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How Do I Get a Technical Writing Degree?

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  • Written By: Bobby R. Goldsmith
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 22 November 2016
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To earn a technical writing degree, you should apply to and be admitted to a college or university that offers a Bachelor of Arts program in English with an emphasis in technical writing. You must complete all coursework necessary for both the bachelor's degree in English as well as the technical writing emphasis. The technical writing courses usually need to be completed in addition to rather than as a replacement of other aspects of the English degree. A technical writing degree will then be conferred upon completion of your bachelor's program.

The first step to obtaining a technical writing degree is the selection of a college or university to attend. You can either apply a four-year institution directly, or you can apply to a community college to complete the first two years of coursework toward the completion of the degree. Generally, most four-year colleges or universities will offer a bachelor's degree in English, but not all of those will offer an emphasis in technical writing. Check with a counselor prior to accepting an admissions offer to verify that a technical writing emphasis is offered. A bachelor's degree in English without an explicit emphasis in technical writing is not a technical writing degree.

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Upon admission to a four-year college or university, you must complete all lower division coursework for the a bachelor's degree in English. This includes many credit hours in a broad range of general education courses as well as introductory courses in the study of English literature, writing, and language. After you complete approximately 60 to 80 credit hours of lower division coursework, you will begin work on your upper division classes in English, including advanced training in writing and literature.

During completion of your upper division coursework, a technical writing degree requires you to take several classes that focus exclusively on writing for technical applications. In many instances, a college or university will require completion of the credit hours for the technical writing courses in addition to the normal 120 credit hours for the completion of the English degree. Some schools will allow you to complete the bachelor's in English with the technical writing courses as your electives, which means that you do not need to take any additional courses to complete a technical writing degree. Confirm the specific details for the completion of your degree with your counselor or academic adviser as soon as possible.

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