The technical writing job is a complex one, especially depending on the industry you’re working in. Industries like SaaS, fintech, and healthcare require top-of-the-line technical writing expertise to accurately relay necessary information. That’s why it’s crucial for technical writers to have some technical writing certifications to prepare for all sorts of technical writing tasks.
Getting writing certifications is not the same as getting technical writing certifications. That’s because technical writing requires subject matter knowledge, prior expertise, and effort.
In any case, it’s best to opt for as many technical writing certifications as you can to maximize your expertise.
In this article, we’ll go over what technical writing entails and the best technical writing certifications you can complete in 2021 if you want to become a technical writer.
Let’s dive right in.
Table of Contents
What is a Technical Writing Certification?
A technical writing certification showcases that you understand the process of converting technical concepts and knowledge into meaningful and easy-to-understand documentation. That means explaining complex information, processes, and steps with regard to a service or product.
There are a lot of different types of technical writing with unique formats, processes, and structures. Usually, structured writing makes up the bulk of technical writing; however, you may also be writing for media journals, research journals, and more.
Some of the common technical writing examples include guides, orientation manuals, user manuals, instruction manuals, company documents, press releases, release notes, FAQs, API documentation, and more.
You can find a lot of technical writing samples and templates to get started. It’s not the same as writing and publishing your own book because you have an existing data dump of complex information that you need to convert into easy-to-understand bits based on a specific template.
Most industries require their technical writers to write according to an industry standard. Each technical document needs to be prepared in a specific language, tone, and graphic style.
Top Technical Writing Certifications You Can Get Today
Getting a technical writing certification, joining a certificate program, or doing technical writing courses is a great way to develop your technical writing skills. It’s not just about business writing, academic writing, journal writing, or paper writing; technical writing requires a certain perspective.
Doing online certification programs is a great way to learn that perspective, along with the necessary technical writing skills required.
That’s why technical writers tend to earn more on average, compared to typical writers. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average technical writer earns $76,860 in the United States. That’s true for most technical writing jobs in the US.
To become an excellent technical writer in your industry, you should try to do some online courses to learn more about the industry first. After you have a strong understanding of the industry, you can move on to getting the relevant technical writing certifications associated with the industry.
Meanwhile, you can also opt for general technical writing certifications and technical writing courses. Online training and technical writing programs can help you get a good idea of what most organizations want from technical writers.
In any case, consider opting for the following technical writing certifications to develop a stronger technical writing portfolio.
1. One Week Technical Writer Certification by Technical Writer HQ
Technical Writer HQ is one of the first sites that is dedicated to offering technical writing certifications, courses, and training programs. Other than that, it aims to connect the technical writers of the world so they can discuss their process, methods and get help from peers.
The One Week Technical Writer Certification is a complete technical writing course that delves into the fundamentals of technical writing, the technical writing role, job description, and the complete interview process.
Throughout the course, you will learn how to create and develop high-performing technical documentation. You will also learn how to develop high-quality technical writing samples for you to use.
Furthermore, you will learn how to craft an excellent technical writer resume, along with creating an online presence. Lastly, you will be getting tips on how you can ace any technical writer interview, regardless of your industry.
By the end of the course, you will have built your skillset in technical writing, built your technical writer network, and have created a successful job search strategy.
Here are some of the noteworthy topics from the course.
- How to Analyze Your Audience
- API Writing
- How to Write Case Studies
- How to Conduct Proper Research
- How to Conduct User Interviews
- How to Write and Edit Documentation for Most Use Cases
You will also find a lot of exclusive interviews with technical writing professionals, along with insider tips and tricks. Other than that, you will get access to downloadable templates that you can use.
By the end of the course, you will get a technical writing certificate of completion and a badge that you can share on your website, LinkedIn profile, and other places.
You can learn more about the One Week Technical Writer Certification by Technical Writer HQ here.
The TechWriter-Certification program was developed by Dr. Kenneth Rainey and Dr. John Reid while working at their respective institutions in Georgia. The courses were initially developed as side programs for the Southern Polytechnic State University and for non-credit courses at Kennesaw State University.
Using their knowledge, both the Dr.’s developed technical writing courses for the common man. They are now offered through TechWriter-Certification.
In total, there are six different courses and certifications you can apply for, including the following.
- Basic Certificate in Technical Writing – is for someone looking to start a technical writing career. It has three courses to help newcomers learn how to develop better technical language and communication skills while helping them increase their subject matter knowledge.
- Certificate in Writing for Current Technical Writers – is designed for experienced technical writers who want to improve their knowledge and chances of getting better technical writing opportunities.
- Comprehensive Career Builder Certificate in Technical Writing – is for students looking to learn more about technical communication. The course goes on for 3-months with several sessions and courses.
- Certificate in Professional Technical Communication – is designed to help current technical writers learn more about various technical writing styles so they can write better proposals, reports, studies, and more.
- Certificate Course in Structured Writing for Technical Documentation – is for people looking to develop their structured writing skills to develop better technical documentation.
- Writers at Work Certificate Program – is a complete writer program with four 10-hour courses for people looking to develop better technical writing skills.
If you want to learn more about TechWriter-Certification and its courses and professional certifications, you can here.
3. Certified Professional Technical Communicator by the Society for Technical Communication (STC)
The Society for Technical Communicators is a member-only group of technical communicators and writers. It’s considered to be the oldest and largest association that is dedicated to pushing the technical communication field out into the world.
Over time, the STC has developed various professional certification options for technical communicators and writers. They refined it into a three-tiered professional certification that includes a Foundation, Practitioner, and Expert certification.
Firstly, the Foundation Certification is the most basic certification; it’s all about having the right knowledge of the field and industry you’re working in. To become a Foundation Certified Professional Technical Communicator, you need to showcase your knowledge, understanding, and ability of technical communication. Most importantly, you will be doing a custom test; after the test’s completion, you will receive your certification if you score above the threshold.
Once you’re done with the Foundation Certification, you can get the Practitioner Certification. That’s where you have to showcase how you would apply your knowledge in the real world. Once you’re done learning, you will be taking the Practitioner CPTC test. Upon passing the test, you will officially be Practitioner certified.
After that, you can opt for the Expert Certification; this is where you will be showcasing your knowledge through work products and expert interviews. This is the ultimate test for the technical writer, and once you pass the Expert CPTC test, you will be completely certified by the Society for Technical Communicators.
Being STC-certified is a sure-fire way of getting ahead of your peers in your technical writing career.
To learn more about the Certified Professional Technical Communicator course by the STC, you can go here.
4. Udemy Certifications and Courses
Udemy has grown into one of the biggest educational platforms with courses from all over the world on a multitude of topics like technical writing, app development, HTML, project management, and more.
You can also find industry-specific technical writing courses on the site. The enrollment process is always simple, and all the courses are self-paced so that you can complete them according to your schedule. Most importantly, you get hands-on experience with real-life case studies.
Whether you’re a seasoned technical writer or someone who’s just starting out, it’s best to start with a beginner course to get your bearings.
This course is designed to teach you the principle of technical writing and editing. Along with that, you also learn how to develop complete technical document templates and how you can effectively write your first user guide.
The self-paced and award-winning course requires you to have a Windows PC and Microsoft Word and Excel (2007 or 2010). The other relevant materials, resources, and information is provided within the course once you enroll.
The official price of the course is $199.00, but you can apply for a discount as a student. You can also bookmark the course so that Udemy emails you if the course is on sale.
After completion, you will get a basic certification of completion. You will also get a completion badge that you can share on your socials.
In any case, the course offers a total of 107 lectures, 22 exercise sheets, and 22 solutions sheets. You will also get 36 quizzes that will be testing your knowledge.
Furthermore, you will receive six PDF e-books, along with 40 PDF supplement documents. Lastly, you will be completing a final assignment that will be personally reviewed by the instructor, who will then offer some valuable feedback.
Choosing the Right Technical Writing Certification for Your Career
You don’t necessarily need a college degree in the technical writing field if you have the right knowledge, expertise, and experience. You can do standalone courses, certifications, and complete training classes to learn more about your industry and field.
In any case, getting some technical writing certifications under your belt helps you become better at technical writing. That means learning different forms of technical documentation, writing styles, and more, so you can adjust accordingly.
Choosing the right technical writing certification for your career is all about focusing on your niche writing style and your industry.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here's a list of some of the most common questions around technical writing certificates:
What does a technical writer do?
Technical writers work closely with industry experts to accurately deliver a technical document. The technical information from software engineers, developers, medical personnel, and other experts helps because the writer can convert it into understandable lingo using their writing ability.
In the end, technical communication is more than just being good with English writing skills, Microsoft Word, and grammar.
Is technical writing a good profession?
Current technical writers are in high demand and paid well because the demand for technical documentation has increased tremendously. Effective writing is not hard to master, but effective technical writing requires subject matter expertise at some level.
How do you become a certified technical writer?
Technical writing is one of the best career choices for those who want to combine their love for language with a desire to help others. Becoming certified can seem like an overwhelming task, but it's actually pretty easy if you start out with some of these excellent certifications listed above.