Where do you want to work?
A college degree is usually required for a position as a technical writer. In addition, experience with a technical subject, such as computer science, Web design, or engineering, is important.Education
Employers generally prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, English, or communications. Many technical writing jobs require both a degree and knowledge in a specialized field, such as engineering, computer science, or medicine. Web design experience also is helpful because of the growing use of online technical documentation.Work Experience in a Related Occupation
Some technical writers begin their careers as specialists or research assistants in a technical field. They eventually develop technical communication skills and assume primary responsibilities for technical writing. In small firms, beginning technical writers may work on projects right away; in larger companies with more standard procedures, beginners may observe experienced technical writers and interact with specialists before being assigned projects.Training
Many technical writers need short-term on-the-job training to adapt to a different style of writing.Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Some associations, including the Society for Technical Communication, offer certification for technical writers. In addition, the American Medical Writers Association offers extensive continuing education programs and certificates in medical writing. These certificates are available to professionals in the medical and allied scientific communication fields.
Although not mandatory, certification can demonstrate competence and professionalism, making candidates more attractive to employers. It can also increase a technical writer’s opportunities for advancement.Advancement
Prospects for advancement generally include working on more complex projects and leading or training junior staff. Some technical writers become self-employed and produce work on a freelance basis.Important Qualities
Communication skills. Technical writers must be able to take complex, technical information and translate it for colleagues and consumers who have nontechnical backgrounds.
Detail oriented. Technical writers create detailed instructions for others to follow. As a result, they must be detailed and precise at every step so that the instructions can be useful.
Imagination. Technical writers must be able to think about a procedure or product in the way a person without technical experience would think about it.
Teamwork. Technical writers must be able to work well with others. They are almost always part of a team: with other writers; with designers, editors, and illustrators; and with the technical people whose information they are explaining.
Technical skills. Technical writers must be able to understand highly complex information. Many technical writers need a background in engineering or computer science in order to do this.
Writing skills. Technical communicators must have excellent writing skills to be able to explain technical information clearly.
Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Medical Writer
Top Careers After Medical Writer
Hispanic or Latino7.6%
Black or African American0.7%
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New York University13.6%
University of the Sciences6.8%
University of Pennsylvania6.8%
University of California - San Diego5.9%
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill4.2%
University of Connecticut3.4%
University of Florida3.4%
University of Washington3.4%
Wake Forest University3.4%
University of Illinois at Chicago3.4%
Johns Hopkins University3.4%
Case Western Reserve University3.4%
Michigan State University3.4%
University of Georgia3.4%
Louisiana State University and A&M College2.5%
Unfortunately we don’t have enough data for this section.
|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Associate Director, Medical Writer||Ariad Pharmaceuticals, Inc.||Cambridge, MA||Aug 26, 2011||$173,367|
|Medical Writer||Integrated Resources, Inc.||Cambridge, MA||Sep 15, 2016||$131,481|
|Medical Writer||Integrated Resources, Inc.||Cambridge, MA||Feb 03, 2016||$131,481|
|Medical Writer||Havas Health, Inc.||New York, NY||May 01, 2016||$120,000|
|Medical Writer||Planet Pharma, LLC||Woodcliff Lake, NJ||Sep 26, 2016||$118,959|
|Medical Writer||Planet Pharma, LLC||Woodcliff Lake, NJ||Sep 19, 2016||$118,959|
|Medical Writer||Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc.||Cambridge, MA||Oct 03, 2011||$115,000|
|Medical Writer II-Clinical||Green Key Temp LLC||Parkersburg, IL||Jan 09, 2016||$107,765|
|Medical Writer||Ockham Development Group, Inc.||Skillman, NJ||Jan 11, 2010||$106,437|
|Medical Writer||Bristol-Myers Squibb Company||Hopewell, NJ||Jan 01, 2013||$102,000|
|Medical Writer||Havas Health, Inc.||New York, NY||Dec 30, 2013||$95,000|
|Medical Writer||Health Interactions, Inc.||San Francisco, CA||Sep 15, 2016||$92,500|
|Medical Writer||Novavax, Inc.||Gaithersburg, MD||Sep 18, 2015||$88,000|
|Medical Writer||Envision Pharma, Inc.||Philadelphia, PA||Nov 25, 2009||$78,790|
|Medical Writer||Envision Pharma, Inc.||Southport, CT||Mar 19, 2014||$78,750|
|Medical Writer||Ogilvy Commonhealth Worldwide LLC||Parsippany-Troy Hills, NJ||Sep 27, 2011||$75,000|
|Medical Writer||Ogilvy Commonhealth Worldwide LLC||Parsippany-Troy Hills, NJ||Sep 24, 2011||$75,000|
|Medical Writer||UBC-Envision Group||Southport, CT||Mar 12, 2012||$75,000|
|Medical Writer||Ogilvy Commonhealth Worldwide LLC||Parsippany-Troy Hills, NJ||Sep 10, 2011||$75,000|
|Medical Writer||UBC-Envision Group||Southport, CT||Mar 19, 2012||$75,000|
|Medical Writer||PPD Development, LP||Morrisville, NC||Sep 19, 2010||$69,930|
|Medical Writer||The Emmes Corporation||Rockville, MD||Apr 01, 2013||$69,622|
|Medical Writer||The Emmes Corporation||Rockville, MD||Jan 04, 2013||$68,289|
|Medical Writer||Comprehensive Healthcare Systems, Inc.||Edison, NJ||Jan 09, 2016||$67,780|
|Oncology Scientist/Medical Writer||National Comprehensive Cancer Network, Inc.||Fort Washington, PA||Sep 20, 2011||$66,456 -
|Medical Writer, Feasibility Services||PPD Development, LLC||Morrisville, NC||Sep 18, 2013||$66,123 -
|Consultant, Technical Writing/Medical Writer||Cardinal Health, Inc.||Dallas, TX||Sep 01, 2013||$65,624 -
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