Become a Certified Professional Technical Communicator

Thank you for your interest in pursuing Professional Certification through the Society for Technical Communication. The STC Certification program is a three-tiered professional certification: Foundation, Practitioner, and Expert.

“The CPTC certification was evidence that I had the credentials, and my active membership with STC was evidence that I was serious about my career. I got the job. My salary is $20,000 more than I was previously making and I have an office, not a cubicle with three walls, where my CPTC certificate prominently hangs.”

-David Dick, STC Fellow

  • The Foundation Certification focuses on knowledge of the field. To achieve the Certified Professional Technical Communicator – Foundational designation, applicants demonstrate knowledge and understanding of best practices in technical communication by passing a test.
  • The Practitioner Certification will demonstrate mastery of applying best practices and leading others in their use. The achievement of the Certified Professional Technical Communicator – Practitioner designation may consist of a written test and an evaluation of work product.
  • The Expert Certification requirements will require a set of work products and expert interviews. (Those who achieved the Certified Professional Technical Communicator designation in 2012-2014 have been awarded the Certified Professional Technical Communicator Expert certification.)

Foundational Certification is currently available, with the higher-level certifications opening in 2019 and 2020.

Foundation Certification

The Certified Professional Technical Communicator – Foundation is open. This certification will be a timed test covering nine core skill areas of technical communication. More information on the certification program and the nine areas can be found in the January 2016 and March  2017 issues of Intercom. Sample questions have also been posted online.

whitespace Project Planning whitespace Review and Editing
Project Analysis Visual Communication
Content Development Content Management
Organizational Design Production and Delivery
Written Communication

The body of knowledge STC is using for the Foundation exam is Richard Johnson-Sheehan’s Technical Communication Today, Fifth Edition.  The textbook is available in print from Pearson or from The textbook is also available to rent or buy digitally from VitalSource.  The test is 50 questions, closed book. Test takers will have 40 minutes to complete the test under a proctor. Candidates who intend to self study may wish to review the STC Study Guide before taking the exam.

certified professional technical communicator textbook

STC offers two-tier pricing to take the exam: $255 for current STC members and $505 for nonmembers. This cost may be translated into other currencies such as the Euro at the rate applicable at the time. There is currently no discounted pricing for less-developed areas of the world. The Foundation level has no educational attainment or work experience requirement to sit the exam.

STC partners with a U.K.-based firm, APMG International, that specializes in professional certification administration, following ISO 9001 standards. The test is available online from APMG or through training organizations authorized by APMG. These trainers will combine a training session or sessions with administration of the Foundation exam. If you or your organization are interested in knowing more about the requirements to be an authorized trainer, please contact APMG-US General Manager Ronn Faigen at

Once an applicant passes the test, he/she will be issued a certificate and entered into the STC certification database. Certificant’s names will also appear on the STC and APMG websites under a list of current, certified practitioners. Certifications will be in good standing if a technical communicator keeps current with continuing education requirements.

Visit for more information or to sign up to take a self-study online exam through the APMG International website.

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