Career and Education Opportunities for Technical Writers in Billings, Montana
There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for technical writers in the Billings, Montana area. There are currently eighty working technical writers in Montana; this should grow by 37% to 110 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. 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 $21 hourly or $45,750 per year on average in Montana 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 Montana earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Writing and Editing nationally. Jobs in this field include: documentation specialist, handbook writer, and technical communicator.
There is one school within twenty-five miles of Billings where you can study to be a technical writer, among four schools of higher education total in the Billings area. The most common level of education for technical writers is a Bachelor's degree. It will take about four years to learn 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 Billings 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.
- Program Director. Direct and coordinate activities of personnel engaged in preparation of radio or television station program schedules and programs.
- 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
Rocky Mountain College - Billings, MT
Rocky Mountain College, 1511 Poly Drive, Billings, MT 59102-1796. Rocky Mountain College is a small college located in Billings, Montana. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 872 students and an admission rate of 68%. Rocky Mountain College has a bachelor's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated two students 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: Billings, Montana
Billings is situated in Yellowstone County, Montana. It has a population of over 103,994, which has grown by 15.7% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Billings, 88, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Billings are valued at $132,200 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, five hundred nineteen new homes were built in Billings, down from six hundred four the previous year.
The three most popular industries for women in Billings are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average commute to work is about 16 minutes. More than 28.5% of Billings residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.2%, is higher than the state average.
The unemployment rate in Billings is 4.4%, which is less than Montana's average of 5.8%.
The percentage of Billings residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 48.6%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the LDS (Mormon) Church.
Billings is home to the Twin Pines Ranch and the Hilands Golf Club as well as Cobb Field and Pioneer Park. Visitors to Billings can choose from Western Executive Inn, Holiday Inn Express and Big 5 Motel for temporary stays in the area.