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Professional Communications

Program Requirements: 

Enjoy versatility in your job by obtaining a degree in Professional Communications from Gateway Technical College. Technical writers have the opportunity to work in various industries including the computer, electronic, financial, marketing, and medical industries. Many tech writers also appreciate that they can often choose how they work; they can choose to work at small companies, in a large corporate setting or freelance writing. The Professional Communications degree program at Gateway Technical College is a two-year associate degree offered at the Racine Campus and online. 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. Graduates of the program will be prepared to write, illustrate, layout and electronically publish materials such as instructional brochures, service literature, catalog literature, journalistic literature, promotional literature, grant proposals and web pages.

What does a technical writer do?

Professional Communications degree graduates enjoy great versatility, with opportunities to work in various industries including computer, electronic, financial, marketing and medical. Graduates can join the corporate world, work for a small business or do freelance technical writing work.

There are many different potential careers. Graduates may choose to be a writer for a magazine, website, advertising agency, or may choose to be a technical, broadcast, grant or speech writer. Other options include editor, copywriter, illustrator, multi-media specialist, community affairs publicist and more.

Learning by doing

Professional Communications degree students will enjoy hands-on, project-based learning. Students will apply skills and ideas to realistic projects throughout the coursework. As a result, there will be plenty of opportunity to build and maintain a professional portfolio for use during job interviews.

Classes are taught by instructors who bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the classroom, having written documentation for various industries including software, electronics, and automotive test equipment.

The computer lab is equipped with the latest software, printers and high-resolution scanners. Students also have access to digital cameras and lighting for use in completing coursework.

Part of the curriculum will include gaining practical work experience through internships or externships 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. Students are encouraged to join the Society for Technical Communication, which provides great networking opportunities.

Students gain further industry-related training and knowledge through professional speakers and field trips. Professional 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 technical communication support services like printers and photographers.

Job and salary outlook

Technical writers can earn a very competitive salary. For example, according to the Society for Technical Communication’s 2012–2013 Salary Database, the median annual wage for technical writers in Wisconsin was $52,050.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of technical writers is expected to grow 15 percent from 2012 to 2022. Growth will be driven by the expansion of scientific and technical products as writers will be needed to write user guides, instruction manuals and training materials for these products.

Advisors

Online

Jason Kemp

kempj@gtc.edu

Andrew Goodman

goodmana@gtc.edu

Racine

Raquel Palacios

palaciosr@gtc.edu

Faculty

Racine
Richard Barribeau
barribeaur@gtc.edu

Program Administration

Ray Koukari, Dean
koukarir@gtc.edu

Manoj Babu, Associate Dean
babum@gtc.edu

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