5 Best Courses for Technical Writing Certifications
If you’re passionate about the written word and want to potentially rake in six figures, a career as a technical writer could be for you.Make a Free Invoice Now
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this profession is expected to grow 6% year-over-year for the next 10 years. Even better, many technical writers work for themselves, offering their services on a freelance or contractual basis.
Though breaking into this industry can be tricky, a technical writing certificate can help you score your first job. A certificate can also help industry veterans get their next big promotion.
Read on to learn more about technical writing certifications and the best courses to get certified.
What is a Technical Writing Certification?
A technical writing certificate is a document that illustrates your ability to communicate complicated concepts in a way that’s clear, concise, and compelling.
Typically, you receive a technical writing certificate after completing a series of classes. These classes may cover technical writing forms like user manuals, white papers, API documentation, and more.
To receive a technical writing certificate, you may also be expected to complete an exam or provide a final deliverable such as a proposal or report.
Why Should You Get a Technical Writing Certification?
First and foremost, a technical writing certification can help you become a more proficient writer. As such, you will have the skills needed to provide clients with the documentation they need to grow their brands.
Other benefits include:
- More advanced job opportunities
- Higher earning potential
- A competitive advantage when applying for gigs
- The ability to change careers
- Enhanced credibility in your field
5 Best Courses for Technical Writing Certifications
Whether you’re completely new to the writing world or a seasoned pro hoping to level up your game, a technical writing certificate can catalyze your career. But which certificate programs are worth your time and money?
After scouring the web and chatting with industry experts, we have rounded up the five best courses for technical writing certification.
1. Technical Writing Certification Course by Technical Writer HQ
Are you a self-described grammarist with strong opinions about Oxford commas? Or do you tend to lean heavily into autocorrect? Either way, the Technical Writing Certification Course by Technical Writer HQ is worth your time.
Created by company founder Josh Fetcher, this self-paced class starts with the basics and then dives headfirst into topics like:
- Analyzing your audience
- Structuring sentences
- Interviewing subject matter experts
- Conducting research
- Writing white papers, user manuals, and case studies
Josh has also incorporated expert advice from technical writers at companies like Oracle, PlayStation, and Airbnb.
The course concludes with a capstone project that can be showcased in your writing portfolio.
- Best For: Aspiring technical writers and seasoned pros craving a refresher
- Key Features: 70+ lectures, 10+ downloadable writing templates, and exclusive interviews with technical writing professionals from companies like Spotify and Airbnb
- Duration: Self-paced, can be completed in one month
- Pricing: $299 with lifetime access
2. Technical Writing Certificate by Oregon State University
If you’re looking to jumpstart your career with a more collegiate learning experience, look no further than Oregon State University’s Technical Writing Certificate.
Led by university professors, this certificate program features six asynchronous courses:
- Introduction to Technical Writing
- Manuals: Instructions and Overviews
- Usability and User-Centered Design
- Technical Editing: SOPs and Flowcharts
- Single-Sourcing and Methodology
- Portfolio Creation
You will walk away from each of these classes with a compelling writing sample. Then, in the final course, your instructors will teach you how to design a portfolio using WordPress.
If you don’t have the bandwidth to finish the entire certificate program, don’t despair. The university allows you to pick and choose the classes you need most. Even better? The first class is completely free.
- Best For: Budding technical writers who prefer a more formal learning environment
- Key Features: Six online classes led by college instructors
- Duration: Each asynchronous course lasts four weeks
- Pricing: $2,495 (+$60 registration fee)
3. Coursera Technical Writing Courses
Working on a tight budget? Coursera can help.
As one of the world’s largest e-learning platforms, Coursera offers more than 7,000 self-paced courses in topics ranging from Buddhist meditation to Java programming. Luckily for you, this website also has its fair share of online technical writing courses.
Two crowd favorites include:
- English Communication for Tech Professionals: Offered by Arizona State University, this class is designed for developers and software engineers who want to brush up on skills like grammar and vocabulary.
- Word Choice and Word Order: Designed by the University of Michigan, this beginner-level course takes a hard look at syntax, punctuation, and style.
Most of Coursera’s classes are completely free. However, if you want to access graded assignments or receive course credit, you will need to purchase a subscription.
- Best Fore: Technical writing newbies and veterans working on a shoestring budget
- Key Features: Reading materials, videos, quizzes, flashcards, and instructor feedback
- Duration: Depends on the course, but typically 10 weeks
- Pricing: Many classes are free. However, to receive a professional certificate, you will need to purchase a subscription ($39.99+ per month).
4. Certificate in Technical Writing by the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire
Are you hoping to make a big career jump, say from corporate financing to communications? If so, check out the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire’s Certificate in Technical Writing.
Now in its fifteenth year, this online certificate series caters to rookies with little to no writing experience.
As such, the program consists of three progressive courses:
- Introduction to Technical Writing for Industry: You will begin by learning more about the profession and what your day-to-day will look like as a technical writer.
- Intermediate Technical Writing: In this course, you will collaborate with a professor to sharpen your writing skills and develop portfolio samples.
- Advanced Technical Writing: Finally, you will use the skills you have acquired to plan and prepare a professional proposal.
- Best For: Inexperienced writers hoping to make a career change
- Key Features: Three progressive, instructor-led courses
- Duration: About five months
- Pricing: $975
5. Certified Professional Technical Communicator (CPTC) by the STC
If you really want your resume to stand out, you need to become a Certified Professional Technical Communicator.
Bestowed by the Society for Technical Communication (STC), this designation is a widely recognized credential that will help you land your next big gig.
This program is split into three tiers: foundation, practitioner, and expert. Passing the examination for the foundation certification will unlock the practitioner examination. From there, you can make the leap to becoming an expert. (The STC has yet to announce details regarding the expert exam.)
To start this certification process, it’s recommended that you become an STC member.
- Best For: Industry veterans who want to climb the corporate ladder
- Key Features: Three certification exams based on Richard Johnson-Sheehan’s Technical Communication Today
- Duration: Exam preparation varies from person to person
- Pricing: The foundation certificate costs $260 for STC members and $515 for non-members. The practitioner certificate costs $410 for STC members and $615 for non-members.
Choosing the Right Course for Your Career
Which technical writing certificate program is right for you?
That depends on various factors, from your budget to what you want to take away from the course. To help you make a wise investment, we offer a comparison chart below.
But if you want our two cents, we believe the Technical Writing Certification Course by Technical Writer HQ provides the most bang for your buck.
For $299, you get access to exclusive interviews with writers from some of the world’s most successful startups. You also walk away with a deliverable that can be showcased in your writing portfolio. Plus, once you pay the initial fee, you’re afforded lifetime access to the platform.
A Comparison of Technical Writing Certifications
Technical Writer HQ
Very flexible; self-paced, lifetime access
Expert advice from thought leaders
Oregon State University
$2,495 (+$60 registration fee)
Asynchronous, but you must register during certain timeframes
Guidance on creating a writing portfolio
Depends on the course you select
Free options are available
University of Wisconsin Eau Claire
You must start and end the course within a predetermined time frame
Edited writing samples for your portfolio
$260 – $615
Examination schedules vary by location
Widely recognized in the industry
Technical Writing Certification FAQs
Is a technical writing certificate worth it?
Yes. A technical writing certificate can help you become a more competent and proficient writer. It can also help your resume stand out from the crowd.
How can I become a certified technical writer?
To become a certified technical writer, you will need to either go to a university or take an online certification course. These courses usually require that you pass an examination or complete a capstone project.
How much do technical writing certifications cost?
That depends. Options range from around $40 to thousands of dollars.