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Technical Writers picture    Technical Writers image

Technical Writers

Technical writers, also known as technical communicators, develop a wide array of technical written materials including catalogs, manuals, proposals, part listings and instructions. They often explain scientific, technical, engineering and healthcare issues using easy to understand language.

Technical writers are increasingly utilizing various multimedia formats to provide information in a manner that makes complicated concepts easily understood. Technical writers work in almost every industry. In addition some technical writers are self-employed.

They prepare documentation for computer programs. Some technical writers develop reports and articles regarding scientific research for magazines and web sites. Many technical communicators work in information technology related businesses. A growing number of technical writers are utilizing technical content to resolve business communication problems in a number of industries.

Some technical writers collaborate with scientists, engineers, software developers and computer specialists in order to manage the flow of information among project workgroups during development and testing. Technical communicators may also collaborate with call center or customer service managers to enhance the quality of end-user assistance and product support.

Responsibilities

  • Collect information
  • Organize materials for projects
  • Develop written materials
  • Meet deadlines
  • Edit materials prepared by other writers or individuals
  • Revise their text to improve it
  • Meet with customers or others to establish technical specifications and determine subject material
  • Choose photographs, drawings, diagrams and charts to illustrate material
  • Confer with publishers and clients to discuss revisions

Job Characteristics

Writers are able to work from their home and other locations due to laptop computers and advances in electronic communications. The Internet provides more flexibility in where and how technical writers complete their assignments. Some writers work from offices. Some writers set their own hours, however some writers do have regular office hours. Sometimes writers work in the evenings and on weekends in order to meet deadlines.

Being knowledgeable about desktop or electronic publishing software, scanners and other types of electronic communications equipment is important for the occupation. Those that develop material for the Internet should be knowledgeable about page layout, graphic design and multimedia software. They should also be knowledgeable about interactive technologies of the Web in order to combine text with graphics, animation, video and audio.

Technical writers should have good writing and communication skills and have the ability to express ideas clearly and logically. They should also be detailed oriented and have the ability to comprehend complex materials and explain it in easy to understand language.

Some common job titles are information developer, documentation designer, technical communicator, engineering writer and documentation specialist.

Employment Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has forecasted an 18 percent employment growth for technical writers between 2008 and 2018 which is faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for technical writers is projected to increase due to the continuing expansion of technical and scientific information and the growth of customer service and web based product support networks. Growth and changes in electronic and high-technology industries and the increasing amount of information provided on the Web will also increase the demand for technical writers.

The median annual earnings for salaried technical writers in 2008 was $61,620. Regarding the industries employing the largest number of technical writers, the software publishing industry is one of the highest paying sectors.

Many firms and freelance technical writers provide technical writing services on a contract basis. Building a reputation and meeting deadlines are important factors for getting more assignments.

Education, Certification, and Licensing

Employers typically seek candidates that have earned a bachelor's degree and often prefer degrees in journalism, communications or English. Some technical writing jobs require experience along with either a degree or knowledge in a specialized field such as medicine or engineering. Knowledge about web design and computer graphics is also useful due to the growing use of online technical documentation.

Resources

Major Employers

The top industries for employment are computer systems and software, computer and electronics manufacturing; architectural, engineering and related services; management, scientific and technical consulting services; scientific research and development services; publishing, and information technology related sectors.

Schools for Technical Writers are listed in the Browse Schools Section.

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for:
Technical Writers

Listed below are metro areas sorted by the total number of people employed in Technical Writers jobs , as of 2015

Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

     
Metro Area (Alabama) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Huntsville 340 $61,150
Hoover 90 $59,290
Birmingham 90 $59,290
Montgomery 30 $63,020
Mobile N/A $56,760
     
Metro Area (Alaska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anchorage 50 $61,670
     
Metro Area (Arizona) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Phoenix 710 $62,420
Scottsdale 710 $62,420
Mesa 710 $62,420
Tucson 150 $59,320
Yuma 30 $61,360
     
Metro Area (Arkansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Conway 80 $48,230
North Little Rock 80 $48,230
Little Rock 80 $48,230
     
Metro Area (California) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anaheim 2210 $77,980
Los Angeles 2210 $77,980
Long Beach 2210 $77,980
Oakland 1760 $83,420
Hayward 1760 $83,420
San Francisco 1760 $83,420
Sunnyvale 1360 $112,660
Santa Clara 1360 $112,660
San Jose 1360 $112,660
Carlsbad 730 $95,040
San Diego 730 $95,040
Arcade 230 $74,460
Sacramento 230 $74,460
Roseville 230 $74,460
Arden 230 $74,460
San Bernardino 170 $74,730
Riverside 170 $74,730
Ontario 170 $74,730
Ventura 160 $84,780
Thousand Oaks 160 $84,780
Oxnard 160 $84,780
Vallejo 90 $58,350
Fairfield 90 $58,350
Bakersfield 70 $62,580
Santa Maria 70 $74,180
Santa Barbara 70 $74,180
Santa Rosa 70 $78,700
Fresno 50 $74,020
Santa Cruz 40 $91,830
Watsonville 40 $91,830
Stockton N/A $67,070
Lodi N/A $67,070
     
Metro Area (Colorado) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lakewood 870 $67,360
Aurora 870 $67,360
Denver 870 $67,360
Boulder 190 $77,990
Colorado Springs 140 $64,240
Fort Collins 70 $69,400
     
Metro Area (Connecticut) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Hartford 230 $81,890
East Hartford 230 $81,890
West Hartford 230 $81,890
Stamford 160 $78,230
Bridgeport 160 $78,230
Norwalk 160 $78,230
New Haven 70 $79,850
     
Metro Area (Florida) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Palm Beach 420 $56,860
Miami 420 $56,860
Fort Lauderdale 420 $56,860
St. Petersburg 410 $59,420
Clearwater 410 $59,420
Tampa 410 $59,420
Kissimmee 350 $57,150
Sanford 350 $57,150
Orlando 350 $57,150
Crestview 340 $61,100
Destin 340 $61,100
Fort Walton Beach 340 $61,100
Titusville 140 $61,860
Melbourne 140 $61,860
Palm Bay 140 $61,860
Jacksonville 130 $62,110
Bradenton 60 $62,460
North Port 60 $62,460
Sarasota 60 $62,460
Ferry Pass 60 $79,570
Pensacola 60 $79,570
Brent 60 $79,570
Tallahassee N/A $54,270
     
Metro Area (Georgia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Roswell 730 $73,480
Sandy Springs 730 $73,480
Atlanta 730 $73,480
Warner Robins 40 $64,430
     
Metro Area (Hawaii) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Urban Honolulu 40 $40,830
     
Metro Area (Idaho) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Boise City 150 $58,250
Idaho Falls 40 $67,890
     
Metro Area (Illinois) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Rockford 40 $61,300
Peoria 40 $63,590
Bloomington 40 $67,630
     
Metro Area (Indiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anderson 350 $68,050
Carmel 350 $68,050
Indianapolis 350 $68,050
Fort Wayne 30 $60,930
     
Metro Area (Iowa) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Cedar Rapids 140 $57,810
West Des Moines 90 $48,150
Des Moines 90 $48,150
Waterloo 40 $47,240
Cedar Falls 40 $47,240
Dubuque N/A $43,900
     
Metro Area (Kansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Wichita 130 $60,680
Topeka 30 $54,010
     
Metro Area (Kentucky) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Fayette 90 $61,590
Lexington 90 $61,590
     
Metro Area (Louisiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Baton Rouge 70 $60,630
Metairie 40 $66,360
New Orleans 40 $66,360
Thibodaux N/A $37,890
Houma N/A $37,890
     
Metro Area (Maine) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Portland 70 $50,300
Portland 70 $50,300
     
Metro Area (Maryland) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Baltimore 900 $77,540
Towson 900 $77,540
Columbia 900 $77,540
Lexington Park 110 $72,230
California 110 $72,230
     
Metro Area (Massachusetts) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Barnstable Town N/A $86,380
     
Metro Area (Michigan) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Dearborn 540 $71,040
Detroit 540 $71,040
Warren 540 $71,040
Wyoming 80 $53,640
Grand Rapids 80 $53,640
Ann Arbor 70 $63,260
East Lansing 50 $61,390
Lansing 50 $61,390
Portage 40 $61,770
Kalamazoo 40 $61,770
     
Metro Area (Minnesota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Rochester 30 $56,850
     
Metro Area (Missouri) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Columbia 60 $41,390
Springfield 60 $49,200
     
Metro Area (Nebraska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lincoln 90 $48,230
     
Metro Area (Nevada) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Paradise 120 $65,440
Henderson 120 $65,440
Las Vegas 120 $65,440
Reno 40 $71,970
     
Metro Area (New Jersey) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Trenton 140 $82,490
Hammonton 30 $81,210
Atlantic City 30 $81,210
     
Metro Area (New Mexico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Albuquerque 250 $66,830
     
Metro Area (New York) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Rochester 250 $65,230
Niagara Falls 120 $50,580
Cheektowaga 120 $50,580
Buffalo 120 $50,580
Schenectady 100 $68,970
Troy 100 $68,970
Albany 100 $68,970
Syracuse 80 $73,020
     
Metro Area (North Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Raleigh 750 $78,130
Durham 310 $77,790
Chapel Hill 310 $77,790
Greensboro 50 $60,010
High Point 50 $60,010
Winston 40 $66,070
Salem 40 $66,070
Rocky Mount 30 $71,140
     
Metro Area (Ohio) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Columbus 290 $59,360
Elyria 220 $63,590
Cleveland 220 $63,590
Dayton 170 $57,320
Akron 80 $56,430
Toledo 30 $61,640
     
Metro Area (Oklahoma) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Oklahoma City 240 $64,780
Tulsa 150 $53,410
Lawton N/A $46,790
     
Metro Area (Pennsylvania) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Pittsburgh 280 $59,220
Harrisburg 70 $44,000
Carlisle 70 $44,000
Barre 50 $39,530
Wilkes 50 $39,530
Scranton 50 $39,530
Hazleton 50 $39,530
Reading N/A $71,790
     
Metro Area (Puerto Rico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Caguas 80 $29,150
Carolina 80 $29,150
San Juan 80 $29,150
     
Metro Area (South Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
North Charleston 130 $67,260
Charleston 130 $67,260
Mauldin 110 $50,370
Greenville 110 $50,370
Anderson 110 $50,370
Columbia 100 $60,510
Florence 30 $76,560
     
Metro Area (South Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Sioux Falls 50 $46,470
     
Metro Area (Tennessee) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Franklin 270 $50,570
Murfreesboro 270 $50,570
Davidson 270 $50,570
Nashville 270 $50,570
Knoxville 130 $58,890
     
Metro Area (Texas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Arlington 1580 $69,130
Dallas 1580 $69,130
Fort Worth 1580 $69,130
Sugar Land 1240 $72,410
The Woodlands 1240 $72,410
Houston 1240 $72,410
Austin 500 $62,110
Round Rock 500 $62,110
New Braunfels 330 $58,590
San Antonio 330 $58,590
Waco 60 $63,320
El Paso 60 $79,300
Temple 40 $60,250
Killeen 40 $60,250
Amarillo N/A $64,180
     
Metro Area (Utah) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Salt Lake City 300 $61,090
Orem 160 $60,260
Provo 160 $60,260
Clearfield 130 $66,360
Ogden 130 $66,360
     
Metro Area (Vermont) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Burlington 70 $56,130
Burlington 70 $56,130
     
Metro Area (Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Richmond 160 $65,840
Charlottesville 90 $74,860
Roanoke N/A $57,320
     
Metro Area (Washington) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bellevue 890 $81,370
Tacoma 890 $81,370
Seattle 890 $81,370
Richland 110 $71,550
Kennewick 110 $71,550
Spokane Valley 50 $49,410
Spokane 50 $49,410
Bellingham N/A $67,980
     
Metro Area (Wisconsin) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Milwaukee 460 $61,230
Waukesha 460 $61,230
West Allis 460 $61,230
Madison 320 $57,310
Green Bay 50 $49,400
Appleton 30 $57,620
Racine N/A $58,720
Fond du Lac N/A $62,800

Career Stories (Job Profiles) for Technical Writers

To find out more about building a career as Technical Writers, we spoke with professionals in the field across a variety of specialties. Learn about their experiences on the job, the steps they took to complete their education, and what it takes to excel in this industry. Click the link to see a story.

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Most Popular Industries for :
Technical Writers

Industries representing at least 1% of total jobs for the occupation.

Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Industry Jobs Percent Annual Median Salary
Professional And Technical Services 18,520 39% $62,510
Traditional Publishing 5,140 11% $63,440
Electronics And Computer 4,030 8% $66,600
Office Services And Staffing 3,050 6% $60,310
Automotive And Vehicle Manufacturing 1,910 4% $63,850
Business Management 1,390 2% $60,650
Machinery 1,360 2% $50,350
Government 1,330 2% $65,360
Chemicals 1,280 2% $60,160
Durable Goods Wholesale 1,040 2% $60,980
Education 920 1% $54,590
Performing Arts And Sports 880 1% $58,060
Internet Service Provider 790 1% $61,340
Insurance 560 1% $53,590
These schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles). Request info from multiple schools, by clicking the Request Info links.
 
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CityTownInfo Career and College Resources

We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Technical Writers.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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