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On 4/21/07, A.H. <isaac840 -at- yahoo -dot- com> wrote:
> I know this has been brought up, but i checked the
> techwr-l archives and came up with zero hits.
> What kinds of certifications are there that are, or
> can be, relevant to TWing?
FYI, TWs/TCs...there are more certifications available out there than you may think.
First of all, if you don't already have a degree in Technical Communication, you can receive certificates from several university programs. Usually, the certificate requires completion of a few undergrad TW courses (e.g., although I eventually completed my master's in TW, I obtained a certificate anyway for completing basic courses). Any university with a TW/TC program should have this information on their website.
Secondly, some professional organizations offer certificates, although I can't vouch for the quality of the requirements or, hence, the value of the certificate. It is true that none of these certificates are recognized on a wide scale, either in the US or abroad, but many employers will give weight to professional certifications, even those that represent short-term seminars and training programs. So far, I've come across technical writing certificates from two organizations, the JER Group and the IABC.
The JER Group (http://www.techwriter-certification.com/) facilitates certification through accredited state universities and offers four different types of certifications: basic, intermediate, master, and personalized. Although facilitated by an independent organization, the certificates should represent similar instruction and similar achievement, if provided by accredited universities.
The International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) offers a professional accreditation (Accredited Business Communicator, or ABC). The accreditation has minimum requirements for years of experience and education. Find it online: http://www.iabc.com/abc/.
Third, the STC has just begun offering certification tracks at it's annual summit. This year's certificate programs include TechComm 101, Master Writers, Usability, Content Management, and Team Management. Surely, any company worth working for will recognize a certificate from the STC. Find it online: http://www.stc.org/54thConf/precon/certPrograms.asp
Finally, keep in mind that certificates in Technical Communication aren't the only ones valuable to a TC's career. We all use various tools and work in fields that are full of certifications. Although a certificate showing mastery in an Adobe product or proficiency at accounting doesn't prove you can write or organize information, it does show you've taken the time to develop skills with the tools and techniques that are essential to your field. These types of certifications provide plenty of leverage for finding jobs and negotiating salaries as well.
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