Unable to select database "DATABASE_NAME" Become a Technical Writer in Maine - ME | Schools

Where to Get Started to Become a Technical Writer in Maine

Maine residents who are interested in technical writing careers always seem to have the same burning question. They want to know, “How do I get started in technical writing?” The good news is that there are a wide variety of different ways in which to go about entering into this vast and lucrative career field. The only bad news is that you have to put the work in yourself in order to determine which path of entry is right for you at this point in your life and for your career goals.

maine technical writing schools

Many people choose to get started as technical writers in the state by doing the seemingly logical thing, which is to pursue a degree in technical and/or professional writing. For many, this is a wise step. Such programs can teach you all about the technical writing industry, various programs you will likely use in your writing career, and basic grammatical, spelling, and formatting mechanics. The only downside to this option is that there isn’t much, if any, kind of focus on content area. A person who wanted to be a chemistry technical writer, for example, likely would spend very little or even no time learning about chemistry, which can be a real problem with potential employers. In fact, many employers in the state actually prefer a candidate with professional content knowledge than one with technical writing knowledge, because they feel that writing can be easily taught and/or learned through experience on the job, but content knowledge is much harder to come by. One option if you keep getting faced with employers who think like this is to supplement your technical and/or professional writing education with a few content area classes, a simple associate’s degree, or some kind of certification program.

The above mentality of so many employers is why more and more technical writers are choosing to simply get degrees in the content area that they wish to write about. A prospective biology technical writer, for example, might get a degree in biology, and a medical technical writer might study pharmacology, general medical studies, or even pre-medical studies. This degree can be of any level you desire, the higher the better. Just as you would supplement a technical writing degree with content knowledge, you could also supplement a content knowledge degree with medical writing classes or certification programs if you deem it necessary.

Outside of education, experience can play a large role. In fact, people are often hired to work as technical writers who have no formal experience studying the content area or even in technical writing, but who do have real, working experience in the field they are interested in. This experience doesn’t have to be extensive either. Receptionists at doctor’s offices, for instance, have often gone on to be medical technical writers. The school of thought on this is that these professionals are exposed to the jargon of the medical (or other content area) world daily and thus are more familiar with it and more capable of writing about it than the average person.

If you don’t have the benefit of already having this kind of experience, you can get it for yourself by choosing to take on a related internship. Internships can be paid, unpaid, or even taken for school credit, and you can find them through your current or former college or university, through online job search sites, or even by being proactive and contacting an employer you are interested in directly. This is a great way to build a resume and make important connections.

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