Technical Writer Salary
Technical Writing Salaries Explained
Admit it, if you're considering becoming a technical writer, one of the first things you probably want to know is how much you're going to earn. This is a sticky subject, but we'll do our best to give you some guidelines on typical salary levels for technical writing jobs.
Average Salary for a Technical WriterAs always, the average salary reported for technical writers depends very much on the source. To give you a guideline, here are several figures for an average salary for a technical writer:
- Indeed.com claims an average salary of $64,000 per year as of April, 2009.
- Payscale.com give a breakdown based upon a number of factors. Entry level technical writers earn an average of just under $40,000, but that figure rises to nearly $70,000 by the time you've accumulated 20 years of experience.
- According to Payscale.com, the highest paid technical writers work for a company ($56,010), fellowship ($64,964) or hospital ($57,808), but you can also do very well in private practice ($50,969) or as a freelancer/ self-employed technical writer ($53,861).
- The picture is somewhat bleaker on Salary.com, which cites a median salary of $44,618.
How much can you earn as a Freelance Technical Writer?
One question that we often get is how much can you earn as a freelance technical writer? Although there are many sites out there (usually trying to sell a freelance writing training package) that will claim incredible figures of six figures or more, the average freelance technical writer earns less than six figures. However, the exciting part is that your salary range depends entirely on your output: if you're able to become a top performer and carve out a solid niche for yourself, then definitely earning a six-figure salary while working from home in your pajamas is entirely possible.
- Established freelance technical writers typically charge between $40 and $60 per hour for their work.
- Your hourly rate can increase if you have significant experience and expertise in a sought-after niche (ie, medical or engineering knowledge).
- For technical writers with specialized knowledge, rates of $100/ hr. or higher are not unheard of.
- Hourly rates for technical writers are significantly higher than for other categories of freelance writers.
- Keep in mind that you usually won't be able to spend every hour of the day working. Instead you'll need to spend a significant amount of your time searching for new work. As you become more established and develop a roster of client relationships, you'll be able to spend more time earning and less time marketing.
How can you increase your earnings as a Technical Writer?
Generally there are two main factors that will determine how much you earn as a technical writer:
- Volume of work
- Demand for technical specialty
Secondly, you need to make sure that you have strong technical expertise in the most in-demand technical specialties. Usually this is something that you just fall into. Many technical writers are making a career change from practicing in a technical field such as engineering or medicine, but seek out the greater flexibility of a freelance writer. However, even if your technical skills are not as sharp as they once were, there are a number of options for technical training which can greatly increase your earning power as a technical writer.