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Technical Communication

Eastern Washington University offers the only BA in Technical Communication in the State of Washington.

Technical Communication is a professional program designed to prepare you for a successful career as a technical writer for business, industry, or government, both regionally and nationally. You focus on essential technical communication skills while building expertise in graphic design and public relations.

Eastern Washington University also offers an MA in Rhetoric and Technical Communication. This degree is ideal for students wishing to transition to technical communication from another degree.

What is technical communication?

Technical writers, also called technical communicators, make technical information available and understandable to people who need it. According to the U.S. department of Labor, technical writers prepare instruction manuals, journal articles, and other supporting documents to communicate complex and technical information more easily. They also develop, gather, and disseminate technical information among customers, designers, and manufacturers[i]. They usually work with subject matter experts such as engineers, technicians, or scientists. Technical Communicators create, design, edit,  and produce a variety of documents including software and equipment manuals, maintenance procedures, sales promotion materials, organizational policies and procedures, informative articles, websites (both front and back end), and assembly instructions.

How much does it pay?

Generally, a career in technical communication pays well, but wages and salaries for technical writers vary according to region. For example, in 2015, the median wage for technical writers in the U. S. was $33.77/hr,  but in Washington state the median wage was $39.40/hr. The median annual salary was $70,240 nationally but $81,006 in Washington. However, wages and salary in Spokane county would be lower with Seattle having higher wages and salaries.  In Spokane, the average annual salary earned by technical writers in 2015 was $53,019. To learn more about occupational earnings for technical communication visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor or O*Net or the Washington Career Bridge.

Are there jobs?

Technical communication is one of the top occupations statewide in terms of growth. Between 2014-2024, the number of new job openings per year is estimated to increase 10%. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, "job opportunities, especially for applicants with technical skills, are expected to be good. The growing reliance on technologically sophisticated products in the home and the workplace and the increasing complexity of medical and scientific information needed for daily living will create many new job opportunities for technical writers."

What skills are required?

Technical communicators need to be good writers, but they also need to be able to gather, understand, synthesize, and organize technical information. They need strong problem solving and critical thinking skills. They need to be active learners and have good listening and speaking skills. They need to be able to manage projects and work both independently and in teams. They need to have good computer literacy with some knowledge of desktop publishing and graphics.

For more information contact:

Dr. Teena A. M. Carnegie  (509-359-6037)

[i] Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Technical Writers, on the Internet at HTTP:// .

What will I study?

For detailed information on course requirements, please see the current EWU catalog description (listed under English). 

Emphases / Concentrations:

  • BA in Technical Communication; MA in English: Rhetoric and Technical Communication

What could I do with my degree?

  • Technical Writer; Technical Communicator; Informational Designer; Information Architect; Information Developer; Instructional Designer; Business Writer; Graphic Designer; Website Designer/Developer; Professional Writer; Document Manager; Document Controller; Public Relations Expert; Public Relations Writer; Marketing Communicator; Content Developer Training Development
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