Career and Education Opportunities for Technical Writers in Charleston, West Virginia
Many educational and employment opportunities exist for technical writers in the Charleston, West Virginia area. Currently, seventy people work as technical writers in West Virginia. This is expected to grow 22% to about ninety people by 2016. This is better than 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.
Technical writers earn approximately $19 hourly or $40,520 yearly on average in West Virginia. Nationally they average about $29 hourly or $61,620 per year. Incomes for technical writers are better than in the overall category of Writing and Editing in West Virginia, and better than the overall Writing and Editing category nationally. Technical writers work in a variety of jobs, including: technical publications writer, documentation designer, and instructional designer.
There are two schools within twenty-five miles of Charleston where you can study to be a technical writer, among seventeen schools of higher education total in the Charleston area. The most common level of education 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
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 Charleston 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.
- 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
West Virginia State Community and Technical College - Institute, WV
West Virginia State Community and Technical College, 103 Cole Complex, Institute, WV 25112-1000. West Virginia State Community and Technical College is a small college located in Institute, West Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 1,741 students. West Virginia State Community and Technical College has an associate's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated two students in 2008.
West Virginia State University - Institute, WV
West Virginia State University, Rte 25, Institute, WV 25112-1000. West Virginia State University is a small university located in Institute, West Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,347 students and an admission rate of 57%. West Virginia State University has a bachelor's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated thirty-six 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: Charleston, West Virginia
Charleston is situated in Kanawha County, West Virginia. It has a population of over 50,302, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Charleston, 84, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Charleston are priced at $268,400 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, thirty-four new homes were constructed in Charleston, up from twenty-seven the previous year.
The three most popular industries for women in Charleston are health care, educational services, and public administration. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, health care, and public administration. The average travel time to work is about 16 minutes. More than 32.6% of Charleston residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 15.0%, is higher than the state average.
The unemployment rate in Charleston is 7.7%, which is the same as West Virginia's average of 7.7%. About 16.7% of Charleston's residents are below the poverty line, which is better than the state average.
The percentage of Charleston residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 34.5%, is less than both the national and state average. Starcher Baptist Church, Southeast Church of the Nazarene and South Ruffner Presbyterian Church are among the churches located in Charleston. The largest religious groups are the American Baptist Churches in the USA, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.
Charleston is home to the John F Kennedy Center and the Kanawha County Courthouse as well as Watt Powell Stadium and Ruffner Memorial Park. Shopping centers in the area include Patrick Street Plaza Shopping Center, Laidley Court Shopping Center and Plaza East Shopping Center. Visitors to Charleston can choose from Days Inn Charleston East WV, Motel 6 and Fairfield Inn Charleston for temporary stays in the area.