Technical Writer Colleges and Schools in the U.S.

Technical writers put technical information into a logical, easy-to-understand format for businesses related to information technology. Certificate, bachelor's degree, and master's degree programs are available in the technical writing specialty.

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Future technical writers can find training options at the undergraduate and graduate levels, along with some distance learning options. Educational programs can be found at public and private 4-year universities around the country.

10 Schools with Technical Writing Programs

These ten schools offer some form of technical writing education to students:

College/University Location Institution Type Programs Offered In-state Tuition (2015-2016)*
University of Central Florida Orlando, FL 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's $6,368 (undergraduate), $8,872 (graduate)
Michigan State University East Lansing, MI 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's $13,560 (undergraduate), $16,122 (graduate)
Pennsylvania State University Abington, PA 4-year, Public Undergraduate Certificate $13,954
University of Washington - Seattle Campus Seattle, WA 4-year, Public Undergraduate Certificate $11,839
University of North Texas Denton, TX 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Graduate Certificate, Master's $9,730 (undergraduate), $7,165 (graduate)
North Carolina State University at Raleigh Raleigh, NC 4-year, Public Undergraduate Certificate, Bachelor's, Master's $8,581 (undergraduate), $10,224 (graduate)
George Mason University Fairfax, VA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Graduate Certificate, Master's, Doctorate $10,952 (undergraduate), $13,304 (graduate)
San Francisco State University San Francisco, CA 4-year, Public Undergraduate Certificate, Bachelor's $6,476
Texas State University - San Marcos San Marcos, TX 4-year, Public Master's $7,786
West Virginia University Morgantown, WV 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's $7,632 (undergraduate), $8,568 (graduate)

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Consider the following when looking for technical writing schools:

  • Prospective students may want to find out what the pass rates are for graduates on voluntary certification exams, such as the one offered by the Society for Technical Communication.
  • Because writing students usually take supplementary electives in a technical field of interest, such as science or engineering, it can be helpful to find out about the school's reputation in that area.
  • When considering programs that include internships, prospective students should make sure that options are available in the industry where they plan to work in the future.
  • Working professionals who want to go back to school to study technical writing may wish to look for certificate programs that are available online or in part-time formats.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the minimum education for a technical writer is usually a bachelor's degree. To prepare, many students choose a major in English, communications or journalism. There are also a few schools that offer specific majors in technical and professional writing, which introduce students to the basics of writing for industry. However, some jobs also require expertise in a technical field like engineering, information technology, science or medicine, so undergraduates may choose a double major, minor or certificate in their specialization area of interest.

Master's Degree Programs

At the master's degree level, it is possible to major in technical/professional writing, or to pursue the subject as a concentration within a broader English program. In these programs, students are required to fulfill extensive reading and writing requirements. They also take elective courses in their technical field of interest, and they may complete an internship or practicum prior to graduation. In total, these programs typically take two to three years to complete.

Doctoral Degree Programs

Although doctoral programs in professional writing are rare, there are a few schools that offer relevant PhD programs. In addition to the writing courses and technical electives included in master's degree programs, students also conduct research in a writing-related topic. For instance, they may study more productive approaches to writing for industry, or study how new technologies can be discussed in a more accessible way. Teaching requirements may also be included in the program, helping to prepare graduates for jobs as professors in academic institutions.

Certificate Programs

Undergraduate and graduate certificate programs are available for individuals who want to redirect their careers toward technical writing without committing to a full degree program. These programs cover the fundamentals of the field, and they are often available online or in part-time formats in order to meet the needs of working professionals. In graduate certificate programs, students are usually expected to have some level of previous writing experience.

Many schools offer technical writer education programs at the certificate, bachelor's, master's, and even doctoral levels. Students can consider their career goals when choosing between programs, as well as scheduling options and internship opportunities the school offers.

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