Technical Writer Career Facts

Pursuing a career as a technical writer can be a great choice for the developing professional who wants options. Not only do technical writers have the option to read and write about a wide variety of topics, but their work days may vary as well. Technical writers may hold one full-time job, or numerous contract and project jobs, depending on the career path. Technical writers should have a good business sense and be able to budget in the long-term and short-term if they choose to work freelance style. A business sense is also helpful in technical writing since the audience is, primarily, business or topic-oriented.


Technical writers usually hold a bachelor's degree in English, journalism or a related field like history or communications. Technical writers should be familiar with the mechanics of the English language. Technical writers can prepare for specialization during the undergraduate degree by double majoring or minoring in a subject area like biology or exercise physiology to prepare for the job market. Technical writers can gain experience during the undergraduate years by participating in student organizations or publications involving writing, editing and/or language and literature.

Technical Writing Career

Technical writers may work in print or online publishing. Technical writers may find job opportunities in trade or hobby magazine writing, health writing and medical writing. Technical writers may work freelance style, writing articles for magazines. Technical writers may work on a per project or contract basis. Salaried technical writers may work for publishing firms, such as educational and instructional writing.

Careers in Writing

Technical writing is among the more lucrative of careers in writing and generally provides more job security on the whole than other career paths in writing. Entry-level jobs that don't require one or two years of experience may be hard to find. Technical writers can work in other fields when they are just starting out, like jobs in copy writing and freelance magazine submissions. Technical writers, since they have to be able to condense information and make it easy to understand in a standard format, may also advance to editing positions in their writing careers. Technical writers may prepare to make a transition to an editing job by taking a freelance or part-time jobs as proofreaders.


Technical writers may find it helpful to develop a specific area in which they specialize. Topics might include science or law. Technical writers should be familiar with a variety of different style guides, such as the American Medical Association and the Chicago Manual of Style. A technical writer who wants to pursue a career writing education material might pursue graduate study in education. Some legal writing jobs, for instance, require job candidates to either have a JD or be in a certain year of law school before applying. 


Technical writers can pursue advancement by attending graduate study. With a master's degree, the door is opened to teach classes in technical writing or a related field. Teaching classes in addition to freelance writing options may be a profitable option for some freelancers. Graduate study in law, medicine and education are also options, depending on the technical writer's topical area of specialization.