The technical writer salary range in the US, according to estimates from Glassdoor, is $40,000 to $156,000. According to salary data from Zippia, the national average salary for a technical writer has risen from $63,800 in 2013 to $73,700 in 2022. The salary estimates vary depending on a number of factors such as experience, education, location and industry.
The annual growth rate for technical writer jobs is approximately 8%. The highest salaries are usually offered by companies in the tech sector, which usually translates to locations on the East and West coasts of the US.
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Average Technical Writer Salary
The technical writer position is a full-time job in most organizations; however, some organizations may hire technical writers in contractual or part-time positions. Meanwhile, some companies prefer hiring freelance technical writers. In any case, technical writer jobs tend to be slightly different depending on the company and industry. As a result, you may find several related jobs with the same job description with alternate job titles.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average technical writer makes around $76,860 in the United States. According to their database, over 50,000 technical writer jobs exist in the U.S. The highest annual average salary for technical writers is in the computer science industry, followed by management, technical consulting, and employment services.
Therefore, technical writers make more while working in STEM-related companies due to the higher requirement of complex technical knowledge.
In any case, it's best to look at a few other sources to understand how much a technical writer makes, according to anonymous individual salary reports.
Glassdoor is a renowned website where you can find several salary estimates and reviews. Employees can upload anonymous annual salary reports, review their employers, and enter benefits information, cost of living estimates, and total compensation numbers.
According to Glassdoor, the national average base salary for technical writers is $77,812. Additionally, the average salary range is between $39,000 and $155,000.
Furthermore, Glassdoor lets you check different salary estimates by adding more filters. You can make a more precise search by adding the following filters:
- Choose the industry you're in or that you would like to enter.
- Enter the estimated size of the company according to the total number of employees.
- Enter the full yearly experience for the position.
Adding the filters above refine your search and better estimate the technical writer's salary according to your needs.
Authorities calculate using the salary reports entered by people. However, some companies also include their salaries at times.
You can also find the estimated salaries of related jobs, such as the senior technical writer salaries.
In any case, you can get one of the best estimates of the technical writer's salary by using the filters on Glassdoor.
Indeed is one of the most significant job-search engines used by millions of people in the U.S. alone. However, it's also a great place to find reasonable salary estimates based on the thousands of jobs posted on the website.
The average salary for a technical writer in the United States is $59,097. Furthermore, technical writers can get approximately $2,000 in cash bonuses through additional cash compensation over a year.
The site also displays the most common benefits companies offer to technical writers. Some of the most common benefits given to technical writers include referral programs, health insurance, disability insurance, AD&D insurance, and 401k matching.
Indeed also shows you what cities offer the most salaries to technical writers. The highest-paying cities include San Diego, Washington, DC, Dallas, Austin, and New York.
Lastly, you can set up new job alerts based on specific salaries. Therefore, you'll only get job alerts for technical writer jobs with one particular technical writer salary or above.
PayScale is a dedicated website for getting salary data, estimates, total compensation values, and specific benefits. The site also offers cost of living estimates, gender-based pay estimates, and other pay-related information.
According to PayScale, the average median salary for technical writers in the U.S. is $61,553. That brings the average hourly rate to $24.99.
Furthermore, technical writers can earn up to $2,510 in bonuses and $1,979 through profit-sharing.
The average pay range for technical writers is between $43,000 and $89,000.
PayScale also shows what states offer the most impressive technical writer salaries. As a dedicated technical writer, you can earn the most in California and Massachusetts. Furthermore, the highest-paying cities for technical writers include Seattle, New York, San Francisco, and Houston.
Career Outlook for a Technical Writer
After gaining significant professional experience and creating an expansive portfolio, a technical writer moves on to more important roles. The compensation for more senior technical writing positions depends on the industry, location, and the number of responsibilities in the job description.
After becoming a well-versed professional technical writer, an individual can advance to a senior technical writer role based on their experience in the field. Then, after gaining a few more years of experience and handling more significant tasks, they become the lead technical writer.
The average compensations for more senior positions on the technical writer career path (as per Glassdoor and reported in March 2022) are given below:
Senior Technical Writer
A senior technical writer handles bigger writing tasks and ensures the quality of more important documentation assignments. The average total annual pay for a senior technical writer is $111,028. The job position requires two to four years of professional technical writing experience.
Lead Technical Writer
This role is significantly senior and leads a team of technical writers in most organizations. Therefore, they handle editorial work and supervise their team's output. Thus, this role requires more than five years of experience in the field. The average total compensation for a lead technical writer is $89,466 annually.
Principal Technical Writer
The principal technical writer role requires solid writing skills and adequate leadership capabilities. Since it involves handling major editorial work for departments and leading teams of writers, the role requires more than eight years of experience. The position comes with significant responsibilities and receives an average annual pay of $129,590.
Vice President of Technical Writing
This role is the most senior role within the technical writing department of an organization. The V.P. of technical writing has to take critical strategic decisions for the department, such as those related to hiring and training. Since it is so high up the career ladder, it receives an average total compensation of $154,353 annually and requires more than ten years of professional experience.
If you're interested in adding more to your resume so you can get the technical writing salary you want, then check out our Technical Writing Certification course.
Top Paying Cities for Technical Writers
As per Indeed, the cities with the top-paying technical writing positions, categorized by location in the U.S., are given below.
U.S. West Coast
- Washington: $68,293
- Phoenix: $60,440
U.S. Midwest/Rocky Mountains
- Chicago: $63,947
- Denver: $63,031
- Dallas: $61,352
- Orlando: $57,321
Education Level for Technical Writer Role
A technical writer needs to have a firm knowledge base and solid writing skills. While individuals can build these abilities professionally, academic programs and certifications can help streamline the process. Additionally, they would be helpful in the technical writer receiving better pay.
A Bachelor's in the related field helps add credibility to the individual's knowledge for a technical writer role. For example, a technical writer in the medical field should have a degree in Biology. A Master's coupled with a solid portfolio can help one directly get a senior technical writer role with an impressive total compensation.
The right certifications significantly uplift a technical writer's resume. Some prominent ones are mentioned below:
- TechnicalWriterHQ: They offer a top-quality technical writing certification that helps you boost your writing skills and train for a better writing career.
- University of Washington: The university offers a professional technical writing certification
- University of Wisconsin: They offer a host of technical writing certifications, and each focuses on a different technical field.
Technical Writer Salary Across Top Companies
As per Glassdoor, here is what the annual average technical writer salary looks like in some of the top firms across different industries.
- Google: $114,276
- Apple: $117,636
- Amazon: $105,471
- Oracle: $88,458
- Cisco Systems: $130,258
The technical writer's salary primarily depends on your organization and industry. However, your technical knowledge, background, and experience are equally important.
In any case, you should focus on developing an excellent portfolio to negotiate for a better salary.
Becoming an excellent technical writer requires time, effort, and constant reading. Additionally, it's best to keep up to date with your industry's latest technology news and updates.
If you are new to technical writing, we recommend taking our Technical Writing Certification Course. You will learn the fundamentals of being a technical writer, how to dominate technical writer interviews, and how to stand out as a technical writing candidate.
Josh is the founder of Technical Writer HQ and Squibler, a writing software. He had his first job in technical writing for a video editing software company in 2014. Since then, he has written several books on software documentation, personal branding, and computer hacking. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.