Online Graduate Certificate in Technical Writing

Apr 27, 2020

Information on Online Technical Writing Graduate Certificates

Online graduate certificate programs in technical writing are designed for individuals who seek to become professional writers in technical fields within the industrial, technological, business, and government sectors. This certificate program is appropriate for both working professionals and students, as it can be pursued completely online. The program length of these certificates typically ranges from a few months to one or two years.

An online graduate certificate in technical writing familiarizes students with designing and developing different kinds of documents for technical communication purposes. These documents include presentations, case studies, user manuals, infographics, reports, handbooks brochures, and video scripts.

Requirements for an Online Technical Writing Graduate Certificate

These certificate programs introduce the theories, principles, and competencies required for delivering quality technical content. The program curriculum typically includes courses in technical writing, editing, rhetoric, grant writing, professional writing, and ethics in writing.

Information and Requirements

Admission to an online graduate certificate requires an accredited bachelor's degree; some programs might also require a minimum GPA. You might have to submit official transcripts of the undergraduate degree and letters of recommendation at the time of admission. A few schools might also mandate the submission of GRE scores.

As for the program curriculum, some programs might only include as few as four required courses while other programs require you to take a core course or two and then select from a range of electives. In the case of a few programs, you might have to submit portfolios or sample work by the end of the program.

Common Course Topics

Technical Writing

A course on technical writing focuses on the basic theories and practices of technical writing. The course might also explain how to apply these theories in different scenarios found in science, technology, and business and how to overcome the challenges in technical writing through different strategies. Students could also learn to produce technical documents of varying difficulty for a range of audiences and platforms, including social media and the web.

Technical Editing

Students in a technical editing course will be able to improve their skills in editing both print and web-based technical content so it meets the needs of the targeted audience. The course deals with format, punctuation, spelling, and grammar, and it might also introduce practices in technical editing, like comprehensive editing, copy marking, web editing, and copy editing.


A rhetoric course focuses on the art of using persuasion in technical writing. The course might explain the history of rhetoric and the theories related to it. Students might also look at the criticism of certain types of rhetoric, such as social rhetoric, and explore the use of visual language to persuade an audience.

Career Outlook after Graduate Certificate in Technical Writing

With a graduate certificate in technical writing, the career options available to you are vast. These options could include technical writer, editor, public relations specialist, grant writer, and technology reporter.

According to May 2019 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual wage was $76,860 for technical writers and $71,910 for editors. Technical writers were expected to experience a faster than average job growth of 8% in the period from 2018-2028, whereas editors were expected to face a 3% decline in job growth during the same 10-year period. Public relations specialists earned an average of $70,190 per year as of 2019 and should experience a job growth of 6% for 2018-2028, which is as fast as the average.

An online graduate certificate program in technical writing is useful for individuals who seek careers such as technical writer, grant writer, science reporter, or public relations specialist. These certificates include courses in technical writing and editing as well as rhetoric and grant writing.

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