CPTC Textbook Now Available to Rent or Buy Digitally

STC has exciting news for prospective CPTC certificants: the official CPTC Foundation certification body of knowledge, Richard Johnson-Sheehan’s Technical Communication Today, Fifth Edition (ISBN-10: 0134419391), is now available digitally. The text book is available in print here or digitally for purchase or rental here. This provides savings and convenience for CPTC certificants and makes studying for certification easier than ever before.

If you have questions about the certification program, please visit the STC certification page, or email certification@stc.org.

Back by Popular Demand: Using the Power of Framemaker to Get Back to Writing

Back by popular demand! Matt Sullivan, Founder of Tech Comm Tools, will be teaching the online course, “Owning Your Content: Using the Power of FrameMaker to Get Back to Writing” starting 6 June and running through 25 July (Tuesdays, skip 4 July) at 10:30-11:30 AM EDT (GMT-4). Attendees will learn the FrameMaker workflow, set up a FrameMaker workgroup, use different style techniques, create tables and cross-references, control media, and finally, publish their project. The 6 June date is an introductory session, and the first full session begins on 13 June. Attendees can expect about three hours of work, each balanced roughly between course materials, projects, and live sessions. The live sessions are scheduled on Thursdays, and Matt will also hold online “office hours” on Tuesdays, giving you a chance to drop into an online meeting to discuss the current week’s assignment. Don’t miss out on this popular online course!

Northeastern University Grants Graduate Credits for Completion of CPTC Program

Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies recently approved STC’s Certified Professional Technical Communicator (CPTC) Foundation certification for transfer credits toward its Master of Science degree in Technical Communication.

“The CPTC Foundation level exam lets professional technical communicators demonstrate their mastery of foundation-level technical communication topics,” said Julia Cho, faculty member of the program. “Our industry-aligned curriculum has always been committed to the life-long learner, and we recognize the knowledge and skills that pursuing this certification represents. This certification aligns to our program’s learning outcomes for our students, in addition to showing dedication to the technical communication profession.”

The CPTC Foundation certification covers nine core skill areas in technical communication that are considered essential knowledge in the field. For the Certified Professional Technical Communicator – Foundation designation, applicants will demonstrate knowledge and understanding of best practices in technical communication by passing an exam. The next level of the certification program–Practitioner–is under development, and will focus on the application of best practices, as well as leading others in their use.

“Having Northeastern University accept the CPTC certification for credit in their Master’s program is exciting news for the technical communication community” said Liz Pohland, STC’s CEO.  “Our goal is to increase the recognition and attraction of the technical communications profession.  Attaining the CPTC certification is a great demonstration of a professional’s commitment to his or her career.  We are delighted that Northeastern University has recognized the CPTC in this way.”

The CPTC certification exam is offered by trainers and organizations that have been approved by the Society for Technical Communication and accredited by APMG International, a leading accreditation and certification organization.  More information can be found on the degree program’s website as well as at the STC’s site, or by emailing certification@stc.org.

To view Northeastern’s press release, click here.

Gaining an Edge with CPTC Certification

By Chris Hester | STC Fellow and CPTC accredited trainer

Not too long ago, a friend asked what my biggest accomplishment was for 2016. That was a tough one. I incorporated my business, spoke at a couple of events, and completed the Certified Professional Technical Communicator (CPTC) Foundation Certification. I also became an accredited CPTC trainer.

My friend, who is a recruiter, asked me to explain. What does that mean? What is that certification?

So I did. The CPTC program is a three-tiered certification program: Foundation, Practitioner, and Expert. Starting with Foundation, each tier builds on the previous one, setting standards for our knowledge, skills, and performance as professionals. To earn the CPTC Foundation designation, I had to pass an exam that covers nine core skill areas of technical communication.

The certification means I have demonstrated the knowledge and skills we need as technical communicators. Yes, my graduate degree does the same thing, but that degree is from a time when our profession argued over Word vs. WordPerfect, not Word vs. FrameMaker. Certification has the added requirement that I make time for professional development and earn continuing education units (CEUs). I now seek out opportunities to learn (by attending events) and share (by writing or presenting)—both of which are ways to earn CEUs.

For my recruiter friend, certification means she gets to work with a job applicant who is competent, has met standards for knowledge and skills, and is committed to the profession. Knowing the certification is granted through STC, an established organization, gives the program credibility. When considering her clients, she can be confident that a Certified Professional Technical Communicator will deliver consistent, high-quality work. This ultimately reflects well on her and her agency.

She laughed. “What I’m hearing is this certification gives you an advantage. That means it gives me an advantage. Send me an updated résumé.”

In the months since becoming a CPTC trainer, I’ve had similar conversations with colleagues and hiring managers. They want to learn more about earning certification or hiring CPTC-credentialed professionals. As this interest grows, there has never been a better time to complete the CPTC Foundation Certification!

I’ll be teaching a CPTC Foundation Exam Prep Class at the STC Summit in May. This two-day class focuses on the nine core skill areas and prepares you to take the exam at the end of the second day.

  • Be prepared: CPTC Foundation level is the prerequisite to earning the Practitioner level, the next tier to be launched.
  • Get a study packet: The special Study Packet registration rate includes the official Richard Johnson-Sheehan text used in class, as well as online flash cards.
  • Jumpstart your CEUs: Students who complete the class will receive a complementary STC Education webinar (worth 2 CEUs).
  • Sign up with a coworker. Get a 10% discount when you register at the same time as a coworker.
  • Class isn’t your thing? If you have been studying on your own, sign up to take the paper exam at the Summit.

Register now for the CPTC Foundation Exam Prep Class, held 6-7 May at the STC Summit in Washington, DC.

CPTC Textbook Winners


Last week, the STC membership department had a contest to give away copies of STC’s CPTC (Certified Professional Technical Communicator) textbook, Richard Johnson-Sheehan’s Technical Communication Today, Fifth Edition (a $99 value!), to those who joined STC or renewed their 2017 membership. We had an excellent response to the contest, and we’d like to congratulate the winners!

The winners of the CPTC textbook are:

Douglas Beagley

Heidi Hanson

Congratulations again to our winners, and thanks to all who activated their 2017 membership.  To learn more about STC and to activate your membership, please visit us online here. Click here for more information about the CPTC program and how to get certified. Contact the membership department with any questions at membership@stc.org or call +1 (703) 522-4114.