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What major/degree is required to become a technical writer?

There are no specific degree requirements for a position in technical writing. Many technical writers have writing-related degrees such as English, creative writing or journalism. Others have degrees in fields that employ technical writers such as engineering, chemistry, computer science, aerospace, or biology. Some technical writers have completely unrelated degrees. These writers get into the business either by being promoted within the same company or hired because of industry knowledge gained on another job. Writing skill, industry knowledge and tools knowledge are what counts in a technical writing job search.

Common Majors:

  • Technical Writing
  • English
  • Communications
  • Computer Science
  • Any Science
  • Math
  • Creative Writing
  • Journalism

There are a growing number of technical writing degree programs. These programs focus on the creation of technical and educational documents as well as technical editing, usability testing and organizational communication. In the United States, there are technical writing or technical communication degree programs at colleges such as the University of Washington, Bowling Green State University, Texas Tech, and Carnegie Melon. Most technical writers have bachelor degrees. A few of us have advanced degrees. Although it is rare, I have met technical writers without college degrees.

My college degrees consist of an Associate’s Degree in General Studies, A Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and a Master’s Degree in English with a Professional Writing Certification. I began my career in technical writing long before I had the master’s degree. I had worked in my University’s computer department as an undergrad. It gave me the opportunity work with many different computer systems and applications. I also had the opportunity to work as a computer trainer during and after college. That eventually led to a writing and database development position. From there I got into technical writing. Almost all of my employment history for the past fourteen years has consisted of technical writing or information development jobs.