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Career and Education Opportunities for Technical Writers in Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for technical writers. Currently, 690 people work as technical writers in Oregon. This is expected to grow 11% to about 770 people by 2016. This is not quite as good as 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.

Technical writers earn approximately $32 per hour or $66,610 annually on average in Oregon. Nationally they average about $29 hourly or $61,620 yearly. Incomes for technical writers are better than in the overall category of Writing and Editing in Oregon, and better than the overall Writing and Editing category nationally. Jobs in this field include: proposal writer, health technical writer, and process description writer.

The Portland area is home to fifty-nine schools of higher education, including nine within twenty-five miles of Portland where you can get a degree as a technical writer. Given that the most common education level for technical writers is a Bachelor's degree, you can expect to spend about four years training to become 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 Portland 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

Lewis & Clark College - Portland, OR

Lewis & Clark College, 0615 S W Palatine Hill Rd, Portland, OR 97219-7899. Lewis & Clark College is a small college located in Portland, Oregon. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,650 students and an admission rate of 58%. Lewis & Clark College has a bachelor's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated two students in 2008.

University of Portland - Portland, OR

University of Portland, 5000 N Willamette Blvd, Portland, OR 97203-5798. University of Portland is a small university located in Portland, Oregon. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,666 students and an admission rate of 79%. University of Portland has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated zero and two students respectively in 2008.

Linfield College - McMinnville, OR

Linfield College, 900 SE Baker, McMinnville, OR 97128-6894. Linfield College is a small college located in McMinnville, Oregon. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,721 students and an admission rate of 79%. Linfield College has a bachelor's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated four students in 2008.

Pacific University - Forest Grove, OR

Pacific University, 2043 College Way, Forest Grove, OR 97116. Pacific University is a small university located in Forest Grove, Oregon. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,135 students and an admission rate of 78%. Pacific University has a bachelor's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated three students in 2008.

Portland State University - Portland, OR

Portland State University, 724 SW Harrison, Portland, OR 97201. Portland State University is a large university located in Portland, Oregon. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 25,959 students and an admission rate of 80%. Portland State University has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated one and eight students respectively in 2008.

Warner Pacific College - Portland, OR

Warner Pacific College, 2219 SE 68th Ave, Portland, OR 97215-4026. Warner Pacific College is a small college located in Portland, Oregon. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 970 students and an admission rate of 61%. Warner Pacific College has a bachelor's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated three students in 2008.

Marylhurst University - Marylhurst, OR

Marylhurst University, 17600 Pacific Hwy - Hwy 43, Marylhurst, OR 97036-0261. Marylhurst University is a small university located in Marylhurst, Oregon. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,744 students. Marylhurst University has a less than one year and a bachelor's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated fourteen and fourteen students respectively in 2008.

George Fox University - Newberg, OR

George Fox University, 414 N Meridian St, Newberg, OR 97132. George Fox University is a small university located in Newberg, Oregon. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,382 students and an admission rate of 83%. George Fox University has a bachelor's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric.

Cascade College - Portland, OR

Cascade College, 9101 E Burnside Street, Portland, OR 97216-1515. Cascade College is a small college located in Portland, Oregon. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 282 students. Cascade College has a bachelor's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric.

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: Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon
Portland, Oregon photo by Fcb981

Portland is located in Multnomah County, Oregon. It has a population of over 557,706, which has grown by 5.4% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Portland, 103, is above the national average. New single-family homes in Portland are priced at $194,700 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, six hundred forty-eight new homes were constructed in Portland, down from 1,205 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Portland are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 23 minutes. More than 32.6% of Portland residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 11.4%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Portland is 10.7%, which is greater than Oregon's average of 10.6%.

The percentage of Portland residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 45.7%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Charismatic Churches Independent.

Portland is home to the Barnes Yard and the Haig as well as Cottonwood Bay City Park and Wallace City Park. Visitors to Portland can choose from Motel 6, Shilo Inns & Resorts and Comfort Inn Portland for temporary stays in the area.