Career and Education Opportunities for Technical Writers in Birmingham, Alabama
Technical writers can find many career and educational opportunities in the Birmingham, Alabama area. There are currently 640 working technical writers in Alabama; this should grow by 27% to about 810 working technical writers in the state by 2016. This is better than the national trend for technical writers, which sees this job pool growing by about 18.2% over the next eight years. In general, technical writers write technical materials, such as equipment manuals, appendices, or operating and maintenance instructions.
Technical writers earn about $24 hourly or $50,870 annually on average in Alabama and about $29 hourly or $61,620 yearly on average nationally. Incomes for technical writers are better than in the overall category of Writing and Editing in Alabama, and better than the overall Writing and Editing category nationally. Jobs in this field include: document specialist, process description writer, and technical writer and editor.
There are two schools within twenty-five miles of Birmingham where you can study to be a technical writer, among fifteen schools of higher education total in the Birmingham area. The most common level of education for technical writers is a Bachelor's degree. You can expect to spend about four years studying to be a technical writer if you already have a high school diploma.
CAREER DESCRIPTION: Technical Writer
In general, technical writers write technical materials, such as equipment manuals, appendices, or operating and maintenance instructions. They also may assist in layout work.
Technical writers organize material and complete writing assignments in line with set standards. They also maintain records and files of work and revisions. Equally important, technical writers have to edit or make changes to material prepared by other writers or establishment personnel. They are often called upon to inspect published materials and recommend revisions or changes in scope and methods of reproduction and binding. They are expected to decide on photographs and charts to illustrate material. Finally, technical writers help in laying out material for publication.
Every day, technical writers are expected to be able to write clearly and communicate well. They need to read and understand documents and reports.
It is important for technical writers to interview production and engineering personnel and read journals and other material to become familiar with product technologies and production methods. They are often called upon to analyze developments in specific field to establish need for revisions in previously published materials and development of new material. They also talk with customer representatives or publisher to determine technical specifications and to establish subject material to be developed for publication. They are sometimes expected to observe production and experimental efforts to establish operating procedure and detail. Somewhat less frequently, technical writers are also expected to draw sketches to illustrate specified materials or assembly sequence.
Technical writers sometimes are asked to draw sketches to illustrate specified materials or assembly sequence. And finally, they sometimes have to observe production and experimental efforts to establish operating procedure and detail.
Like many other jobs, technical writers must believe in an agile approach to problem solving and deal with change and be thorough and dependable.
Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Birmingham include:
- Copy Writer. Write advertising copy for use by publication or broadcast media to promote sale of goods and services.
- Editorial Specialist. Perform variety of editorial duties, such as laying out, indexing, and revising content of written materials, in preparation for final publication.
- News Analyst. Analyze, interpret, and broadcast news received from various sources.
- Program Director. Direct and coordinate activities of personnel engaged in preparation of radio or television station program schedules and programs.
- Radio and Television Announcer. Talk on radio or television. May interview guests, act as master of ceremonies, read news flashes, identify station by giving call letters, or announce song title and artist.
- Reporter. Collect and analyze facts about newsworthy events by interview, investigation, or observation. Report and write stories for newspaper, news magazine, or television.
- Writer. Create original written works.
EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Technical Writer Training
Samford University - Birmingham, AL
Samford University, 800 Lakeshore Drive, Birmingham, AL 35229-2240. Samford University is a small university located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,469 students and an admission rate of 89%. Samford University has a bachelor's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated twelve students in 2008.
University of Alabama at Birmingham - Birmingham, AL
University of Alabama at Birmingham, Administration Bldg Suite 1070, Birmingham, AL 35294-0110. University of Alabama at Birmingham is a large university located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 16,149 students and an admission rate of 85%. University of Alabama at Birmingham has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated 115 and thirteen students respectively in 2008.
Certified Technical Trainer: CompTIA CTT+ is an international, vendor-neutral certification that covers core instructor skills, including preparation, presentation, communication, facilitation and evaluation in both a classroom and virtual classroom environment.
For more information, see the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) website.
LOCATION INFORMATION: Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham is located in Jefferson County, Alabama. It has a population of over 228,798, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Birmingham, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Birmingham cost $187,300 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, one hundred thirty-two new homes were built in Birmingham, down from two hundred thirty-two the previous year.
The top three industries for women in Birmingham are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 24 minutes. More than 18.5% of Birmingham residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.6%, is lower than the state average.
The unemployment rate in Birmingham is 12.5%, which is greater than Alabama's average of 10.7%.
The percentage of Birmingham residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 60.1%, is more than both the national and state average. Williams Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Westminister Presbyterian Church and West End Methodist Church are all churches located in Birmingham. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.
Birmingham is home to the Mineral Park Municipal Golf Course and the Cooper Green Golf Course as well as Avondale Mills Park and Smithfield Historic District. Shopping malls in the area include Acipco Shopping Center, Altadena Square Shopping Center and Parkway East Huffman Shopping Center. Visitors to Birmingham can choose from Marriott Hotel Birmingham, Rime Garden Extended Stay Suites and Studioplus for temporary stays in the area.