Online Technical Writing Certification Programs
Technical writers translate difficult-to-understand terminology into everyday language that allows ordinary people to understand the complexities of not only surgical procedures, but assembly instructions for a new backyard barbecue, installation procedures for computer software, establishing a wireless connection on your laptop and more. If you have a passion for writing and for a particular industry such as health care, computers, engineering or science, online technical writing schools may help you achieve your goals.
Technical writing explained
Technical writing may differs from other styles--copy writing, creative or literary writing and news writing, for example--in several important ways.
- When writing a novel or news article, an individual has to create a piece that will appeal to a large audience. However, technical writers know exactly who will be reading their materials and why. They may be composing a training manual for the human resources department or an engineering firm or an instruction manual for photography equipment. Regardless of the case, a technical writer is completely aware of the end user of his/her message.
- While other types of writing allow for the writer to include some personal thoughts or opinions, technical writing is all about facts and figures.
- Technical writing is designed only to educate and inform--there is no entertainment factor. A properly prepared piece of technical writing gives a clear, concise message.
Technical writing school online programs: Composing your future
Usually, technical writing positions may require the person to have a college degree along with significant knowledge of the industry. Since many technical writers also use graphics, including charts and illustrations to share a message, experience in web design and computer graphics is also necessary. Online technical writing schools may provide you with the opportunity to study with the convenience of flexible class schedules that allow you to balance the demands of work and/or family while pursuing a degree. There is no need to be concerned about commuting, but sure to check with the admissions departments of any online technical writing schools you are interested in attending to confirm any on-campus requirements.
The dollars and cents, technically speaking
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects that employment of technical writers will grow 17 percent from 2010 to 2020. This is as faster as the average for all occupations. There are several reasons the BLS projects the field will grow:
- Expansion of scientific and technical information.
- Increasing customer support for web-based product support.
- Developments and discoveries in the legal, scientific and technological arenas will result in the need for more technical writers to interpret the information for a general audience.
- Growth in the electronics industry will require more technical writers to create user guides and instruction manuals.
- Continued development of more complex information, especially that which is available on the web, will encourage more companies to hire technical writers.
In 2008, the median annual wages for salaried technical writers was $61,620, according to the BLS. Following are the 2009 median annual wages for the other industries for technical writers:
- Natural gas distribution - $88,940
- Computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing - $85,790
- Wireless telecommunications carriers (except satellite) - $76,790
- Electrical and electronic goods merchant wholesalers - $76,650
- Electric power generation, transmission and distribution - $74,680
In 2009, the top paying states for technical writers, according to the BLS, were Massachusetts, California, Washington, New Hampshire and New Maxico. The states employing the highest numbers of technical writers in 2009 were the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Maryland, Virginia and Vermont.
Find Some Of The Online Technical Writing Schools and Colleges
Regardless of in what industry you choose to work, or the geographic location, as a technical writer you may need exceptional writing and communication skills, an extreme attention to detail and a working knowledge of desktop publishing and video production equipment.