There is a debate going on today as to whether or not tech writers need certification in their field. STC is offering a certification, and the debate rages on as to how much value it is worth.

I am of two minds of this. On the one hand, it’s always nice to have initials after your name, to show that you’ve studied something and passed their tests. For instance, I’m currently pursuing a CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management) certification – Project Management certification for those without the managerial experience. I want to augment what I can already offer, and it’s not outrageously expensive. I’ve been studying it for a while, and am almost ready to take the test.  And I know of others who are certified in other complimentary fields; to show they have the breadth of knowledge to do whatever writing job is necessary for their field.

But the CPTC (Certified Professional in Technical Communication) certification is another story. Their prices are much larger than PMI’s prices, and are currently well beyond my means. They say that you can ask your employer to help – that may have been fine for the 90’s, but for today’s penny pinching climate, some of us need to do this on our own. And it’s not just a test; you have to turn in a portfolio of your work. Which some of us can’t do because of non-disclosure agreements that we have with the companies we work for.  Now, I happen to have a relatively new portfolio because of the work I’ve done for my Master’s degree – I can easily use that. But what about those practitioners who got their degree years ago? Or those who can’t pull together a portfolio without erasing most of the information because it’s all proprietary? A résumé just doesn’t cut it with this certification.

So, unless it comes down in price, I will be forgoing the CPTC certification for now. It’s something that I would love to get, but it’s just not possible, given the current economic status.

Are you pursuing the CPTC? Or other certifications? Please leave a comment below – I’d love to hear your opinion!


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