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The process for getting a technical writer certificate can differ for each person, since there isn't just one accepted certification program or organization. A number of different colleges and universities around the world offer technical writing courses that can be applied toward a technical writer certificate. Some independent organizations will also offer courses that will lead to a certificate at completion. It is important to do your research ahead of time, and determine what will be most beneficial to you, and ensure that the certificate you earn will actually be respected in the job market.
In some cases, you might be able to take a single technical writing course and earn a technical writer certificate. More commonly, it will require a series of technical writing courses taken at a college or university, either as part of an degree program, or as an addition after a degree has been completed. For instance, a person earning a degree in English or in business might take a series of technical writing classes as part of his or her coursework; the specific required courses may be specified in advance by the college. Upon completion, the student may be awarded a degree in addition to a technical writer certificate.
For aspirants who do not want to earn a four-year degree, there are a number of technical schools and two-year colleges that offer associate's degrees in technical writing. The courses will typically be fairly similar, but will simply stand alone, rather than as a complement to a degree program. Typically, technical writing courses include topics in business writing, writing for the web, as well as basic editing and publishing information. More technologically focused programs might offer courses in software or web site design. Whatever method you choose to take technical writing classes, you will want to be sure that a technical writer certificate will be awarded upon completion.
There are also some courses and workshops that teach technical writing in a general sense, and usually offer a certificate at the end. It is important to make sure that these classes are useful, as well as worth your time and money. Though it may be tempting to take a six-week course or even a simple one-day workshop in technical writing, it could be a waste of time or money if potential employers do not see this as a legitimate course. Some of similar programs are sponsored by professional associations in the field, which can often be a sign of greater credibility.