Technical communication certificate online

Last Updated on January 18, 2023

Technical Communication Certificate

Become a technical writer with SFU’s professional training

In SFU’s part-time, online Technical Communication Certificate, you’ll master key technical communication skills such as technical writing and editing, research analysis, information design, indexing, documentation project management, online documentation, desktop publishing applications and more. We’ve designed our courses to cover all of the core technical communication competencies that the Society for Technical Communication has identified.

If you think logically, value clear, concise communication, learn well independently, and enjoy the challenge of mastering complex information and explaining it step by step, you need to try our Technical Communication Certificate.

Learn from technical writing and communication professionals

All of our instructors are active professionals in the technical communication field, which will give you the opportunity to learn from their experience, receive quality instruction and feedback, and build a network.

If you’re new to technical writing, our program will prepare you to begin a career in technical writing or communication. If you already have some experience in the field, our program will position you to move ahead by consolidating your qualifications within an industry-designed framework.

Heather Smirle launched her freelance technical writing career after completing our certificate. Read her story

Study online, when it works for you

Our Technical Communication Certificate is entirely online, which means you can study from wherever your computer is. Our students come from across Canada—and some from as far away as Japan, Norway and the Cayman Islands.

Studying online doesn’t mean you need to miss out on interaction with your instructors and classmates. You’ll engage in online discussions throughout each course, and you can always reach your instructors by email.

Program details

FormatPart-time, online
ScheduleEach course runs from four to 12 weeks and involves 12 to 20 hours of instruction.**Online courses can be accessed at your convenience via Canvas, our online course management system. 
DurationThe program is designed so that you may finish in two years. You have up to five years to complete the program.**Beginning on the day you start your first course (as long as the course is part of the program’s curriculum when you apply). We encourage you to apply for admission to the program before or soon after you begin taking courses.
CoursesThere are 11 required courses.
Learning materialsSee individual course outlines for text, hardware and software requirements. The cost of textbooks is not included in your tuition. All other course materials are provided online at no additional cost. 
TuitionTuition is based on the total cost of individual course fees, which range from $475 to $640.
Application fee$75 (non-refundable
Application deadlineApply anytime. There is no application deadline for this program. 

Study online with other professionals

Flexible scheduling

The curriculum is designed to meet the scheduling needs of a working professional. You can work from wherever you have a computer and an Internet connection. Your course materials will be available 24/7, and assignment deadlines are posted well in advance, allowing you to set your own pace for learning.

Interactive environment

Studying online doesn’t mean you’ll miss out on interaction with others. You will work through the technical communication program with a cohort—a group of peers from different geographic and professional backgrounds who share their experiences, ideas, and expertise. Additionally, you may always contact your classmates and instructor(s) through Canvas.

Coursework: What to expect

Learn hands-on

Coursework reflects and builds upon the real-world experience that everyone brings to the program. Prepare to devote between six and 10 hours per week to 100-level courses, and 10 to 20 hours per week to 200- and 300-level courses (please check individual course pages). The Final Project will require 20 to 25 hours per week, depending on the nature of your project.

You’ll work through course modules a week at a time by reviewing content, readings and online research. Throughout the program, you’ll also engage in online discussions through the course forum and complete individual or group assignments.

Work at your own pace

You will set your own coursework hours, following posted assignment timelines. You do not have to be online at specific times, but you will need to be online regularly. Some instructors hold optional, virtual office hours at specific times. You should plan to access the course at least once every two days to keep up with your work. 

English language requirements  

To meet the demands of the program, you should have an advanced level of spoken and written English. If English is not your first language, we recommend you complete the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with the following minimums:

  • Overall band score of 6.5
  • All bands 6.0 or higher
  • A writing band score of 8.0

If you have any questions or concerns about your English language proficiency, we encourage you to contact us.

Technical information

You’ll access the courses through Canvas, our learning management system, which is available through the SFU website. Canvas is extremely user-friendly—even if you’ve never studied online before. All you need is a computer with an Internet connection.

You may log into Canvas beginning on the first day of each course. For a list of Canvas-supported operating systems and web browsers, visit our supported web browsers page.

To learn more about Canvas, visit the SFU Canvas Student Guide.

Evaluation and graduation

Evaluation methods vary, but you will receive a final letter grade (A to F or P or F) at the end of each course. To graduate with the Technical Communication Certificate, complete all the required courses with an overall grade of B- (70%). When you have successfully completed all your courses, please fill out the graduation application form. There is no fee to apply to graduate.


The Technical Communication Certificate consists of these 11 core courses:

Concepts and Practice of Technical Communication   TCOM110

Technical Writing and Editing   TCOM120

Research, Analysis and Information Design   TCOM210

Design and Production of Technical Publications   TCOM220

Indexing: An Essential Art and Science   TCOM230

Microsoft Word for Technical Writers: Advanced   TCOM240

Fundamentals of Creating Online Documents   TCOM260

Tools for Technical Communicators (InDesign)   TCOM270

Technical Writing: Advanced Workshop   TCOM310

Documentation Project Management   TCOM320

Final Project: Technical Communication Guided Practicum   TCOM410

Not ready for the Technical Communication Certificate? Start with a few courses

With the exception of the Final Project: Guided Practicum, you’re welcome to take individual technical communication courses without enrolling in the certificate.

If you are accepted to the program at a later date, any courses that you complete successfully (that are part of the curriculum at the time you apply) will count toward your certificate.

Professional certification

Learn the Society for Technical Communication’s core competencies

Skill in technical communication—or technical writing, as it is often called—can be validated through international accreditation as a Certified Professional Technical Communicator (CPTC™) by the Society for Technical Communication (STC). Our program is aligned with the core technical communication competencies that STC has identified.

Application requirements

You must have completed Grade 12 or equivalent, and you need an excellent command of written and spoken English and good computer skills. An ability to absorb information and learn quickly is also an asset.

We will evaluate your application based on your work experience and your interest in the field.

Please include the following with your application:

  • A résumé that includes your education and work history.
  • A letter explaining why you would like to be considered for the program (no more than 500 words).

We review applications as we receive them and will contact you about the status of your application.

For application fee and deadline, visit Program details.

English language requirements

To succeed in this program, you will need an advanced level of written and spoken English. If you are unsure whether your English language skills are sufficient, we recommend you complete the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with the following minimums:

  • Overall band score of 6.5.
  • All bands 6.0 or higher.
  • A minimum writing band score of 8.0.

Please note we can’t refund your registration fees after the course start date if you find your English language skills are not adequate.

If you have questions or concerns about your English language proficiency, we encourage you to contact your local IELTS Test Centre.

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