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STC 2008 Salary Database -- See Salaries for Technical Writers in Your State

by Tom Johnson on Sep 27, 2009
categories: beginners technical-writing

The 2008 Salary Database released by the STC this month provides an impressive amount of salary and industry information in easy-to-read, attractive charts and graphics. It's kind of mind blowing how informative and professional this report is.

The depth and quantity of location-specific information available is especially useful to job seekers, employees or consultants negotiating salaries, or technical writers looking to relocate. The salary database will help you evaluate whether you're being paid a fair salary for your location and industry. Note that the report covers only the U.S. and draws upon the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Here are a few highlights:

  • U.S. businesses employed 47,460 technical writers in 2008, 720 more than in 2007, marking an increase of 1.5 percent (p.6)
  • The entire labor market reported a loss of 532,000 jobs from 2007 to 2008. (p.5)
  • Median salary for all technical writers across all industries in 2008 was $61,620. Persons in the 90th percentile received $97,460, which was a median increase of 2 percent. (p.5)
  • The largest metropolitan market for technical writers remains the Greater Washington, DC area with 3,280 practicing professionals. (P.6)
  • The states with the most technical writers are California, Texas, Massachusetts, Virginia, Michigan and Maryland. (P.8)
  • Highest paying states include: Washington, California, New Mexico, and Massachusetts. (P.11)

Here's a chart showing where most of the technical writers in the U.S. are employed.

Where most of the technical writers are in the United States
Where most of the technical writers are in the United States

The bulk of the report is in the specific salaries and statistics for your area. For Utah, in 2007, here's what the salaries looked like:

  • Average salary: $53,360
  • Salary range: $32,830 to $75,480
  • Number of technical writers employed: 800

In 2008, the numbers dropped a bit:

  • Average salary: $51,500
  • Salary range: #32,320 to $74,500
  • Number of technical writers employed: 690

From 2007 to 2008, the number of jobs dropped 13.8 percent. The average hourly wage for both 2007 and 2008 was about the same, ranging from 25 to 35 dollars.

About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm an API technical writer based in the Seattle area. On this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, AI, information architecture, content strategy, writing processes, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out my API documentation course if you're looking for more info about documenting APIs. Or see my posts on AI and AI course section for more on the latest in AI and tech comm.

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