Careers and Benefits
Why Earn a Master of Arts in Technical Writing & Digital Rhetoric at Dixie State University?
- It is designed with your busy schedule in mind. All classes (except GA practicum) are offered in the evening, and you can attend any class either in person or remotely using your computer.
- It is flexible enough for any career goal. You can tailor your coursework, internships, or research projects accordingly to help you enter a new industry, advance your career, or pursue a doctorate.
- We offer Graduate Assistantships to many of our students. GAs typically teach 3 composition courses a year at the normal instructor rate of $750 per credit hour ($9,000 total per year). As a GA, you would be the instructor of record with the privileges and responsibilities that come with teaching a college course, just like our full-time instructors.
- Technical communicators are paid well. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2016 median pay for a technical writer was $69,850 or $33.58 per hour.
- Technical communicators are in high demand. According to that same study, the number of open jobs in 2016 was 52,400 with an additional 5,700 jobs projected to be added by 2026!
- Dixie State is the place to be. With a spirit of innovation and trailblazing, Dixie State is playing a critical role in expanding the Silicon Slopes of Northern Utah to the “Silicon Sands” of St. George. Science, technology, and healthcare industries are booming, especially in Southern Utah, creating jobs, internships, and endless opportunities for research and collaboration. It is the perfect time and place for studying technical writing and digital communication.
What Can You Do with a Master’s Degree in Technical Writing & Digital Rhetoric?
There are tens of thousands of jobs made available every year targeted toward technical writers and technical communicators in the fields of professional, scientific, & technical services; manufacturing; publishing industries; and administrative & support services.
According to CollegeGrad.com, technical writers typically do the following:
- Determine the needs of users of technical documentation
- Study product samples and talk with product designers and developers
- Work with technical staff to make products easier to use and thus require fewer instructions
- Write and organize supporting content for products
- Edit, standardize, or make changes to material prepared by other writers or establishment personnel
- Use photographs, drawings, diagrams, animation, and charts that increase users' understanding of the material
- Select appropriate medium for message or audience, such as manuals or online videos
- Standardize content across platforms and media
- Gather user feedback to update and improve content
- Revise content as new issues arise
Technical writers create paper-based and digital operating instructions, how-to manuals, assembly instructions, and "frequently asked questions" pages to help technical support staff, consumers, and other users within a company or an industry. After a product is released, technical writers also may work with product liability specialists and customer-service managers to improve the end-user experience through product design changes.
Technical writers often work with computer hardware engineers, computer support specialists, and software developers to manage the flow of information among project workgroups during development and testing. Therefore, technical writers must be able to understand complex information and communicate the information to people with diverse professional backgrounds.
Applying their knowledge of the user of the product, technical writers may serve as part of a team conducting usability studies to help improve the design of a product that is in the prototype stage. Technical writers may conduct research on their topics through personal observation, library and Internet research, and discussions with technical specialists.
Technical writers are also responsible for managing the consistency of technical content and its use across business departments including product development, manufacturing, marketing, and customer relations.
Some technical writers help write grant proposals for research scientists and institutions.
Increasingly, technical information is being delivered online and through social media. Technical writers are using the interactive technologies of the Web and social media to blend text, graphics, multidimensional images, sound, and video.