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Career and Education Opportunities for Technical Writers in Houston, Texas

Technical writer career and educational opportunities abound in Houston, Texas. About 3,450 people are currently employed as technical writers in Texas. By 2016, this is expected to grow 23% to about 4,260 people employed. This is better than 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.

Technical writers earn about $27 per hour or $57,750 per year on average in Texas and about $29 per hour or $61,620 yearly on average nationally. Incomes for technical writers are better than in the overall category of Writing and Editing in Texas, and better than the overall Writing and Editing category nationally. Technical writers work in a variety of jobs, including: engineering documentation specialist, medical technical writer, and lexicographer.

The Houston area is home to eighty-one schools of higher education, including eight within twenty-five miles of Houston where you can get a degree as a technical writer. 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

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 Houston 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 Houston-Clear Lake - Houston, TX

University of Houston-Clear Lake, 2700 Bay Area Blvd, Houston, TX 77058-1098. University of Houston-Clear Lake is a medium sized university located in Houston, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 7,638 students. University of Houston-Clear Lake has a bachelor's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated thirty-three students in 2008.

University of Houston - Houston, TX

University of Houston, 212 E. Cullen Building, Houston, TX 77204-2018. University of Houston is a large university located in Houston, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 36,080 students and an admission rate of 79%. University of Houston has 2 areas of study related to Technical Writer. They are:

  • Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric, bachelor's degree which graduated 11 students in 2008.
  • Business/Corporate Communications, bachelor's degree which graduated 46 students in 2008.

University of St Thomas - Houston, TX

University of St Thomas, 3800 Montrose Blvd, Houston, TX 77006-4696. University of St Thomas is a small university located in Houston, Texas. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,246 students and an admission rate of 81%. University of St Thomas has a bachelor's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated twenty-four students in 2008.

Texas Southern University - Houston, TX

Texas Southern University, 3100 Cleburne St, Houston, TX 77004. Texas Southern University is a medium sized university located in Houston, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 8,062 students and an admission rate of 99%. Texas Southern University has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated zero and fifteen students respectively in 2008.

Lone Star College System - The Woodlands, TX

Lone Star College System, 5000 Research Forest Drive, The Woodlands, TX 77381-4399. Lone Star College System is a large college located in The Woodlands, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 41,331 students. Lone Star College System has an associate's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated one student in 2008.

Houston Community College System - Houston, TX

Houston Community College System, 3100 Main Street, Houston, TX 77266-7517. Houston Community College System is a large college located in Houston, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 48,087 students. Houston Community College System has less than one year, one to two year, and associate's degree programs in Business/Corporate Communications.

Houston Baptist University - Houston, TX

Houston Baptist University, 7502 Fondren Rd, Houston, TX 77074-3298. Houston Baptist University is a small university located in Houston, Texas. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,564 students and an admission rate of 46%. Houston Baptist University has a bachelor's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated ten students in 2008.

University of Houston-Downtown - Houston, TX

University of Houston-Downtown, 1 Main Street, Houston, TX 77002-1014. University of Houston-Downtown is a large university located in Houston, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 12,283 students. University of Houston-Downtown has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Technical and Business Writing which graduated sixteen and six students respectively 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: Houston, Texas

Houston, Texas
Houston, Texas photo by Hequals2henry

Houston is located in Harris County, Texas. It has a population of over 2,242,193, which has grown by 14.8% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Houston, 89, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Houston are valued at $173,500 on average, which is near the state average. In 2008, 3,684 new homes were constructed in Houston, down from 6,035 the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Houston are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average commute to work is about 27 minutes. More than 27.0% of Houston residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.7%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Houston is 8.0%, which is less than Texas's average of 8.1%.

The percentage of Houston residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 50.4%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. El Buen Pastor United Methodist Church, 34th Temple Church of God in Christ and Pentecostal Church of God in Christ are some of the churches located in Houston. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.

Houston is home to the Champion Rod and Gun Club and the Independence Heights Residential Historic District as well as Hermann Park and Hennessey Park. Shopping centers in the area include Windsor Plaza Shopping Center, Meyerland Plaza Shopping Center and Meyerland Shopping Center. Visitors to Houston can choose from Capital Inn, Bradford Homesuites - Houston Galleria and Best Western Fountainview Inn and Suites for temporary stays in the area.