Careers in Technical Communication
Technical communication is all about taking complex technical information and presenting it in a way that is easily understood by the average person. Technical communicators, or technical writers as they are commonly called, develop and disperse content for customers and manufacturers. Technical writers earned a median pay of $63,280 per year in 2010, with the lowest 10% earning less than $37,160 and the highest 10% earning more than $100,910, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
As far as job projections go, the BLS reports that technical writing employment will increase by 17% from 2010 to 2020, adding a total of 8,500 jobs. However, these numbers are only estimates and not actual guarantees of salary or employment.
Required Education for Technical Communication
A bachelor’s degree is typically required for entry-level employment in this field, preferably in the areas of English, journalism, or communications. In these types of majors, students develop strong writing and presentation skills and learn how to clearly communicate ideas and information to general or specialized audiences through print and digital media. Therefore, students in these majors should be ready for writing-intensive course work in classes like rhetorical theory, instructional design, documentation management, visual communication, reporting, and copyediting.
Since technical communications jobs can often be industry specific, it also helps to have additional knowledge of fields, such as engineering, technology, or medicine. This means picking up a minor or taking some extra classes might not be a bad idea.