Graduate Certificate in Technical Communication: Program Options

Graduate certificate programs in technical communication teach students to impart information visually through document design and writing information-dense text. These programs are usually offered through communications and English departments.

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Essential Information

In a technical communications graduate certificate program, students learn how to create workplace communication that persuades, expresses and explains through various multimedia formats, as well as through the composition and editing of text. They explore how to build websites, proposals, reports and manuals with applications in the medical, technical and scientific communities. Programs are generally one semester in duration and may be offered online. A bachelor's degree in any subject and a portfolio is necessary before applying to these programs.

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Graduate Certificate in Technical Communication

Students enrolled in a graduate certificate program in technical communication learn about the technology required to create various types of documents and presentations. Students may be asked to submit a portfolio as an example of their work prior to earning the certificate. As they prepare for careers as documentation specialists and editors, among others, students explore the following topics:

  • Cross-cultural communication
  • Digital literacy
  • Information design
  • Technical editing
  • Visual design

Employment Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), technical writers are projected to see a 10% increase in employment opportunities from 2014-2024 ( The BLS also forecast that, for the same decade, job opportunities for graphic designers are expected to grow 1%.

The May 2015 BLS report showed that the 49,770 professional technical writers earned a median annual wage of $70,240. That BLS also reported that there were 204,850 graphic design professionals in May 2015 and their annual median salary was $46,900.

Continuing Education

Graduate-level training is also available through Master of Arts and Master of Science degree programs in technical communications; Ph.D. programs are also available for students. At these levels, coursework covers research methods and how to use intercultural analysis and ethics to communicate a set of ideas to a community of people. Graduates are prepared to produce multimedia tutorials, websites and electronic help wizards.

Technical communications graduate certificate programs give those with a bachelor's degree a basic knowledge of topics such as digital literacy and information design. These skills are useful in a wide variety of industries and can improve graduates' career prospects.

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