Many colleges offer certificate programs in professional business writing through their continuing education departments. Electives in business writing can also be taken as part of professional writing bachelor's or master's programs. These programs are frequently offered in both on-campus and online formats. Classes in this field teach students to craft correspondence and reports using a professional and persuasive tone. Students may also learn about technical writing or writing for the Web.
Here is an outline of common concepts explored in business writing courses:
- Principles of professional writing
- Grammar, spelling and punctuation
- Audience analysis
- Document design and presentation
- E-mail: Writing style and tone
List of Courses
Essential Business Grammar
Primarily intended for those who already possess a command of basic grammar, this course focuses on the grammar specific to business writing. Students learn how to use AP style, which is most often used in the corporate world. Students train to use correct punctuation and vocabulary, avoid passive voice, appropriate commas and correctly employ adverbs. This course is typically taken at the start of a certificate program.
Students learn how to write clear, persuasive memos, e-mails, reports and letters for an office environment. They also practice recording and presenting meeting minutes. Business writing classes teach the basics of writing and formatting each of these materials, as well as how to generate the correct response from a given reader or audience. Students also study business protocols, note taking and concision writing.
In this course, students learn how to edit their own work as well as that of their peers. Important grammatical errors are discussed, and students also explore how to make sentences and paragraphs clear and elegant. Students learn how to find and replace repetitive vocabulary with variety and accuracy. Correct connectors, modifiers and punctuation are revisited. Students must also describe the mood and tone of documents.
This course is taken early in a certificate program, because research skills honed throughout this course can be applied to most future business writing classes. Students learn to remain unbiased, research information and create business relationships. They also practice conceptualizing reports, preparing notes, organizing content and writing reports in blocks.
Writing Technical Manuals
A technical manual must be easy to read and comprehend by someone without the same education or background as those who developed the product. This course teaches student how to produce such documents, which may include instruction manuals, computer manuals and safety manuals. Writers must know the audience they are addressing; readers of the manual may have special needs or abilities to keep in mind. Students are taught to use visual aids and speed boxes while providing instructions on how to do a series of tasks. They must also test the accuracy of their instructions. Students may take this course as an elective at any time after the basic courses.