Many new and would-be copywriters think they need a copywriting certificate—some sort of proof that they know how to write copy. After all, how else will employers or clients know that you know how to write copy? But not only is copywriter certification not necessary, it could actually be detrimental to your job hunt.
What you do need is copywriting training. You need to know how to write copy. But a certificate doesn’t prove that. Here’s why.
The Truth About Getting a Copywriting Certificate
There are a lot of jobs and careers require a degree or a certificate that communicates, “Yes! This person knows how to do this. You should hire them!” So, it’s completely understandable that people want a copywriting certificate.
But a copywriting certificate doesn’t mean that you can write copy—it only means that you can pay for a course that gives you a certificate at the end. Employers and, in particular, creative directors know this.
In fact, in a lot of ways, getting a copywriting certification marks you as a newbie: You don’t know enough about the business to know that a certificate doesn’t make you anything special.
And getting a copywriting certification will definitely hurt your job hunt if you’ve put your focusing on getting one in lieu of doing something else.
What About a Degree in Copywriting?
There aren’t (as of this writing) any colleges or universities that offer a full degree in copywriting. You certainly may find copywriting courses as part of a marketing program, but there are no programs that teach you everything you need to know about copywriting (it’s why we created the Comprehensive Copywriting Academy).
There is the option of advertising school or a copywriting portfolio school.
But the same principle applies: the proof is in your portfolio. Yes, portfolio schools can help you build yours, but they also cost tens of thousands of dollars. You can build your own portfolio for much, much less.
Watch: Pros & Cons of Advertising Schools
On this episode of the Build Your Copywriting Business podcast, Nicki and Kate go over the pros and cons of portfolio school. If you have time and money to spare, they can be a great way to build a portfolio. However, there are alternatives, including, transparently, the Comprehensive Copywriting Academy (learn more about the CCA here). Watch this episode to decide what course of action makes most sense for your goals.
What You Need Instead of a Copywriting Certificate
People want to get a copywriting certification because they want proof that they can write copy. But, as they say, the proof is in the pudding. The very best proof that you can write copy is samples of well-written copy.
In other words, the best proof of your ability to write copy is a great portfolio.
If your portfolio is full of work (whether paid work or spec ads) that shows that you understand the principles of copy, you know how to collaborate with a designer, you can adapt your writing to companies’ various brand voices, and you can write across a variety of media—if that’s the case, you’ll have your proof right there.
And, of course, before you even begin to build your portfolio, you have to actually know how to write copy. Easily the biggest cause of failure among would-be copywriters is people who just decide one day that they are copywriters and start applying for work.
Copywriting is an entire career and, as with literally any other career, it requires training. There are things you need to learn before you can do it. And, by the way, as part of this copywriting training, you should be building your portfolio and learning to find work. Otherwise, it’s useless.
If you’d like more information about our copywriting training, you can check it out here. (And check out just some of our student wins right here!)
Watch More: Industry Pros Weigh in on Copywriting Certificates
The instinct to want a copywriting certification makes sense. We want our clients to know we’re trained and, since so many copywriters are transitioning from completely unrelated fields, we think it will help us have the professional credential we need.
But here’s the thing: your diverse background is a benefit to your copywriting career. And the only professional credential you need is samples of your work. Learn more about all by watching this episode of the Build Your Copywriting Business podcast.
Get Our Free Copywriting Training
Want to build a copywriting career—and get the step-by-step training for learning how to write copy, how to build your portfolio, how to land clients (plus a ton more)? Then you’re going to love our Comprehensive Copywriting Academy.
Want to hear more about landing clients without experience? Check out the video below!
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Have you ever wasted money on a copywriter certification for something and come to regret it? Or do you have a “proof is in the pudding” story? Let us know in the comments below!
Last Updated on November 27, 2023