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Technical Writing Degree Online—13 Affordable Programs to Launch Your Career

Rank of the most affordable technical writing degree online programs

Everyone needs to understand how to use the tools of everyday life, and many of those tools these days are complicated electronics and computer programs. Technical writers not only write instructions on how to use technology, but also communicate complex ideas in proposals, medical or scientific papers, financial reports, user manuals, marketing materials and more. One of the highest paid and most in-demand careers involving writing is technical communication. And the quickest path to getting the technical writing skills to get one of these jobs is to get an online technical writing certificate or a technical writing degree online.

Almost anyone who can communicate clearly could make a good candidate for technical writer education. If you can logically communicate the steps to doing a simple task, you have the basic ability to become a good technical writer. To do this job well, you need to be able to organize information in a logical way, communicate concisely, cite your sources, and check your information for accuracy. The actual technical writing skills of being able to write a user manual or write copy for a pharmaceutical company are things that a technical writing degree online can teach you.

Should I Get a Technical Writing Degree Online?

If you have not yet completed your bachelor’s degree, getting your technical writing degree online is a great way to finish up and gain a set of skills that will help you find employment. technical writing education is a great addition to any undergraduate degree, especially if you enjoy writing but want to make sure you can make a living when you graduate. Online degree programs will often give you credit for college courses you have already taken, and you can easily arrange the courses around a job or family responsibilities.

For those who are considering a master's degree, no matter what subject your undergraduate degree is in, getting technical writer education is a great way to make your master’s a credential that will help you get employed. A master’s in technical writing is great for those who may have an English or humanities undergraduate major, but who want to make sure their master’s degree contains courses that will give them career skills for today’s workplace. If you have a technical or scientific undergraduate major, getting the technical writing master’s is perfect to let you use your scientific or computer training in a field where you will also get to use your creative and communicative skills. And online is a great way to get the degree affordably while keeping your current career and personal life intact.

There are many pros to getting a technical writing degree online, and not too many cons. The pros include the fact that most employers want to hire people who have a degree rather than just a certificate, and technical writing jobs are set to increase by 7% over the next ten years, while other writing jobs are predicted to decrease. The salary, at a median of $74,650, is also a great attraction to having a degree in technical communication. On the downside, getting a degree will take longer and cost more than just getting a technical writing certificate online. But the job opportunities will likely be wider, as having a degree gives you a leg up when employers look at your resume.

The range of jobs for those with technical writing training is quite broad. Positions may include technical writer, senior technical writer, medical writer, technical copywriter, financial report writer, grant writer, user experience writer, technical content contributor, operations writer, business plan writer, technical communication consultant, and many more. Plus, having technical writing skills can be very handy in lots of careers where clear communication about technical subjects is required.

Is an Online Technical Writing Certificate Enough?

If you want to start off quickly in a career in technical communication, getting a certificate is the quickest and cheapest way to get a credential that will help you prove to employers that you can do the job. Technical writing certificate programs online will have about three to five courses which cover just the specific skills you need in this career. If you already have good writing skills and some technical knowledge, this may be just the right thing to get you started. An online technical writing certificate can add to your other competencies the exact knowledge you will need to be great at this type of job.

The best online technical writing certificates will also let you use the credits you earn towards a degree later, should you choose to get that credential. Most classes in either an undergraduate or graduate online technical writing certificate will be part of a larger program for people who are completing a degree, so it is convenient to upgrade later in many cases.

Because many employers will prefer job candidates with a degree, getting your technical writing certificate online may not be enough for some jobs. On the plus side, it is quicker and cheaper than getting a whole degree. Plus, you may qualify for some lower level technical writing jobs, especially if you have some knowledge of the industry you want to work in, such as computers or business.

If you already have a bachelor’s degree in another subject, adding the specific technical writing skills to your credential may make the perfect quick way to enter a career. If you haven’t yet completed your bachelor’s degree, but you know you want to start working in this field, an undergraduate certificate may help you get jobs while you continue your education. The bottom line is that an online technical writing certificate can be a stepping stone that will get you working along with your other degree, or can be the beginning of your path towards a degree that will help you get the best paying jobs in this in-demand profession.

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What About Online Professional Certifications?

There are a number of professional organizations that offer certification in technical writing, the most prominent being the Society for Technical Communication (STC). By passing an exam, you can get one of three levels of certification through this professional organization. It may be possible to study for the exam without taking a technical writing certificate online, but it would be more difficult to pass. Plus, just a basic certificate may not be enough for most jobs. However, once you are in the profession, gaining higher levels of certification can give you a sense of accomplishment and demonstrate your mastery to impress employers. The best online technical writing certificate programs will help you study for the basic certificate, giving you that extra boost to show employers. Getting professional certification can’t hurt, but is usually not required.

Most Affordable Technical Writing Certificate Online

  1. California State University-Dominguez Hills

    Degree: Certificate in Technical Writing
    Total Cost (In-State & Out-of-State):
    $1,467

    California State University-Dominguez Hills offers the online Technical Writing Certificate as a 3-course program with no prerequisites other than command of the English language. There is no application process and international students are welcome. Classes are nine weeks long, asynchronous (no set time to log in), and there are weekly assignments to complete. Courses include Fundamentals of Technical Writing, Advanced Technical Communications, and Information Design. The courses should be taken sequentially, but some may be allowed to enroll in the first two concurrently. For those who are out of work, the program is approved through the Workplace Innovation and Opportunity Act, so they may be able to get tuition assistance to complete this valuable technical writing certificate program online.

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    Certificate in Technical Writing

     

  2. Old Dominion University

    Degree: Certificate in Professional Writing
    Total Cost (In-State):
    $4,650
    Total Cost (Out-of-State): $5,262

    The online Certificate in Professional Writing at Old Dominion University is 12 credit hours of coursework over four courses, and is offered as part of the bachelor’s degree in English. Students must have completed at least six credits of general education classes before enrolling in the certificate. Successful students must maintain a 2.75 GPA. Students can opt for this certificate as part of their degree program to prove their competence to employers in writing proposals, instructions, and reports. Tuition for out of state students is only a bit higher than the in-state rate, and military members receive a discounted tuition rate. For those who want all-around competency in writing and English, this certificate from Old Dominion is a great choice.

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    Certificate in Professional Writing

     

  3. Indiana University Online

    Degree: Certificate in Technical Communication (IUPUI)
    Total Cost (In-State):
    $5,570
    Total Cost (Out-of-State):
    $19,302

    Indiana University Online offers the Certificate in Technical Communication as a 19-credit program. Admission requires an application, and an essay is required for those who have taken fewer than 26 credits of college coursework. International students are welcome but may be asked for additional documents. The classwork can be completed online, and includes core courses, electives, and one credit for portfolio preparation. Courses in the program include Project Management, Tools for Technical Communication, and Technical and Scientific Editing. The in-state tuition is a bargain for this program, and the support options like success coaching and career services make it one of the best technical writing certificates online.

    Find Out More:
    Technical Certificate in Computer Programming Specialist

     

Cheapest Technical Writing Bachelor Degrees Online

  1. Indiana University Online

    Degree: Bachelor of Arts in English / Technical & Professional Writing
    Total Cost (In-State):
    $31,180
    Total Cost (Out-of-State): $43,318

    Indiana University Online also offers the Online Bachelor of Arts in English, Technical and Professional Writing, which comprises 120 credits including 60 in the major. For students with some college credits to transfer, up to 64 credits from a 2-year or community college, and up to 90 credits from a 4-year program may be transferred towards the degree. Core courses in the program include Technical Report Writing, Digital Writing, and Senior Seminar. Students have a choice of numerous electives, including Grammar & Usage, Native American Literature, and Introduction to Critical Practices. With low tuition for both in-state and out-of-state students, this bachelor’s program is a great choice for those who want to enter highly technical careers such as medical or engineering writing. It is also perfect for students who need to finish a degree.

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    Bachelor of Arts in English / Technical & Professional Writing

     

  2. University of Arkansas at Little Rock

    Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Professional & Technical Writing
    Total Cost (In-State & Out-of-State):
    $33,600

    The online BA in Technical and Professional Writing from University of Arkansas at Little Rock includes a total of 120 hours of study, with at least 36 in the major subject. Second language proficiency is a requirement in the program. Online students pay the same tuition rate, regardless of residency, and there are special rates for military students. Classes in the program include Persuasive Writing, Nonfiction, and Document Design. Electives include Grant Writing, Publishing Inside Out, and Technology of the Book. Students must meet the unconditional admissions requirements to qualify for this online program, but there are many routes to meet those requirements. UA Little Rock’s BA program is perfect for students who are serious about making a living writing and seek a comprehensive and affordable online technical writer education.

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    Bachelor of Arts in Professional & Technical Writing

     

  3. Missouri State University

    Degree: Bachelor of Science in Professional Writing
    Total Cost (In-State & Out-of-State):
    $35,400

    Missouri State University’s online Bachelor of Science in Professional Writing is perfect for students who want a broad program that gives them many options for a professional writing career. Admission requires a 2.5 GPA or a 2.75 GPA on the last 30 credits of work. Transfer credits can be awarded for coursework, advanced placement exams, military experience, CLEP, and other programs. Courses in this program include Writing for the Web, Analysis of Scientific Literature, and Writing in the Health Professions. With courses in many areas of professional writing, graduates can consider careers in copywriting, web content writing, or journalism as well as technical areas such as medical writing and grant writing.

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    Bachelor of Science in Professional Writing

     

  4. Regent University

    Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies / Professional & Technical Writing
    Total Cost (In-State & Out-of-State):
    $50,012

    The online Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies – Professional & Technical Writing from Regent University allows students to transfer up to 90 credits into the program, so is great for those who are looking to complete their degree in this very in-demand subject. Courses are eight or 15 weeks long, and include Writing for Strategic Communication, Creative Nonfiction & Feature Writing, and Communication Ethics. At least 50% of the major courses need to be taken at Regent. There are numerous other writing concentrations available for those who find their focus changes during their program. Regent’s program is perfect for transfer students and those who seek a Christian worldview in their education.

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    Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies / Professional & Technical Writing

Most Affordable Master’s in Technical Writing Online

  1. Missouri State University

    Degree: Master of Arts in Writing / Technical & Professional
    Total Cost (In-State & Out-of-State):
    $9.537

    Missouri State University has an online Master of Arts in Writing /Technical Writing Track that is 33 credit hours of coursework and allows students to customize their technical writing training to concentrate in grant writing, writing for the web, health writing, or writing for the computer industry. Core courses in the program include Introduction to Research Methods in English, Topics in Professional Writing, and Professional Editing. The program requires a research component, a comprehensive exam, and a language requirement that can be fulfilled by undergraduate foreign language or computer language skills, passing a reading competency test, or by taking a graduate linguistics course. Admission requires a 3.0 undergraduate GPA though students who do not meet the requirement may be admitted conditionally. The MSU MA program is an affordable option that allows for specialization in areas of interest.

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    Master of Arts in Writing / Technical & Professional

     

  2. University of Central Florida

    Degree: Master of Arts in English / Technical Communication
    Total Cost (In-State):
    $10,801
    Total Cost (Out-of-State): $38,006

    The online MA in English /Technical Communication from University of Central Florida is 33 credits of core and elective courses. Core courses include Production and Publication Methods, Technical Editing, and Methods of Bibliography and Research. Electives may include Project Management for Technical Writers, Hypertext Theory and Design, Rhetorical Traditions, plus 6 credits of unrestricted elective choices within the English Department. Students will be required to pass comprehensive exams and complete a thesis or research project as part of their program. Getting the MA from UCF is perfect for students who want a wide range of elective options in a cost-effective master’s program.

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    Master of Arts in English / Technical Communication

     

  3. Bowling Green State University

    Degree: Master of Arts in English / Professional Writing and Rhetoric
    Total Cost (In-State):
    $13,144
    Total Cost (Out-of-State):
    $13,485

    The 100% online MA in English with a specialization in Professional Writing and Rhetoric from Bowling Green State University is 31 credits, including 15 credits of required courses, 15 credits of electives, and one credit for portfolio preparation. Courses include Visual Rhetoric and Practices of Writing, Resources and Research in Technical/Professional Writing, and Ethics in Professional/Technical Writing. Candidates for admission should have at least an overall GPA of 2.7 and a 3.0 in their undergraduate major. Classes are asynchronous online, and follow a 15-week format for fall and spring semesters, with two 6-week terms during the summer. The graduate degree from BGSU has the same affordable tuition for all online students, regardless of residency, and is flexible to work around a student’s other commitments.

     

Cheapest Graduate Technical Writing Certificate Programs Online

  1. Missouri State University

    Degree: Graduate Certificate in Technical & Professional Writing
    Total Cost (In-State & Out-of-State):
    $3,468

    The 12-credit hour online Technical and Professional Writing Graduate Certificate program from Missouri State University is an affordable and quick way to get a credential in this profession if you already have a bachelor’s degree. The required courses are Professional Writing and Professional Editing, and then students can chose from electives such as Writing in the Health Professions, Writing for the Computer Industry, or Designing Technical Documents. Students need to have a 3.0 undergraduate GPA to apply, and must have a 3.0 GPA in the program to receive the certificate. With affordable tuition and flexible online classes, the MSU graduate certificate is a very accessible program for working adults.

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    Graduate Certificate in Technical & Professional Writing

     

  2. University of North Texas

    Degree: Post-Graduate Certificate in Teaching Technical Writing
    Total Cost (In-State):
    $4,845
    Total Cost (Out-of-State): $9,825

    Courses begin every eight weeks in University of North Texas’s online Graduate Certificate in Technical Writing. The 12-credit program has options for college teachers who want to teach technical writing, and will be adding more industry-focused specialties in the near future. Courses in this program can include Editing Technical Documents, Studies in the Teaching of Technical Communication, Grants and Proposals, and Digital Content Strategies. Admission requires no GRE scores and has no minimum GPA. The certificate can be completed in as little as seven months completely online. This program is an especially good program for teachers who want to be more competitive by being able to add technical writing to their areas of specialty, and it is a bargain, especially for Texas residents.

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    Post-Graduate Certificate in Teaching Technical Writing

     

  3. University of Central Florida

    Degree: Graduate Certificate in Professional Writing
    Total Cost (In-State):
    $4,909
    Total Cost (Out-of-State):
    $17,275

    The 15-credit hour online Professional Writing Graduate Certificate from University of Central Florida involves five courses that can be taken in flexible online format. The two required courses are Rhetorical Theory and Professional Writing Studies, and then students can choose from a wide variety of electives that include Proposal Writing, Writing and Designing Online Help Systems, Hypertext Theory and Design, and Theory and Practice in Composition, among many others. Applicants can have a bachelor’s degree in any subject, but should have an upper level writing intensive course with a grade of B or above. The UCF certificate program is a great deal for Florida residents, and is open to students from most states and countries.

    Find Out More:
    Graduate Certificate in Professional Writing

     

Your Writing Career Awaits You!

If you want a degree that allows you to use your creativity on the job, then getting a technical writing degree online could be the perfect way to get you started. If you know you want to do technical writing, and you want the skills to get you into this profession quickly, an online technical writing certificate can make that happen for you. Whatever route you choose, if you want a writing career that will pay your bills, look no further than getting your training in technical and professional communication today.

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