This is not an either/or proposition. A solid education is the foundation of a successful technical communication career; actually, of any career. But is it essential that in order to pursue a career in technical communication you must have earned a degree in technical communication? Not necessarily.
Consider this. Thirty-one percent of college graduates in the U.S. age 35 and older have never been employed in the field in which they earned their degree. Almost one-third! This information is based on a survey conducted by CareerBuilder.com in 2013. When they considered workers who had recently graduated from college, the percentage of those not working within their field of study is even more shocking. Practically half – 47% of those polled – did not work in their field for their first job. So then really, how can you determine what your best college major should be if you want to be involved with technical communication in some way? You can’t.
What you can do, is get a good education from an accredited institution and gain additional skills on the job or through a certificate program. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists communication skills as vital for people looking to become computer scientists, database administrators, software developers, medical procedure writers and even environmental regulators. The list could go on and on.
But, in other words, students pursing a wide-variety of degrees and those in the job market who have obtained other degrees can benefit from completing a certification in technical communication. Having knowledge and skills in technical communication can give you an edge over job-seekers who do not have that additional certification. One source for technical communication certification is www.ITCQF.org. The International Technical Communication Qualifications Foundation (ITCQF) is a comprehensive technical communication certification program developed in cooperation with recognized tech comm experts, and based on existing international standards. Check it out today!