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Career and Education Opportunities for Technical Writers in Detroit, Michigan

Technical writers can find many career and educational opportunities in the Detroit, Michigan area. Currently, 1,920 people work as technical writers in Michigan. This is expected to grow by 11% to 2,130 people by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for technical writers are expected to grow by about 18.2%. Technical writers generally write technical materials, such as equipment manuals, appendices, or operating and maintenance instructions.

A person working as a technical writer can expect to earn about $28 hourly or $58,850 yearly on average in Michigan and about $29 per hour or $61,620 annually on average in the U.S. as a whole. Compared with people working in the overall category of Writing and Editing, people working as technical writers in Michigan earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Writing and Editing nationally. Technical writers work in a variety of jobs, including: technical editor, documentation specialist, and engineering documentation specialist.

The Detroit area is home to seventy-three schools of higher education, including ten within twenty-five miles of Detroit where you can get a degree as a technical writer. 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

Technical Writer video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

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 Detroit include:

  • Audio Visual Technician. Set up or set up and operate audio and video equipment including microphones, sound speakers, video screens, projectors, video monitors, recording equipment, connecting wires and cables, sound and mixing boards, and related electronic equipment for concerts, sports events, meetings and conventions, presentations, and news conferences. May also set up and operate associated spotlights and other custom lighting systems.
  • 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

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor - Ann Arbor, MI

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, , Ann Arbor, MI 48109. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor is a large university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 40,618 students and an admission rate of 42%. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor has bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree programs in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated twenty-four, two, and three students respectively in 2008.

University of Michigan-Dearborn - Dearborn, MI

University of Michigan-Dearborn, 4901 Evergreen Rd, Dearborn, MI 48128-1491. University of Michigan-Dearborn is a medium sized university located in Dearborn, Michigan. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 8,311 students and an admission rate of 61%. University of Michigan-Dearborn has a bachelor's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated fifty-six students in 2008.

Wayne State University - Detroit, MI

Wayne State University, 656 West Kirby Street, Detroit, MI 48202. Wayne State University is a large university located in Detroit, Michigan. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 31,025 students and an admission rate of 79%. Wayne State University has bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree programs in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated twenty-two, forty-five, and eleven students respectively in 2008.

Eastern Michigan University - Ypsilanti, MI

Eastern Michigan University, , Ypsilanti, MI 48197. Eastern Michigan University is a large university located in Ypsilanti, Michigan. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 22,137 students and an admission rate of 75%. Eastern Michigan University has 2 areas of study related to Technical Writer. They are:

  • Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric, bachelor's degree and master's degree which graduated five and thirteen students respectively in 2008.
  • Technical and Business Writing, bachelor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.

Washtenaw Community College - Ann Arbor, MI

Washtenaw Community College, 4800 E Huron River Dr, Ann Arbor, MI 48105-4800. Washtenaw Community College is a large college located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 12,906 students. Washtenaw Community College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Technical and Business Writing which graduated two and one students respectively in 2008.

Oakland University - Rochester Hills, MI

Oakland University, , Rochester Hills, MI 48309-4401. Oakland University is a large university located in Rochester Hills, Michigan. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 18,169 students and an admission rate of 78%. Oakland University has a bachelor's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric.

Concordia University-Ann Arbor - Ann Arbor, MI

Concordia University-Ann Arbor, 4090 Geddes Rd, Ann Arbor, MI 48105. Concordia University-Ann Arbor is a small university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 872 students and an admission rate of 63%. Concordia University-Ann Arbor has a bachelor's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric.

University of Detroit Mercy - Detroit, MI

University of Detroit Mercy, 4001 W McNichols Rd, Detroit, MI 48221-3038. University of Detroit Mercy is a medium sized university located in Detroit, Michigan. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 5,725 students and an admission rate of 64%. University of Detroit Mercy has a bachelor's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated one student in 2008.

Madonna University - Livonia, MI

Madonna University, 36600 Schoolcraft Rd, Livonia, MI 48150-1176. Madonna University is a small university located in Livonia, Michigan. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,015 students and an admission rate of 76%. Madonna University has 2 areas of study related to Technical Writer. They are:

  • Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric, associate's degree and bachelor's degree.
  • Technical and Business Writing, bachelor's degree and postbaccalaureate certificate.

Rochester College - Rochester Hills, MI

Rochester College, 800 W Avon Rd, Rochester Hills, MI 48307. Rochester College is a small college located in Rochester Hills, Michigan. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 883 students and an admission rate of 83%. Rochester College has a bachelor's degree program in Business/Corporate Communications which graduated eleven students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

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: Detroit, Michigan

Detroit, Michigan
Detroit, Michigan photo by Durova

Detroit is located in Wayne County, Michigan. It has a population of over 912,062, which has shrunk by 4.1% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Detroit, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Detroit are priced at $108,900 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, eighty-five new homes were built in Detroit, down from one hundred fifty-four the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Detroit are health care, educational services, and transportation equipment. For men, it is transportation equipment, construction, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average commute to work is about 28 minutes. More than 11.0% of Detroit residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 4.2%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Detroit is 27.0%, which is greater than Michigan's average of 14.3%.

The percentage of Detroit residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.7%, is less than both the national and state average. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Detroit is home to the Memorial Park Marina and the Detroit Golf Club as well as Chene Park and Mallett Playground. Visitors to Detroit can choose from Corktown Inn, Clark's Motel and Days Inn of Downtown Detroit for temporary stays in the area.