The Internet has transformed how people communicate, creating a need for experienced writers to simplify and clarify technical information. Technical writing jobs will increase by 10 percent in the next decade, so you might consider technical writing as a career. If you do, get certified.
What Do Employers Expect of Technical Writers?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the primary education requirement for all technical writing jobs is a college degree. Professional writers must also have a foundation in effective writing skills and hands-on experience and education in the technical field they aspire to cover. You do not need a technical writing certification to be a technical writer, but it shows a commitment and level of excellence that impresses employers. Here are three well-regarded organizations, each offering a certificate in technical writing.
1. American Medical Writers Association
The medical field requires one of the most specialized forms of technical writing, and the American Medical Writers Association offers the opportunity to become Medical Writer Certified. To apply for that certification, you must have two years of medical communications experience and a bachelor’s degree. Once accepted, Medical Writer Certified writers must complete continuing education courses to keep their certification current. People who maintain their certificate may use the MWC distinction after their names.
2. Society for Technical Communicators
The Society for Technical Communication has a three-tiered professional certification program: Foundation, Practitioner, and Expert. The testing process is increasingly rigorous with each certification level. Certification through the Society gives technical writers an advantage over colleagues when vying for jobs, promotions, and pay increases.
3. National Association of Science Writers
Technical writers in the sciences are in high demand. The National Association of Science Writers, founded in 1934, aims to share accurate information about science-related issues with science professionals and the public. Membership is highly competitive, and acceptance is proof of writing proficiency and scientific knowledge. Applicants must submit five pieces they’ve written in the last five years, along with two current NASW members’ recommendations.
Certification shows employers that you have the writing ability, specialized training, and knowledge to synthesize technical information in a specialized area. When you’re creating pieces for review or publication, use an editing software like WordRake to ensure you convey technical information clearly and concisely. Clear, concise, and effective writing is always important; in the technical fields, it’s critical.
About the Author
Caroline Engle is WordRake’s Marketing Communications Specialist. She convinced WordRake to hire her as an intern after placing in editing competitions and writing a novel in a month. When she isn’t editing or writing copy, coordinating conference logistics, or helping improve WordRake’s functionality, she’s reading, going on ten-mile walks, or looking up flight prices. Connect with her on LinkedIn here.