Technical Writer  What They Do

Just the Facts


Writes technical materials, such as equipment manuals, appendices, or operating and maintenance instructions. May assist in layout work.

This career is part of the Arts, Audio-Video Technology and Communications cluster Journalism and Broadcasting pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Organizes material and completes writing assignment according to set standards regarding order, clarity, conciseness, style, and terminology.
  • Maintains records and files of work and revisions.
  • Edits, standardizes, or makes changes to material prepared by other writers or establishment personnel.
  • Selects photographs, drawings, sketches, diagrams, and charts to illustrate material.
  • Interviews production and engineering personnel and reads journals and other material to become familiar with product technologies and production methods.
  • Develops or maintains online help documentation.
  • Assists in laying out material for publication.
  • Studies drawings, specifications, mockups, and product samples to integrate and delineate technology, operating procedure, and production sequence and detail.
  • Arranges for typing, duplication, and distribution of material.
  • Observes production, developmental, and experimental activities to determine operating procedure and detail.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would sit most of the time. There's some walking and standing. You may have to lift and carry things like books, papers or tools weighing 10 lbs. or less.
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to hazardous situations involving possible injury such as cuts, bites, stings, and minor burns more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Document Specialist -- Creates or manages documents, such as writing policy and procedure manuals, creating a user manual that documents how a product should be used or assembled, documenting events and occurrences for a historical record.
  • Lexicographer -- Designs, uses, compiles, and evaluates general dictionaries.
  • Medical Writer -- Works with doctors, scientists, and other subject matter experts, to create documents that effectively and clearly describe research results, product use, and other medical information.