Certified Professional Technical Communicator (CPTC) Foundation

The purpose of the Foundation qualification is to measure whether a candidate has sufficient knowledge and comprehension of the Technical Communication Today text to act as an informed member of a technical writing or a technical communication team within their professional work or in their organization.

Certified Professional Technical Communicator Logo Foundation

The successful candidate should be able to recall, recognize, and demonstrate comprehension of the theories, concepts, models, genres, and approaches outlined in 9 key areas:

  • Project Planning
  • Project Analysis
  • Content Development
  • Organizational Design
  • Written Communication
  • Visual Communication
  • Reviewing and Editing
  • Content Management
  • Production Delivery

About the Exam

The body of knowledge STC is using for the Foundation exam is Richard Johnson-Sheehan’s Technical Communication Today. You can use the Fifth or Sixth edition to study for the exam.  More information on the certification program and the nine areas can be found in the January 2016 and March 2017 issues of Intercom.

The test is 50 questions, closed book. Test takers will have 40 minutes to complete the test under a proctor or online.

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.

Additional Resources

Candidates who intend to self-study may wish to review the STC Foundation Study Guide and Sample Questions before taking the exam. There is also a sample test you can take on the APMG site. You will want to find the exam: Certified Professional Technical Communicator (2015) Foundation from the drop down list.

Exam Cost

STC offers two-tier pricing to take the exam:

  • $270 USD for current STC members
  • $540 USD for nonmembers

Exam fees will increase on 1 January 2023. The exam fees as of 1 January will be:

  • $297 USD for current STC members
  • $594 USD for nonmembers

Your exam fees will be processed in GBP (Great Britain Pounds). 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.  If you do not pass the exam you will have to register again, and pay the full exam fee to retake the exam. The Foundation level has no educational attainment or work experience requirement to sit the exam.

Accredited Training Organizations

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 the 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 Jennifer Hepler, APMG Business Development Manager, at jennifer.hepler@apmg-international.com.

Continuing Education Requirements

Continuing education units (CEUs) for CPTC Certification are point-based. Certifications will be in good standing if a technical communicator keeps current with continuing education requirements by achieving 12 points over a two-year period from the date of certification to remain current. At the end of the two-year period, point accumulation begins again.

Schedule Your Exam

Visit http://www.apmg-international.com/CPTC for more information, to schedule your exam, or find an accredited training provider.

Certification contact:


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