Can this career be saved?

Subject: Can this career be saved?
From: Becca <becca_price -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: TechWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 6 Jun 2011 09:11:39 -0700 (PDT)

I was a tech writer for 25 years, doing mostly independent contracts - my last few full-time jobs ended, however, when the company I was working for went out of business.

Due to family reasons, I haven't worked in the field since 2003. I've had a few part-time jobs, but mostly I've been a stay at home mom with two special needs children. Now the kids are grown and driving themselves and in college. I really miss technical writing, and would like to get back into the business.

Our local community college has a locally-well-thought-of program where I could get a technical writing certificate in 3 terms. I'd learn programs like InDesign, QuarkXpress, and FrameMaker, in addition to getting caught up with current best practices in the field - I know things have changed radically since I had to leave writing.

My question is: Does this certificate sound worth while? it certainly is more pragmatic than getting a Masters in Technical Writing from a local university (that program sounds more theoretical than practical). Would any company look twice at someone with my history? My freelance days included contracts from companies such as Ford, Apple, and EDS. I've kept contact with a few people who could still give me referrals.

-becca
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