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Professional Communications

Program Requirements: 

Enjoy versatility in your career by obtaining a degree in Professional Communications from Gateway Technical College. Copywriters, grant writers, technical writers, and web content developers—all have the opportunity to work in various industries. Writing jobs exist in almost every industry, including the computer, education, electronics, financial, marketing, medical, and software industries. Many writers also appreciate that they can often choose how they work; they can choose to work at small organizations, in large corporate settings, or as freelance writers.

The Professional Communications degree program at Gateway Technical College is a two-year associate degree offered at the Racine Campus and online. Graduates of the program will be prepared to research, plan, create, publish, and evaluate communication products, including ads, articles, brochures, grant proposals, product documentation, promotional pieces, scripts, service literature, social media pages, software user assistance, and websites.

What does a writer do?

Professional communication skills are needed in business, government, and not-for-profit organizations to meet the demands of the information age. Every day, writers are responsible for converting raw information into knowledge. Grant writers seek funding for services and research that can help the community and lead to new products. Copywriters market services and products, and technical writers inform people how to use them. Web content developers use technology so people can access the information on mobile phones, social media, and websites.

There are many potential careers. Graduates can find careers as content architects, copywriters, editors, freelance writers, information designers, proposal writers, public relations specialists, technical illustrators, technical journalists, technical writers, training specialist, usability testers, web content developers, and more.

Learning by doing

Professional Communications degree students will enjoy hands-on, project-based learning online or at the Racine campus. Students will apply skills and knowledge to realistic projects throughout the coursework. Online courses give students the convenience of working around their schedule but gaining the education and skills needed to obtain a career in this demanding field. The Racine campus provides students with a traditional classroom experience and access to the writing lab. All students enjoy small class sizes that let instructors get to know students as individuals and give detailed feedback on writing projects.

Classes are taught by instructors who bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the classroom, having written for various industries, including electronics companies, institutes of higher education, medical equipment makers, and software companies.
Students have access to the software and technology used by professional and technical writers. Gateway Professional Communications students can use the latest Adobe, MadCap, and Microsoft software for free or reduced prices. In addition, the computer lab is equipped with a full-featured color printer, and students have access to digital cameras and lighting for use in completing coursework.

Students gain further industry-related training and knowledge through guest speakers and field trips. Guest speakers include both past graduates and local business people who discuss current trends related to professional writing. Students also take organized and independent field trips to various support services like printers and photographers. Students are also encouraged to join the Society for Technical Communication, which provides networking opportunities and professional resources. 


Part of the curriculum will include gaining practical work experience through internships with local businesses, organizations, Biz Squad, or Gateway departments. Biz Squad is a hands-on learning opportunity where students get to work with real world clients on actual projects, gaining experience in the field. 

While working in internships and on class projects, students will have plenty of opportunity to build and maintain a professional portfolio for use during job interviews. They will fill their portfolios with a variety of communication products to illustrate their skills in design, editing, illustration, project management, and writing. A portfolio class will help students put together their final portfolio for job searches.

After earning an associate’s degree from Gateway, Professional Communications graduates will be prepared to pursue writing careers, and they will also be prepared to continue their education at four-year colleges. The Professional Communications program has 2+2 agreements with MSOE’s Technical Communication program and UW-Stout’s online Professional Communication and Emerging Media program. These agreements let Gateway graduates transfer their Gateway credits so that they can enter these programs with advanced standing and save time and money as they work on bachelor’s degrees.

Job and salary outlook

Writers can earn competitive salaries. A drop in advertisement in traditional media is decreasing employment opportunities for editors and reporters. However, growth in technological advancements, social media, mobile devices, and ecommerce is accelerating employment opportunities for PR specialists, technical writers, and web content developers. The web content developers field has an expected 20 percent rate of growth, followed by technical writers at 15 percent and public relations specialists at 12 percent. The annual median wages in Wisconsin are $58,290 for technical writers, $55,680 for public relations specialists, $54,890 for editors, $58,850 for writers and authors and $36,000 for reporters.



Richard Barribeau

Program Administration

Ray Koukari, Dean

Manoj Babu, Associate Dean