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Pennsylvania Technical Writer Licensing

Pennsylvania residents with an interest in technical writing careers often wonder if they need any kind of official license or certificate in order to work in the field. Surprisingly, the answer to that question is no. Absolutely anyone can be hired to be a technical writer. All it takes is one employer to think that a person is capable of doing the job right, and he or she is in. There are actually a number of ways, then, to get a foot in the door of this exciting industry, but there are definitely some ways that have proven to be more effective than others.

pennsylvania technical writing schools

One of the most tried and true ways to get noticed above the competition as a technical writer is to get a higher education that you can use to your advantage in the field. This doesn’t necessarily have to be an education in technical writing itself, though many people certainly do choose to go this route. Technical writing degrees are generally earned at the associate’s level, which takes around two years to complete on average and is typically earned from a community college or a technical school; at the bachelor’s level, which takes about four years to complete and is usually earned online or at a traditional school; or a master’s level, which takes about one to three years to complete on average and has the prerequisite of a bachelor’s degree that does not have to be in a related subject area. These degree programs focus on educating you on the technical writing industry in general, the various careers in technical writing, the mechanics of grammar and spelling, proper formatting for various types of technical writing documents; and on how to use different types of programs and technology involved in technical writing. Though technical and/or general professional writing degrees used to be the norm in this industry, more and more employers are now preferring to hire those who studied content areas in school. While this does not mean that you can’t make your technical writing degree work for you, it may mean that supplementing your technical writing education with content area training or coursework might not be such a bad idea.

Of course, you can simply choose to major in a content area of your choosing. This should be an area, of course, in which technical writers are called upon and used extensively and frequently. Common choices include mathematics, chemistry, biology, engineering, environmental studies, English, medical studies, pharmacology, anything relating to computers or computer programming, and many more. The idea is that as long as you are very educated in and skilled with the content area, technical writing skills can be learned through experience or with a simple and quick training course. Another great thing about a content area degree is that, should you decide technical writing is not for you, you will have something to fall back on. Plus you have a much wider range of schools, educational programs, and majors to choose from.

Not everyone, though, enters into the technical writing field through schooling. Some people become technical writers through their own work experience. If you have had any kind of job, especially a long lasting one, in any field for which technical writers are employed, that might just be all you need to get hired, especially if you still have good, solid connections in that industry. Your position doesn’t have to be something super impressive either; entry level jobs and every secretarial or receptionist type positions lend themselves well to technical writing. After all, people in these positions become quite familiar with the jargon and workplace attitudes and appropriate behavior associated with the particular field.

If you can’t get real, working experience and/or you don’t think school is a right or realistic choice for you at this point in time, you can instead try to take on an internship or other experiential learning opportunity. These are great, simple ways to build up a resume and to gain real world experience in the field. In fact, they are even recommended for those who already have degrees. For anyone, they are a good way to meet people who can help you reach your career goals.

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