According to the National Book Critics Circle (NBCC), book critics are made up of a membership that includes authors, book publishers and literary bloggers (www.bookcritics.org). These professionals are responsible for the objective review of a variety of literature. Journalists who work for magazines or newspapers can also write reviews for their publications.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), writers and authors, including authors who work as book critics, earned a median annual salary of $55,940 as of May 2012 (www.bls.gov). The median annual salary for reporters and correspondents was $35,870 for the same time period.
Writers working as book critics often work on a freelance basis. According to the BLS, about 66% of workers in the authors and writers category were self-employed as of 2012.
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