An online technical writing class is a virtual course created to improve your technical writing skills and advance your career. Since the class is online, you can learn from anywhere with an internet connection.
The best online technical writing classes feature a robust curriculum, are taught by qualified experts, and offer a good value for the price. We looked closely at more than a dozen classes before selecting our top options. Keep reading to see which class may be the best fit for your professional goals.
The Best Online Technical Writing Classes for 2021
- Best Overall: University of Wisconsin Eau Claire's Basic Certificate in Technical Writing
- Runner-Up, Best Overall: Oregon State University’s Technical Writing Course - Online
- Best Free or Low-Cost: Technical Writer HQ's One Week Technical Writer Certification
- Best for Business Writing: University of Washington’s Business Writing: Reports, Proposals, and Documents
- Best for Engineers and Technology: American Management Association’s Effective Technical Writing
- Best for Healthcare and Medical: Center for Professional Advancement’s Effective and Compliant Technical Writing
Best Overall : University of Wisconsin Eau Claire's Basic Certificate in Technical Writing
Why We Chose It: The University of Wisconsin Eau Claire’s Basic Certificate in Technical Writing took our top spot due to its robust technical writing curriculum.
Intense, 90-hour curriculum
Instructor feedback provided
Certificate of completion given
Program is pricey
4-month time limit to complete the program
The University of Wisconsin Eau Claire’s Basic Certificate in Technical Writing program is designed for those who want to become better technical writers or transition into that role. The classes are led by expert industry and technical writing faculty, and it provides you with 90 hours of instruction across three classes:
- Introduction to Technical Writing for Industry
- Intermediate Technical Writing
- Advanced Technical Writing
During the series, you’ll learn how to:
- Use technical language
- Format documents to include graphs, tables, charts, and other visuals
- Write effective documents for your intended audience
At the end of the final class, you’ll create a proposal from start to finish.
To keep you engaged and reinforce your learning, the classes include readings, quizzes, and writing and editing exercises. You’ll also get direct, personalized feedback on your writing from your instructors.
The full program costs $975, but if you don't need the certificate, you can also take each class for $335. The price of admission grants you access to the series for approximately four months. If you need more time to complete the program, you can purchase a one, two, or three-month extension for $149, $179, or $199, respectively.
Runner-Up, Best Overall : Oregon State University’s Technical Writing Course - Online
Why We Chose It: Oregon State University’s Technical Writing Course - Online is our choice for runner-up since it packs a lot of learning into four weeks.
Instructor support provided
Rigid schedule for lectures
May need to join a waitlist
No certificate of completion given
We like the Oregon State University’s Technical Writing Course - Online because it’s an accelerated version of the university’s semester-long course, so you get the information you need quickly. The four-week class is broken down into four main lessons:
- Technical Writing Fundamentals
- Instruction Manual: Getting Started
- Instruction Manual: Finalizing the Document
- Writing a Technical Description
You can expect to speed three to eight hours per week attending lectures online, participating on the discussion board, and completing assignments. By the end of the class, you’ll learn how to:
- Communicate technical information clearly and precisely
- Use formatting and visuals to enhance the written word
- Create various types of technical documents such as memos, specifications, reports, proposals, and feasibility studies
Your instructor is available for support via the class discussion board or email. The teacher will also personally critique an additional technical document that’s not part of the course curriculum, so you can get help with a real-life example in your career or business.
The class costs $425 and runs on a schedule, so you have to enroll by a set date. Plus, class size is limited, so you may have to join a waitlist. Visit the website to find out when the next class is open for enrollment.
Completing the class won’t result in a certificate of completion. However, you can get 1.6 continuing education units (CEUs) or 16 professional development units (PDUs), which may be required by your employer or help you retain industry certifications.
Best Free or Low-Cost : Technical Writer HQ's One Week Technical Writer Certification
Why We Chose It: Technical Writer HQ’s’ One Week Technical Writer Certification won this category because it gives you a solid introduction to technical writing for a budget-friendly price.
Job search content included
No instructor feedback available
Technical Writer HQ’s’ One Week Technical Writer Certification can help you quickly jumpstart your technical writing career. The class is taught by the founder of Technical Writer HQ, Josh Fechter, who has more than eight years of technical writing experience. It’s designed for beginners who want to break into the field, comes with an affordable price of $199, and takes one week to complete.
Features of the class include more than 50 short video lectures, several downloadable technical writing templates, and multiple recorded video interviews with technical writing leaders.
By the end of the class, you should know how to:
- Write effective technical documentation
- Create different types of technical documents
- Use technical writing tools to make the process easier
- Navigate and ace the recruiting process to land a technical writing job
You should expect to devote 30-60 minutes per day to your studies for the entire week and this class is entirely self-paced, so you can study when it’s convenient for you. However, since there’s no live component, you won’t receive instructor feedback.
When you finish the lessons, you’ll receive a certificate of completion. You’ll also have lifetime access to the class, which includes any updates.
If you’re unhappy with the class, you can contact the company for a full refund within 30 days of purchase.
Best for Business Writing : University of Washington’s Business Writing : Reports, Proposals, and Documents
Why We Chose It: The University of Washington’s Business Writing: Reports, Proposals, and Documents is designed for any professional who wants to sharpen their business writing skills.
Instructor feedback provided
Class is pricey
No certificate of completion granted
Set schedule for lectures
We like this live online class since it can help you become a better writer, no matter what industry you’re in or position you hold. The class meets for three hours in the evening once a week for seven weeks. During the course, you’ll learn:
- What good business writing entails
- Best practices for creating clear, organized, and persuasive documents
- How to develop your own writing voice
- How to use visuals effectively with your text
The class includes weekly lectures but also provides multiple opportunities for hands-on work. You’ll create up to four long-form pieces and practice editing with other students. You’ll also receive feedback from your instructors, both senior editors in the technical and business writing space.
After the last session, you’ll receive 2.4 CEUs. No certificate of completion is given. However, if you’re interested in furthering your writing education, the course is part of a more extensive certificate program.
The class is pricier than some other options, with a cost of $940. While the course doesn’t qualify for financial aid and no payment plans are available, your employer may be willing to cover the cost. Plus, if you reside in Washington state, you may be eligible for a scholarship.
Best for Engineers and Technology : American Management Association’s Effective Technical Writing
Why We Chose It: The American Management Association’s (AMA) Effective Technical Writing class is specifically designed for engineers and information technology (IT) professionals.
Designed specifically for engineers and IT professionals
Instructor feedback is available
Learning material organized logically
Class is expensive
Must devote two full days to complete
No certificate of completion given
We like the class because it helps engineers and IT professionals communicate technical information clearly to any audience. It features a live online class that delivers 12 hours of material over two days.
Course content is broken down into four lessons:
- The Territory: Employing Standards of Effective Technical Writing
- The Task: Getting Started Efficiently
- The Techniques: Organizing Messages Strategically
- The Tweaks: Achieving Precision, Clarity, and Conciseness
During those four lessons, you’ll learn how to:
- Understand your audience
- Overcome writer’s block and be a more confident writer
- Implement technical writing best practices for word choice, structure, and the use of visual aids
- Create a variety of technical documents
- Edit your work for clarity and effectiveness
- Use templates to make the writing process easier and faster
The course is led by an AMA faculty member. You’ll also receive feedback on your writing from an expert writing consultant. While no certificate of completion is awarded at the end of the class, you can receive 1.2 CEUs or 12 PDUs.
If you’re an AMA member, the class runs $2,095. If you’re not, the price jumps to $2,345. The AMA offers a money-back guarantee, so if you’re not satisfied with the course, contact customer service for a refund or a credit to take a different class.
Best for Healthcare and Medical : Center for Professional Advancement’s Effective and Compliant Technical Writing
Why We Chose It: The Center for Professional Advancement’s Effective and Compliant Technical Writing class won this category because it specifically helps select professionals in the medical field create compliant documentation.
Designed for pharmaceuticals, medical device manufacturing, and biologics professionals
Helps learners stay compliant with government mandates
Course is limited in scope
No certificate of completion given
Relatively expensive for the amount of content included
We like this class since it delivers what you need to know to write government-compliant documents related to products in research and development and on the market. The 90-minute on-demand online course is designed specifically for professionals in the pharmaceutical, medical device manufacturing, and biologics industries. If you’re in analytics, management, quality control, quality assurance, engineering, research and development, documentation, or operations, this class may be right for you.
The course includes three modules:
- What Is Technical Writing?
- Effective and Organized Technical Writing
- Writing Patterns and Previous Knowledge
Taught by a pharmaceutical and biotech consultant, the class will teach you how to create, review, and revise technical documentation so that it meets regulations established by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and other government agencies.
You won’t receive a certificate of completion for finishing the course, but you will be eligible for 0.2 CEUs.
The class costs $295 if you register alone but drops to $245 if you register with a colleague.
The sheer number of online technical writing classes makes it challenging to select the right course of study for your needs. Before you commit to a particular online technical writing class, do your due diligence and research it completely in order to select the course that has the potential to help your career the most.
However, the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire’s Basic Certificate in Technical Writing is a good place to start; even with the higher price tag, it offers a comprehensive curriculum that teaches the fundamentals of technical writing and awards a certificate of completion.
|Best Online Technical Writing Classes|
|Course||Category||Cost||Length of Course|
|University of Wisconsin Eau Claire's Basic Certificate in Technical Writing||Best Overall||$975||90 hours over 4 months|
|Oregon State University’s Technical Writing Course - Online||Best Runner-Up||$425||4 weeks|
|Technical Writer HQ's One Week Technical Writer Certification||Best Free or Low-Cost||$199||1 week|
|University of Washington’s Business Writing: Reports, Proposals, and Documents||Best for Business Writing||$940||1 day per week for 7 weeks|
|American Management Association’s Effective Technical Writing||Best for Engineering and Technology||$2,095 if AMA member; $2,345 if non-member||2 days|
|Center for Professional Advancement’s Effective and Compliant Technical Writing||Best for Healthcare and Medical||$295 ($245 with group discount)||90 minutes|
What Is a Technical Writing Class?
Technical writing is a specific type of writing, geared towards industry-specific documents like manuals, legal disclaimers, annual reports, company documents and more. A technical writing class is a course designed to help you learn and hone the skills required to communicate those documents effectively.
Some courses are meant to help you write better in your current role, while others are designed to help you become a full-time technical writer.
What Education Do You Need to Be a Technical Writer?
Although it’s possible to become a technical writer without a formal education, most technical writing roles require a bachelor’s degree. You’ll need to have deep technical knowledge and top-notch writing skills to be successful in the profession.
What Do You Learn in Technical Writing Classes?
In a technical writing class, you’ll learn how to:
- Create different kinds of technical documentation
- Select the right words and sentence structure for your audience and message
- Use formatting and supporting graphics effectively
- Implement technical writing best practices
Depending on the class, you may also receive personalized feedback on your writing from your instructor.
How Much Money Do Technical Writers Make?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), technical writers earned a median yearly salary of $72,850 in 2019, which breaks down to just over $35 per hour.
Is There a Demand for Technical Writers?
Based on information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the profession is expected to grow 7% between 2019 and 2029, which is above average compared to other occupations. Technological advancements are fueling this growth and increasing demand for technical writers.
We carefully reviewed 13 online technical writing classes before making our top choices and considered the curriculum, price, and instructor expertise. We also factored in any notable class features or discounts.
All of our selections offer thorough curriculums at reasonable prices and are designed to help professionals become more confident and competent technical writers.