If you have wanted to become a technical writer, or already are, you might wonder what an average technical writer salary is currently.
There are a lot of ways you can make more money as a technical writer but also quite a few ways you can grow your experience and start to make more when it comes to your salary.
Whether you are new to technical writing or you have been in the game for a while, this article will go over some of the basics you need to know and explore various avenues for you to make more.
Each time you improve your salary, you will also need to improve your skillset as a technical writer. That is a given, but you might not understand exactly how to do it.
So let’s dive in.
What is Technical Writing?
Technical writing is quite different than other types of writing.
To summarize it in a sentence, technical writing is the art of taking something complicated and making it easy to understand or implement.
This could be things such as:
- User manuals
- Press releases
- Case studies
- White papers
- SOP’s (Standard operating procedures)
- Installation guides
- Any company documents
- Legal disclaimers
- Safety instructions
- Medical or legal writing
Technical Writer Salary At Different Levels of Experience
Let’s take a look at each level of being a technical writer and what you can generally expect for a salary at each level.
Keep in mind, every writer and company is different. The numbers below are just nationwide averages across the United States. Your country and experience might be different.
However, this should give you a good starting point and help you figure out what to expect, and give you something to measure your own salary against.
To become an entry level technical writer, you need to master some of the absolute basics in the field.
You should understand how to start putting together a technical writing document. You have great grammar and writing skills. Not every document you create is perfect, but you are eager and ready to learn as you go.
This is the level where you want to absorb as much as you can. You should buy some of the foundational books on technical writing and learning in your off time.
You also want to develop a practice to improve your skills and be ready to apply feedback when you get it. Keep in mind, not all feedback will feel great and your ego might be bruised, but it is essential to your growth.
As an entry level technical writer, you can expect anywhere between $54, 501 and $68,001 for your salary.
To consider yourself a mid level technical writer, you need at least a few years of experience under your belt.
At this stage, you should still be learning as much as possible, but what matters more at this step is making sure your skills are improving.
This is when you take on projects that challenge you and force you to grow. You know what you are doing, but you continue to push the limits of what you think you can do.
You are open to feedback from even more people so you can continue to learn and grow.
At the mid level, you can expect a salary of closer to $73,100 per year, with $81,700 being in the higher part of that range.
Expert Level Technical Writer
Once you are at this level, you truly know the ins and outs of technical writing and how to create stellar results. This level is sometimes referred to as the Senior Technical Writer.
To consider yourself at this level, you should create excellent documents that stand out amongst your peers. People are thrilled with your work and go to you for advice.
You continue to learn at this stage, but you also might be at the stage where you are now teaching people at the beginning of their technical writing journey.
At this level of expertise, you can expect a salary range between $83,400 and $101,400.
How to Make More As A Technical Writer
There are quite a few things you can do to increase your salary or hourly rate as a technical writer.
#1 – Increase your education
If you want to make more money as a technical writer, the first thing you will want to consider is taking more classes to improve your skill set.
This doesn’t always mean formal education, such as going to get an advanced degree, although it can include that. You could simply find online classes on your own to sign up for and complete.
You can often ask your employer if they will help with the cost of classes, which some companies are happy to do.
#2 – Get more experience
The more times you get a chance to improve your technical writing skills, the more you can ask for as a technical writer.
This could include taking on extra certifications, projects, or finding ways to increase your skillset in general as a technical writer.
You might even want to consider taking on freelance jobs just to increase the amount of experience and knowledge you have around technical writing.
While a lot of the basics around technical writing stay the same, there are also a considerable amount of ways this field can change.
Staying ahead of the curve and being able to bring that knowledge back to your company can help you stand out and also earn more as a an employee.
#3 – Ask your boss
If you want to increase your salary as a technical writer, you might want to have a discussion with your boss about possible ways to make it happen.
Many people sit around and wait for a boss to give them a raise, completely forgetting that you can be the one to open the door to that conversation.
It does not mean they will immediately drop everything and give you a raise, but you can have the discussion and expectation for what you can do to earn a raise. It can help you and your boss get on the same page for key expectations and help you know exactly what to focus on.
You could set certain benchmarks or projects that will showcase your skills and why they should be paying you more money.
#4 – Switch employers
If you have hit the absolute cap at your current job, it might be time to switch companies.
If you have taken the time to advance your skills, and you know you operate at an advanced level, but your employer will not compensate you for that, then it is possibly time to leave.
Of course, this will depend on how much you like your current job, but it is essential to know what other technical writers are making in this field so you can gauge if you are making what your are worth.
Ready to Become A Freelance Writer?
If you are ready to fully commit to learning what it takes to go on your own and become a freelance writer?
You won’t want to miss out on the Freelance Writers Den! It gives you all the tricks and tips you need to set your rates, find clients, and earn what you are worth.