The technical writing job can go from somewhat hard to extremely difficult, 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.
But with complexity come immense rewards as well. Since every company needs an effective way to communicate its product to the public, technical writers are a valuable asset. By getting a technical writing certification, it becomes much easier to get either your first technical writing job or one that’s also a step up in your career.
Keep in mind that getting writing certifications is not the same as getting technical writing certifications. That’s because it requires subject matter knowledge, prior expertise, and effort.
To help out, we’ll go over what technical writing entails and the best technical writing certifications you can complete in 2022 if you want to become a technical writer.
Let’s dive right in.
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 writing with unique formats, processes, and structures. Usually, structured writing makes up the bulk; 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, technical documents, press releases, release notes, FAQs, API documentation, and more.
You can find a lot of professional 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 communicators 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; professional 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), average technical writing jobs will get you $76,860 in the United States.
To become an excellent 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 writing programs can help you get a good idea of what most organizations want from technical writers.
You should consider opting for the following professional technical writing certification programs to develop a stronger writing portfolio.
1. Technical Writer Certification Course by Technical Writer HQ
Technical Writer HQ is one of the first sites that is dedicated to offering technical writing certifications, courses, and technical writing programs. Other than that, it aims to connect technical writers of the world so they can discuss their process, methods and get help from peers.
This specific certification is a complete technical writing course that delves into the fundamentals, the role, job description, and the complete interview process. We rated it the #1 technical writing certification course because of testimonials like this one:
"I took Josh's course, did the capstone project, and became certified in August. I've recently been offered a job as a Technical Writer for Amazon at $150k per year! I used my capstone project when they asked me for writing samples." -Henry Fuse
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's resume, along with creating an online presence. Lastly, you will be getting tips on how you can ace any 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 and technical communicators about project management, 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 program by visiting Technical Writer HQ.
TWHQ's Technical Writer Certification Course Pricing
For $299, this certification will get you everything you need either to bootstrap your technical writing career or to improve your current industry position.
Who is TWHQ's Technical Writer Certification Course For?
If you have experience as a writer but don’t know where to start your technical writing specialization, the Technical Writer certificate can provide the initial push that you need.
For more experienced writers, it can be a valuable feather in their writing hat, especially when looking for more advanced job opportunities that pay more than the current ones.
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 their 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 writers who want to improve their knowledge and chances of getting better 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 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 skills.
If you want to learn more visit the TechWriter-Certification website.
To find out the TechWriter Certification cost, you need to get in touch with TechWriter’s team directly since the certificate depends heavily on the certificate tier that you’re looking for.
Who is the TechWriter-Certification For?
If you’re an experienced writer, the TechWriter certificate can help with elevating your career further. That’s not only because you get an official writer’s certificate. TechWriter also has several courses that can give a further boost to your knowledge and skills.
The same works for beginners as well, but keep in mind that the money and time investment is much higher.
3. Certified Professional Technical Communicator by the Society for Technical Communication (STC)
The STC 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 get the Foundation Tier, 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 a writer, and once you pass the Expert CPTC test, you will be completely certified by the STC.
Being STC-certified is a sure-fire way of getting ahead of your peers in your technical writing career.
To learn more visit the Certified Professional Technical Communicator course by the STC.
Certified Professional Technical Communicator by the Society for Technical Communication Pricing
With STC, it depends on whether you’re going for the foundation or practitioner certificate. More importantly, whether you’re a member also affects the price. The foundation certificate price is $260 for STC members and $515 for nonmembers. The practitioner certificate price is $410 for STC members and $615 for nonmembers.
Who is the Certified Professional Technical Communicator by the Society for Technical Communication For?
This is another great option for mid to high-tier technical writers looking to further cement their position in the technical writing industry.
For writers looking to start learning the craft, the price can be a bit too much. But if you’re serious about learning then the initial investment can be well worth the cost.
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 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 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 editing and writing. 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.
To learn more about the course, visit the technical writing course on Udemy.
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.
Who is Udemy’s Technical Writing Certifications and Courses For?
Udemy’s certification is perfect for beginners because of several reasons. First, the prices are acceptable. You can get an official certificate without worrying about spending too much money before you even find your first gig.
Second, if you’re uncertain if it's the right career for you, it’s a great way to test the waters with flash courses that are affordable and informative.
5. Coursera’s Technical Writing Certification & Courses
Having over 3,000 different courses and certifications, you can easily find the right one for your career plans as a technical writer. Similar to Udemy, Coursera offers a range of technical writing courses, but unlike Udemy, the courses are free.
To get you started, here are some courses that you can try and also specialize further and get a certificate:
- Basic Technical Writing - This one is for copywriters looking to transition to technical writing. The course is part of the “English for Research Publication Purposes Specialization” and it specializes in teaching you how to write different reports such as research reports, design reports, progress reports, etc.
- Communication Skills for Engineers Specialization - Even some engineers need a more robust knowledge of technical writing. This course doesn’t aim at writers as much as engineers who need to brush their technical writing skills. Not only does the course help with writing clear reports, but also with everyday communication to present progress clearly.
If we compare Coursera to Udemy, Udemy has a bigger library of technical writing courses, but the ones found on Coursera are worth checking out. To find out more, check other courses on Coursera.
Courses are free, but you’ll pay up to $79 per month for the specialization required to get a certificate. Nevertheless, compared to other platforms, Coursera is a solid starting point.
Who is Coursera’s Technical Writing Certification & Courses For?
Since Coursera has several courses, it all depends on your specific needs. Keep in mind that Coursera isn’t a platform for technical writers, meaning, it might not go as much in debt as other specialized platforms. This means experienced writers might not find what they are looking for. As for beginners, Coursera can be a great palace to find answers to questions you might have.
6. Dalhousie University’s Technical Writing Certificate
One of the more renowned technical writing certificates, Dalhousie University offers an in-debt writing program that covers everything you need to know about technical writing.
Besides learning the technical writing essentials, you’ll also learn how to analyze customers, create clear documents and product descriptions, create compelling strategy papers, etc.
Dalhousie’s course aims at writers, engineers, product managers, and anyone who faces professional communication obstacles.
You get the certificate after successfully completing four courses in total. The courses consist of an essential technical writing course and three specialized ones. Each course ends with either a test or writing assignment to test your knowledge and skills.
Another benefit worth noting is that you can attend the course at your own pace, but to get the certificate, you need to complete your final evaluation within four years.
To learn more, visit Dalhousie University’s website.
Dalhousie University’s Technical Writing Certificate Pricing
The total certificate cost for the Dalhousie Technical Writing Certificate is $1,980. You can also pay $495 per course if you prefer.
Who is the Dalhousie University’s Technical Writing Certificate For?
While Dalhousie Certificate is helpful for engineers and writers alike, it does offer a more advanced overview. Meaning, it might not be the best choice if you’re not certain about your writing career or if you need the knowledge in the first place.
This goes along with the price tag since $1,980 is a considerable amount. The course is best suited for people who are sure that they need the knowledge, especially if you’re a busy engineer looking to squiz in the course in your busy schedule.
7. American Medical Writer’s Association’s Medical Writer Certified (MWC)
Finally, here’s a specialized certificate for writers and people specializing in medical science writing.
The MWC is an exam-based certification that proves your expertise in writing medical papers and knowledge of core medical, technical documents. Although there are far fewer writers interested in this certificate than others, medical writing is one of the most rigorous writing jobs due to strict rules and regulations.
With that in mind, it can be difficult to find job opportunities as a writer specializing in healthcare without a trustworthy certificate. With MWC it will be easier to showcase your knowledge and credibility. Furthermore, it will boost your networking possibilities and marketability.
Keep in mind that t qualify you must have at least a bachelor’s degree in any field and a minimum of two years of experience in medical communication.
The test usually lasts for two and a half hours and puts your knowledge to the test with over 100 multiple-choice questions.
How Much Does the MWC by the American Medical Writer’s Association Cost?
To get the certificate, first, you need to apply for membership and pay $150. If you get approved, you need to pay an additional $495 for the exam.
Who Should Take the MWC by the American Medical Writer’s Association?
If you’re just starting as a writer and want to specialize in medical communication, you should probably wait until you gain experience. Besides the price tag, the certificate requires deep commitment and prior knowledge. Otherwise, you might find yourself too deep with well over $500 less in your pocket.
But if you’re already an established medical writer, the MWC is a great way to further cement yourself as a genuine professional.
Choosing the Right Technical Writing Certification for Your Career
You don’t necessarily need a college degree in the 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.
If you get some technical writing certifications under your belt helps you become better. 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 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 technical writing certification programs listed above.