"Technical Communicator (tekom)" Certificate
It is difficult for companies and employees to assess or verifiably prove qualification in technical communication. The reason is that "technical communicator" is not a legal job title and no specified legal qualification training regulations exist for the qualification – anyone can claim to be a "technical communicator" even without qualification.
The tekom "Technical Communicator (tekom)" certificate solves this problem.
With the tekom certificate, all career changers and professional practitioners can take an external professional examination by the professional association. This way, they will have a formal and objective proof of the qualification as a technical writer at an advanced level that is recognized by companies.
In the German-speaking region the certificate "Technischer Redakteur / Technische Redakteurin (tekom)" is awarded. In the international environment, tekom with its training and certification programme TCTrainNet, offers an international tekom certificate at two qualification levels. Qualification is given via an international partner network and through e-learning via the TCTraining platform, an assisted online training course in technical communication. Participation in TCTrainNet is reserved for overseas participants and native English speakers who cannot attend the German-language advanced training.
Three-step Certification Process
For the German certificate, three independent steps culminate in the "Technical Writer (tekom)" certificate.
1. Step: Counseling
People intending to change careers and without any previous experience in technical communication can participate in the qualification counseling to gain insight into the required knowledge, proficiency and skills of the profession though an in-depth conversation with an expert.
To qualify for the tekom certificate, technical communicators with more than 2 years of professional experience must participate in qualification counseling. Qualified tekom counselors will determine – based on the 18 qualification modules – the individual qualification status and personal advanced training requirement.
The qualification counseling is free to tekom members who pay membership fees. Non-members and unemployed members pay a fee of 75 or 25 Euro respectively plus VAT. Please request our counselor list from info(at)tekom.de.
2. Step: Qualification
tekom does not offer any advanced training for the German-speaking region. For the qualification, tekom collaborates with professional advanced training providers. People changing careers without any previous experience must successfully complete the vocational training in technical communication from an education/training provider accredited by tekom to qualify for the tekom certification exam for technical communicators.
Certification participants with more than two years professional experience who have participated in qualification counseling can decide by themselves how they will meet the advanced training requirement identified during the counseling session.
Knowledge of the 18 qualification modules can be gained through self-study using the basic literature "Technical Documentation".
3. Step: Certification
As per the examination regulations, the following requirements must be met to qualify for the examination:
- Either participation in qualification counseling and a minimum of 2 years professional experience in the field of technical communication
- or a multi-month advanced training program with a training institute accredited by tekom.
Registration is to be completed before the end of the registration deadline – at least 4 months before the desired examination date. Public examinations take place in Stuttgart in January and September. Advanced training providers have their own dates. For current examination fees, please refer to the fee scale.
For an overview of all information on and forms for the tekom certification, please click here.
Expenditure, Duration, Cost and Benefits
The cost depends on the advanced training program chosen. As part of the ongoing evaluation, an average cost of 3,100 Euro is assessed. However, there are deviations from this of plus/minus 1,700 Euro. Participation requires 8 to 12 months on average. The duration may deviate widely from the average value depending on the individual requirements. The period to obtain the certificate may be significantly shorter.
As key reasons for becoming certified, participants particularly mention acquiring a formal proof of education, improvement in general expertise as technical communicator and a better chance at a long-term career.
After completion of the certification exam, participants primarily comment on the high level of practical relevance but also remark that the exam is quite challenging and varied in terms of the topics covered.