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Career and Education Opportunities for Technical Writers in Salem, Oregon

Salem, Oregon provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for technical writers. There are currently 690 working technical writers in Oregon; this should grow by 11% to 770 working technical writers in the state 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%. In general, technical writers 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 $32 hourly or $66,610 annually on average in Oregon and about $29 hourly or $61,620 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Technical writers earn more than people working in the category of Writing and Editing generally in Oregon and more than people in the Writing and Editing category nationally. Jobs in this field include: electronic publications specialist, health technical writer, and lexicographer.

There are seventeen schools of higher education in the Salem area, including four within twenty-five miles of Salem where you can get a degree to start your career as a technical writer. Technical writers usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so 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 Salem 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.
  • 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

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.

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.

Western Oregon University - Monmouth, OR

Western Oregon University, 345 N Monmouth Ave, Monmouth, OR 97361-1394. Western Oregon University is a medium sized university located in Monmouth, Oregon. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 5,179 students and an admission rate of 44%. Western Oregon University has a bachelor's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated one student 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.

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: Salem, Oregon

Salem, Oregon
Salem, Oregon photo by Aboutmovies

Salem is located in Marion County, Oregon. It has a population of over 153,435, which has grown by 12.1% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Salem, 97, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Salem are valued at $215,800 on average, which is above the state average. In 2008, two hundred sixty-nine new homes were constructed in Salem, down from five hundred forty-three the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Salem are health care, public administration, and educational services. For men, it is construction, public administration, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 22 minutes. More than 24.1% of Salem residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.8%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Salem is 10.2%, which is less than Oregon's average of 10.6%.

The percentage of Salem residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.6%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Salem is home to the Oregon Women's Correctional Center and the Oregon State Penitentiary as well as Waldo Park and Olinger Pool Park. Visitors to Salem can choose from Red Lion Hotel-Salem Reservations, Shilo Inn Salem and Econo Lodge Salem for temporary stays in the area.