Technical Writer: Job Outlook and Educational Requirements

Technical writers require some formal education. Learn about degree programs, job duties and skills needed to see if this is the right career for you.

Technical writers are usually required to have a minimum of a bachelor's degree in English, communication, or related field. This job demands clear and excellent writing skills, as well as other qualifications.

Essential Information

Technical writers translate complex, technical information into clear and simple language. They compose a variety of documents, such as training manuals, assembly instructions, online customer service guides and technical reports. Technical writers might specialize in one field, such as software reporting or medical writing. People in this profession usually have at least a bachelor's degree. For a detail-oriented person who likes explaining things, working as a technical writer might be ideal.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Additional Skills Online publication abilities, information management, research
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 10% (faster than average)
Median Annual Salary (2015)* $70,240

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), technical writer employment was expected to increase 10% from 2014-2024, which is faster than average. This job growth can be attributed in part to developments in technology, medical and scientific advancements and the need for professionals to translate specialized data for laypersons. Technical writers who can produce user manuals and training guides will experience greater employment in the technology and electronics industries.

Salary Information

In May 2015, the BLS reported that technical writers earned a median salary of $70,240. The highest-paying industries were professional, scientific and technical services; information; administrative and support services; and manufacturing. The median salary ranges for these industries were $68,140 and $72,850.

Education Requirements

Technical writers are typically required to hold bachelor's degrees. While some technical writers enter the occupation with degrees applicable to a technical specialty, most have a degree in English, journalism, communications or a related field. Some colleges and universities offer bachelor's degree programs in English with concentrations in writing. These programs consist of 4-year curricula that provide students with a solid grasp of English and communication skills so that they can write across a variety of genres and fields. Courses might include:

  • Technical writing
  • Writing theory
  • Journalism
  • Fiction
  • Non-fiction
  • Editing
  • Web writing

Writer Qualifications

Along with strong writing and communication skills, technical writers must be proficient in online publishing software and programs. The ability to produce video and audio for the Web might be required for some positions. Technical writers often handle large amounts of complex data, so information management skills are necessary. A sharp eye for detail, research skills and the ability to work under strict deadlines are also important for a career in technical writing.

A technical writer's job is to turn intricate, jargonistic technical documentation into comprehensible prose for product/service manuals, guides, and the like. With the increasing amount of technology in various fields, more technical writers will be needed as job growth is expected to increase by 10%.

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