Excelsior Introduces the Professional and Technical Writing Concentration

To help meet its goals for student career readiness, Excelsior College has approved a concentration in Professional and Technical Writing (PTW), within the Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts (BSL) major. Excelsior graduates with strong professional writing skills are poised for employment and advancement in areas including health care, technology, pharmaceutical, government, science, and the military.


The PTW concentration is designed for 1) students who want to enhance their writing skills for career advancement or career change; and 2) students who want to add a credential to their BSL. The PTW concentration is an attractive Liberal Arts option for students with applied course credits and with existing experience in technology, business, health sciences, medical, and the military.


The market for graduates with a professional and technical writing credential is well-documented. O*Net projects that technical writing jobs will grow faster in 2012-2022 than average (15% to 20%) with 50,000 employees and 22,600 job openings (2015).


Employers report that all employees need solid writing skills. For example, a January 2015 report by Hart Research Associates on behalf of the Association of American Colleges & Universities notes that “employers say that when hiring, they place the greatest value on demonstrated proficiency in skills and knowledge that cut across all majors. The learning outcomes they rate as most important include written and oral communication skills….” (p. 1). Further, “…employers nearly universally agree that to achieve success at their companies, a candidate’s demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important than his or her undergraduate major” (p. 6).


As part of Northeastern University’s 2013 annual innovation poll, 60% of business hiring decision-makers indicated that softer skills such as oral and written communication are most important for recent college graduates. The National Association of Colleges and Employers 2015 Job Outlook survey showed 73.4% of respondents chose written communication skills as the third most asked-for attribute after leadership and ability to work on a team.


Students enrolled in the Professional and Technical Writing concentration will take an introductory course in business writing and five more additional writing courses—or their equivalent—at the advanced, upper level. Those courses could include a career planning course called Careers in Professional Writing, Professional Editing, and Scientific and Technical Writing.


For more information about the innovative Professional and Technical Writing concentration, contact the School of Liberal Arts.