Technical Writing

Next Program Entry:
Start any time
12 months from date of enrollment
Fully online
Hours of instruction:
Technical Writing is a career that offers a variety of writing possibilities. This technical writing certificate program focuses on a reader-centered approach and helps students understand the nature of writing highly effective letters, proposals, emails, memos, documentation and reports. Additionally, students will learn how to conduct research, appropriately cite sources and maintain readers’ attention.

Who Should Attend?

  • Individuals who are seeking employment as a technical writer
  • Anyone wishing to enhance their skills in technical writing

Key Benefits

  • Learn the characteristics and guidelines of technical writing
  • Develop strategies for analyzing your readers and meeting their needs
  • Identify the steps for conducting research and preparing for technical writing
  • Identify the strategies for reviewing drafts and managing projects
  • Identify methods for developing document style, voice and design elements

Where are these courses offered?

SMU PRO Certificates and courses offered through our partnership with are completely online. You will never be required to attend a brick-and-mortar classroom and you can complete your entire course from the comfort of your own home or office.

Get Started

Complete the form below to get in touch with a recruiter.


This course is offered by our online course provider, World Education. Please call 855-201-6910 to speak with a program advisor.

Course Overview


Introduction to Technical Writing

  • Workplace writing
  • Reader-centered strategies
  • Communicating ethically
  • Applying to jobs
  • Your résumé
  • Interviewing effectively
  • Defining communication goals
  • Reader profile
  • Writing context for readers
  • Identifying communication stakeholders

Conducting Research

  • Useful communication
  • Organizing readers’ tasks
  • Planning persuasive strategies
  • How to focus on your readers’ goals and values
  • Creating a favorable response
  • Research and writing
  • Documenting sources
  • Reader-centered research methods
  • Research using memory and creativity
  • Internet research

Developing Effective Styles and Voice

  • Announcing your topic
  • Creating clarity, coherence and persuasiveness
  • Describing a cause-and-effect relationship
  • Creating an effective, professional voice
  • Conveying meaning clearly and precisely
  • Motivating readers to pay attention
  • Adapting to cultural backgrounds
  • Ending a communication
  • Defining goals for the ending
  • Planning front and back matter

Design Elements and Draft Revision

  • Increasing communication with graphics
  • Aligning graphics to objectives
  • Tables, graphs and charts
  • Photographs and illustrations
  • Citing graphics
  • Reader-centered design
  • Design elements of communication
  • Designing grid patterns
  • Revising your drafts
  • Testing drafts for usefulness and persuasiveness

Communication Structures and Project Management

  • Creating communications with a team
  • Shared understanding of team goals and procedures
  • Obtaining commitment and effort from team
  • Effective team meetings
  • Listener-centered presentations
  • Maintaining listeners’ attention
  • Managing clients and service-learning projects
  • Project management strategy
  • Maintaining a productive client relationship
  • Creating reader-centered websites

Styles of Reader-Centered Writing

  • How to use the appropriate level of formality
  • Giving needed background information
  • Reader-centered writing
  • The variety of proposal-writing situations
  • Crafting the major elements of a proposal
  • Typical writing situations
  • Superstructure for empirical research reports
  • Preparing and crafting empirical research reports
  • Level of formality
  • Providing background information

Writing Situations and Instructions

  • Writing reader-centered feasibility reports
  • Preparing for feasibility reports
  • Sample feasibility reports
  • Writing reader-centered progress reports
  • Typical writing situations
  • Tone in progress reports
  • Reader-centered instructions
  • Processes for preparing instructions
  • Crafting the major elements of instruction
  • Webpage and video instructions
All students who register for the Technical Writing course will receive a subscription to Questia. This useful tool provides access to credible, scholarly content from over 75,000 full-text books and 9 million articles, as well as research tutorials with interactive instruction on how to research and write papers.

After completing this course, you should be able to:

  • Describe the characteristics and guidelines of technical writing
  • Describe strategies for analyzing your readers and meeting their needs
  • Identify the steps for conducting research and preparing for technical writing
  • Identify the strategies for reviewing drafts and managing projects
  • Identify methods for developing document style, voice and design elements


  • English

Course Access Time

Students are given 12 months to complete the program. Extensions are available if needed; fees may apply.


There are no specific prerequisites for this course. Students will need access to both a computer and the internet. Students should have basic keyboarding and computer skills, and be comfortable navigating the internet.
The intended audience for this program is individuals who are seeking to gain employment as a Technical Writer or wishing to enhance their skills in the field.

Requirements/Materials Included

Internet Access
  • Broadband or high-speed internet access is required. Broadband includes DSL, cable, and wireless connections.
  • Dial-up internet connections will result in a diminished online experience. Moodle pages may load slowly and viewing large audio and video files may not be possible.
  •  Microsoft Windows
  • Mac computers MUST have Microsoft Window Operating Systems installed via Bootcamp (Bootcamp is a free download from Apple's website)
  • 1 GB RAM minimum recommended
  • Operating Systems: Windows XP, Vista or 7 and Mac OS X 10 or higher with Windows
  • Web Browsers: Google Chrome is highly recommended. Internet Explorer is not recommended as it may not display certain menus and links
  • Cookies MUST be enabled
  • Pop-ups MUST be allowed/Pop-up Blocker disabled
  • Kindle Reader App
  • Adobe PDF Reader
  • Media Plug-ins (may be required depending on your course media)
  • Adobe Flash Player
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader, Apple Quicktime, Windows Media Player, and/or Real Player
  • PowerPoint Viewer
The following textbook will be provided to each student upon registration:
Technical Communication, by Paul Anderson .

What skills do online learners need?

Most courses require a basic level of computer skills, including the ability to send and receive email as well as conduct research on the Internet. If more advanced skills are required, they will be listed in the course description. If you are uncertain, we recommend that you discuss the skills required for a course with our World Education Student Services Team by email at or by phone at 855-278-4945.

How do students interact with instructors?

All courses are taught by trained instructors who provide support for students through the online classroom and email. The instructor is responsible for facilitating online discussion, as well as answering students’ questions and reviewing and grading assignments and exams.

Do I need an email account for my online course?

Yes, all students taking online courses must have an email account. Email accounts may be obtained by signing up for a free account through a free email service provider such as Gmail,, Yahoo! Mail or

When it says a course is 200 hours long, does that mean I have to sit at my computer for 200 hours?

No, it means that the author of the course has stated that he or she expects you to be able to complete the course in 200 hours. This time frame may include homework, research, reading, or in some cases, additional development and reflection time.

What are the advantages to online learning?

With online learning, you can study from home or work. You can log on and off as often as you need to, and the course will pick up right where you left off. Also, you only learn what you want to know. Lastly, the courses are web-based, so you can log on from any computer that has access to the internet.

What kind of certificate do I get when I have completed the course?

Once you have completed your course, a Certificate of Completion will be sent from SMU PRO.

Whom do I contact if I have a problem with my course?

If you encounter any difficulties, you should always contact your instructor first, but if that is unsuccessful you can email

If I have questions about a course, whom can I contact? admissions advisors are ready to assist you with career counseling and would be happy to assist you with answering any questions about a course you are interested in taking. You can email or call 855-201-6910.

What if I need to suspend my attendance, cancel my registration or withdraw?

For students paying via self-pay: SMU PRO Certificate program enrollment is final as of three (3) business days after enrollment and programs are intended to be successfully completed in full. If you wish to withdraw from a course within 3 days of enrollment, you will receive a refund minus the cost of any completed course work. If applicable, any shipped materials must be returned in new condition, at your own expense, prior to the refund being processed. The cost of items not returned or returned in used condition shall be deducted from the refund amount. After the 3-day grace period, withdrawal from the program or not completing the program forfeits your tuition costs. We do not provide any prorated refunds or credits for partial certificate program completion.
For students paying via a Sallie Mae loan: SMU PRO Certificate program enrollment is final upon distribution of Sallie Mae funds to the university. No refunds are allowed once the funds have been received by the financial office. If a student wishes to withdraw from a program within the 14 days prior to loan distribution date, the student must submit their written request to withdraw from the program to for consideration. Once funds are secured by SMU, the student will be expected to fully participate in the program; failure to participate will forfeit tuition funding and the student will be expected to repay their loan per the conditions of the loan.

I am located in a country outside of the United States and would like to register for a course. What do I do?

Anyone is welcome to register for our online courses. Courses are in English.

What are the qualifications for registering for a particular course?

If you need prior skills or knowledge before starting a course they will be listed on the course description under "Prerequisites."
This class is supported by an educational mentor. Our educational mentors have worked or are working in the subject they mentor. Educational mentors review student work, student progress, and interact with students as needed. They respond to any questions or concerns you might have, as well as encouraging and motivating you to succeed.
This course is offered by our online course provider, World

Did you know?


Average annual salary for technical writers in Texas


Projected increase in employment by 2024 for technical writers

Top job titles include technical writer, business analyst, and marketing director.

Contact Us

Complete the form below to get in touch with a Program Advisor.

Questions? Talk to a Program Advisor at or 214-768-1163.