The history of technical writing goes back to ancient Greece, where Aristotle started developing structured documents on philosophy. Over the centuries, it went from being a vaguely-defined skill to becoming the structured and rewarding career path that we know today. And in order to break into (or succeed in) this field, investing in a technical writing course is a smart choice.
Beginners need some formal training to get them started with technical writing. On the other hand, even the most experienced technical writers need to stay on top of their game, keep up with the latest trends, and continually polish their technical writing skills.
Whatever your goal, there is a technical writing course out there for you. In this article, we’ll list down the most widely-recognized technical writing certificate courses and share their details.
Let’s jump right in.
Top Technical Writing Course Certifications to Try Right Now
As of now, there are hundreds of online courses/certificate programs designed for technical writers of all levels.
From starter courses that teach basic technical communication skills such as formatting, headings, research, etc. to advanced certifications that can make you an ultimate technical communicator, there’s a program for everyone.
We reviewed a ton of platforms/stand-alone courses on technical writing. The following 8 made the list:
1. Society for Technical Communication (STC)
For decades, the STC has been at the forefront of technical communication around the world. It is a professional association for writers, editors, engineers, and managers alike that supports the advancement of technical communication.
The STC does that by arranging annual educational events, providing networking opportunities, and of course, offering online technical writing courses that are widely-recognized.
Registration for the courses offered by the STC only lasts for a certain period of time. Every year, the association comes up with new sets of online programs for different areas of technical communication.
While there isn’t any active technical writing course left (at least for 2020), you can still request enrollment/registration in a past online course by contacting the STC’s Educational Webinars Manager, Deborah Krat (at email@example.com).
Here are a few past courses worth exploring:
- Basics of Technical Writing in Industry – a course focused on teaching the fundamentals of good technical writing and its applications in the industry.
- Technical Editing Foundations – an online program designed for writers and managers who aspire to become technical editors.
- Advanced Technical Editing – an advanced course aimed at helping technical editors excel in their careers.
Note: If you’re currently a Certified Professional Technical Communicator (CPTC), completing a course will give you 6 continuing education units (CEUs).
When it comes to finding online professional courses in any industry, Coursera is always a good place to start.
Currently, there are over 6,200 active courses for different disciplines.
The platform also has decent technical writing courses for professionals of all levels.
Here are some of the top-rated courses worth mentioning:
- Technical Writing – this is an intermediate-level course being offered by the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. It has a more targeted aim – helping the learner effectively communicate their findings from experimental or technical work.
- Writing Skills for Engineering Leaders – this technical writing course is aimed at helping managers in an engineering department polish their writing skills to perform error-free communication. It is offered by Rice University.
- Communication Skills for Engineers (Specialization) – another course offered by Rice University, aimed at helping engineering leaders hone their communication skills.
You can explore more and narrow down your search with filters (such as duration, level, language, etc.) on Coursera’s official website.
Like Coursera, Udemy is another major provider of online courses and certifications for both working professionals and students pursuing academic degrees.
As of now, the platform has well over 150,000 courses and more than 35 million students enrolled in them.
Compared to Coursera, Udemy has far greater options when it comes to technical writing courses (with more than 100,000 people taking them).
The most popular programs include:
- Technical Writing: Master Your Writing Career – this 5.5 hour-long, intermediate-level course is meant for existing technical writers who want to further sharpen their skills and write better. It costs $49.9.
- Professional Technical Writing: Advance Your Writing Skills – this is a beginner-level course that will teach you how to draft professional-level technical documents. This technical writing course comes with a price tag of $199.9.
- Technical Writing: How to Write Software Documentation – if you want to learn how to create high-level technical documentation in GitHub, this course is for you. It is 8 hours long and costs $129.9.
- Business and Technical Writing Immersion – the syllabus of this course leans a bit more towards financial and business writing. If you want to learn the art of persuasive written business communication, this course is perfect. It costs only $49.9.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are a lot of other technical writing courses on Udemy that are worth exploring.
And the best part – all courses come with a 30-day money back guarantee. If, at any point, you feel that the course wasn’t what you were looking for, you can always ask for a refund.
4. Learning Tree International’s “Introduction to Technical Writing Training”
Learning Tree is a massive online learning platform that is helping thousands of professionals and organizations adapt to the latest technology.
Unlike the previously-mentioned platforms, Learning Tree doesn’t have a lot of courses on technical writing. The only one worth exploring is its introductory training course that covers all the basics of the technical writing process.
If you’re a total beginner who would like to learn about planning, drafting, document design, and assessment of the needs of the end-users, this course is a decent option
This 4-day training course will help you learn how to:
- Draft top-level technical documents, such as instruction manuals, white papers, report writing, etc.
- Leverage visuals to augment your technical content
- Better understand the requirements of your target audience
- Collect your thoughts and structure your sentences so that they’re easy to comprehend
As of now, the training costs $2,990 (or $2,659 for Government employees) and has designated time-slots.
It can also be tailored to a team of professionals as part of an in-house training program.
For more information, you can check out the FAQs section on the main page.
TechWriter-Certification is a learning platform with accredited courses designed only for technical communication.
These courses are taught by industry experts who have been in the field of technical writing for decades. The online courses are targeted towards writers, corporate employees, project management consultants, and even military and government personnel.
A few of the certification courses being offered by this platform include:
- Basic Certificate in Technical Writing – as the name suggests, this 90-hour course has been designed for beginners. It will help you learn necessary technical communication skills, analyze audiences, use graphics in your content, and much more.
- Certificate in Writing for Current Technical Writers, Editors, and Designers – this program is meant to help existing professionals further improve their technical writing/communication skills.
- Writers at Work Certificate Program – this program consists of multiple courses that will help you improve your grammar, present technical information in a more concise way, tweak your tone according to the audience, and much more.
There are a few other courses available that are definitely worth considering. You can check out the full list of certificates on this page.
6. University of Wisconsin Eau Claire
The UW-Eau Claire offers a number of continuing education online programs to help people from different professions maintain their credibility and attain further professional development.
As of now, the institution has 14 different courses on technical writing, all of which you can pursue and complete at your own schedule.
Some of the most useful courses being offered by UW-Eau Claire include:
- Basic Certificate in Technical Writing – this course will help you develop a strong foundation for professional communication. More specifically, it will help you create impeccable technical documents, analyze audiences, create better layouts, and more.
- Intermediate Technical Writing – this program includes online coursework that will hone your writing, audience analysis, and document design skills.
- Advanced Certificate in Technical Writing – aimed at established professionals, this course will help you further polish your technical writing skills.
You can check out the complete list of online certifications and classes offered by the UW-Eau Claire on their official website.
7. Emphasis’ Technical Writing Course
Emphasis offers tailored courses on writing and professional consultancy to enterprises.
The organization specializes in professional communication and business writing training.
Their one-of-a-kind technical writing program is aimed at helping in-house teams develop or sharpen their skillsets.
What makes this course special is the fact that it can be tailored to meet your specific learning requirements. Emphasis does that through its pre-course writing analysis that determines the specific areas the learner(s) need to focus on.
Furthermore, the course can be scheduled at any time you like (as well as completed at your own pace). However, it typically takes just 1 day to finish it.
Like everything else, the course doesn’t have a fixed price tag. The pricing depends on a bunch of different factors.
8. Communicaid’s Technical Writing Course
Like Emphasis, Communicaid is a learning platform that helps businesses make their teams better at communication.
The company has a wide selection of training programs, designed for professionals of all levels.
Their technical writing course – designed for scientists, engineers, and existing writers – will show you the ropes of:
- Understanding the needs of your audience
- Planning out your technical documents
- The principles and tools that you can use to distill technical information into easy-to-understand content
- Using visuals/graphics to complement your writing
All in all, it’s a decent starter course that covers just about everything.
Another great thing about this course is that it’s available world-wide. You can also attend them at one of Communicaid’s training centers located at New York, Frankfurt, London, Brussels, and Paris.
The company hasn’t disclosed a fixed price for this training program. To get a quote, fill out the form on the main landing page with your personal details and specific learning requirements.
How to Choose a Technical Writing Course?
With so many technical writing courses/programs/classes – most of which have very similar goals and contents – it can be difficult to pick one that’s perfect for you.
While we’re not going to pass any solid verdict about which course is the best, we can advise you on how to make up your mind.
When evaluating your options, consider:
- Experience Level – before anything else, have an honest look at your current competency. There are many different courses for professionals with different experience levels.
- Budget – some courses are just too expensive for one person, despite having the same lessons. Before paying, see if the course is worth the price tag (you can also talk to your employer to sponsor your continued education).
- Flexibility – some courses/classes are only offered in certain months, while others are open throughout the year. If you want to complete a course right away, a more flexible course might be better for you.
Consider all of the aforementioned factors, get opinions of your peers and/or mentors, and look up reviews of the instructor(s) offering the courses before you make a decision.