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Careers in Professional and Technical Writing

Employers and communities need effective communicators. The question is how we define effective. The Professional and Technical Writing (PTW) program at SVSU defines effective as professionals who can adapt and apply their expertise across a range of communication contexts. The PTW program is built on a core curriculum that helps students develop the knowledge and skills necessary to contribute to a variety of professional roles and workplaces. PTW students are encouraged to identify areas of specialization that further prepare them to compete for jobs in specific employment markets.

PTW majors are also required to identify one or more minor areas of study that would complement their professional development goals. The PTW minor is an excellent credential to complete in combination with almost any other major on campus.

PTW grads hold a variety of titles in workplaces, including (but not limited to) writer, editor, project manager, information designer, and web developer. They work in many industries. See the list below for career and market possibilities.

Job Titles in PTW

  • Technical Writer 
  • Editor
  • Information Designer
  • Publication Manager
  • Project Manager
  • Journalist
  • Usability Specialist
  • Web Designer

Markets for PTW Careers

  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Industry sites (e.g., automotive, computer, publishing, entertainment, medical)
  • Government offices and agencies
  • Scientific research and development
  • Military/law enforcement
  • Legal offices
  • Education (all levels)

PTW grads also go on to pursue advanced degrees in a variety of fields, including Technical Communication, Rhetoric, Composition, Journalism, Cultural Studies, and Law.


PTW Grads

Recent grads of the program describe their work here in their own words.

Mike McElroy

Technical Editor / Bechtel Marine Propulsion Corporation
"I edit the technical manuals for reactors on the US Navy's nuclear subs."

Joelle Ferguson

Communication Specialist / Little Forks Conservancy
"I design and write newsletters, write press releases and maintain the organization's website. I also get to plan and hold events. I send a lot of letters."

Carly Toyzan

Copy Editor / Great Lakes Publishing
"I'm sort of a copy editor/associate editor/assistant managing editor. I also research, write and edit stories for magazines."

Stephanie D'Amore

Copywriter & Editor / Morley Communications, Inc., and freelance consultant
"Researching proposals, editing scripts, writing advertising copy and proofing design layouts are all part of my job. I love the diversity of the projects and the challenge. There's always something new waiting for me in my inbox."

Professional and Technical Writing: Programs

Professional and technical writing engages our students with thinking about audience, and understanding how the rhetorical choices they make for meeting the needs of the audience can be powerfully influential. (Dr. Fenobia Dallas, Chair, Department of Rhetoric and Professional Writing)

The Department of Rhetoric and Professional Writing (RPW) offers both a major and minor in Professional and Technical Writing (PTW). This section of the RPW site offers information about PTW careers, advising, internships, core program knowledge, and descriptions of the curricula.

Contact Us
(989) 964-2296(989) 964-2296

Department Chair

Dr. Bradley Herzog - Curtiss 149A

Internship Coordinator

Dr. Williamson - Curtiss 152