Subject: Certification
Date: Wed, 10 Jan 1996 09:25:34 EST

Subject: Certification

This thread of certification vs. no certification is sort of like
discussing abortion. You either believe in it
or you don't. However, having just completed a certification program
in techical writing at a local
community college, I thought I would share my experience.

Although I have a bachelor's degree and teach high school, I went to
school at night to receive the
tech writing certification. (The actual certificate is plain vanilla,
I might add.) I have no way of
knowing what it will ultimately mean to me, but I *do* know that I
received some excellent training from
instructors who were not just good teachers but were currently
employed as tech writers at such places as Sematech and IBM. They
knew what they were talking about.

I learned all about the STC which we were encouraged to join. I
learned what Interleaf and
Framemaker were. I created my first "how-to" manual from scratch
with nothing to use but the hardware
pieces themselves. This project alone was worth the price of the

I took courses in grammar, usage, and copy editing. I learned about
the Levels of Edit. I took a course in writing technical reports -
the hardest course of all - where I learned (IMHO) that proposal
writing was definitely an art. I took Documentation I and
Documentation II where we created more manuals from scratch and were
encouraged to submit these to the STC student writing contests.

I took courses in editing (thank you, Marilyn Lamping). There is a
special projects laboratory course
where you work in the specific area in which you are seeking
employment. There is also a practicum
(on-the-job) where students are allowed to receive much needed
experience. The department head
constantly notifies students about volunteer projects that they can
do to gain more experience.

Although I continue to teach, I have begun doing some contract work
at home, and who knows, I may
get brave enough to go full time someday. Certification may not be
for everyone and if you have 20
years experience, who needs it? But, in my case, it has gotten me
involved in this wonderful career and
I'm happy to be associated with it.

And, I love this list!

Ginger Jones
FFKB48A -at- prodigy -dot- com
(I hope this doesn't appear twice, but I sent it yesterday and it
hadn't appeared as of this morning.)

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