OverviewThe STC’s Certified Professional Technical Communicator (CPTC) certification program was re-engineered and launched in December of 2015. The newly designed professional certification program has three certification tiers: Foundation, Practitioner (in development), and Expert (in development). Candidates must successfully complete a preceding certification level to qualify for the succeeding certification tier. The following are descriptions of the purpose and sources used for each of the certification tiers.
- Foundation: Measures knowledge and comprehension of entry level candidates through an exam. Technical Communication Today, Fifth Edition by Richard Johnson-Sheehan is the body of knowledge used for the Foundation exam.
- Practitioner: Confirms the application and analysis of knowledge of mid- to senior-level candidates through exam and submission of work products. The sources used for the Practitioner certification are 3 to 5 years of work experience and the TCBOK.
- Expert: Confirms the expert-level candidate’s ability to synthesize and evaluate knowledge through a subject matter expert (SME) panel interview and submission of work products. The sources used for the Expert certification are 5 or more years of work experience and the TCBOK.
Reasons to Pursue CertificationTechnical Communicators who achieve certification benefit from:
- validated knowledge, experience, and competency
- differentiation from others in the workplace and the ability to command higher pay
- professional development
- personal achievement
- leadership recognition by employers and colleagues
- professional status
- portable career credentials
- validation of an employee’s skills and knowledge by a third party (APMG International)
- differentiation from others in the workforce
- employee’s engagement and commitment to the field and business
Foundation Exam PreparationThe Foundation exam measures a candidate’s knowledge and comprehension of nine areas of expertise or core competencies, including key terminology, facts, concepts and techniques. The core competencies are:
- Project Planning
- Project Analysis
- Content Development
- Organizational Design
- Written Communication
- Reviewing and Editing
- Visual Communication
- Content Management
- Production and Delivery
- Register for the exam.
- Read the book (and then read it again).
- Take the practice exam.
- Review the study guide.
- Enroll in an exam preparation class.
- Study, take notes, and review with an exam partner.
Foundation Exam FormatThere are two formats for the Foundation exam: online and paper. The online format is used most frequently because it allows flexibility in scheduling when and where the exam is administered. There are situations, such as at the end of an exam preparation class, in which the paper exam format may be used when computers are not readily accessible. Whether the exam is taken online or by paper, the proctored exam format and successful passing mark is the same. Key Points:
- closed book
- 40 minutes
- 50 multiple choice questions
- 70% passing mark