One certification, two levels
Depending on where you are in your technical writing career, you have the choice between two certification profiles: Professional and Expert.
Professional Level and Expert Level Certification
The goal of the tekom certification system is to offer lateral entrants as well as experienced technical writers the certification that suits them.
Find the certification profile that suits you
Certification as a technical writer can be achieved on two different certification levels. These have different competence profiles. They differ in scope of content and depth of knowledge, in the examination requirements and the qualification level aimed for.
tekom certification as a technical writer on the Professional Level is suited particularly for persons without previous knowledge in technical communication, or with only little previous knowledge.
- Lateral entrants in technical communication without professional experience
- Those active in technical communication without a formal degree in technical communication and with little professional experience
- Those active in related areas (e.g. technology, linguistics, media, communication)
- Persons aiming for an entry-level job in technical communication with the certificate
Approval can be given to all those who:
- Have participated in a qualification consultation and have at least one year of professional experience in the technical communication field or in related areas (e.g. technology, linguistics, media, communication) or
- Have participated in one of the tekom-accredited training programs for Professional Level certification
Overview of examination requirements
- Work on a practical assignment
- Answering technical questions (for the German certification examinations, written; for international English-language certification examinations online, in an oral group examination)
To prepare for a tekom certification examination on the Professional Level, you can view a sample of the practical assignment. For the technical questions, a catalog with sample examination questions for the Professional Level certification examination is available to you.
Qualification and Competence Profile
- Can work under guidance and complete standard tasks.
- Basic knowledge and core competence skills (e.g. law and standards, professional writing).
- Is familiar with the steps of the information creation process and can implement these.
tekom certification as a technical writer on the Expert Level is particularly suited for those with more than two years professional experience and very good previous knowledge in technical communication, as well as for those who already have Professional Level certification and are aiming for a higher qualification.
- Lateral entrants who are aiming directly for the higher qualification and already possess a high level of knowledge due to their professional background
- Certified persons on the Professional Level
- Those employed in technical communication with several years of professional experience
- Managers and project managers in technical communication
- Self-employed persons in the technical communication field
Approval can be given to all those who:
- Have participated in a qualification consultation and have at least two years of professional experience in the technical communication field or
- Have participated in a training program for Expert Level certification accredited by tekom or
- Have already successfully participated in certification on the Professional Level and a qualification consultation and have one year of professional experience in the technical communication field or
- Have successfully completed a tekom internship
Certification prerequisite and approval for Expert Level certification in exceptional cases
This rule applies particularly to ambitious lateral entrants who already possess a high level of specialized knowledge due to a previous professional background in technical communication. Certification candidates who do not meet the formal prerequisites for Expert Level certification but are, however, participating in a training program accredited for Professional Level certification, can be approved within the framework of an exemption for the Expert Level certification examination if the certification candidates
- Are participating in a qualification consultation and
- Receive a recommendation from the training provider for Expert Level certification
Overview of examination requirements
- Submission of an information product and a reflection on its creation
- Written answers to technical questions
- Oral discussion of the information product and the reflection
To prepare for tekom certification examination on the Expert Level, read the instructions on creating the technical project. You can request examples of reflections on information products at the tekom head office. For the technical questions, a catalog with examples of examination questions for the Expert Level certification examination is available to you.
Qualification and Competence Profile
- Can work independently and solve complex problems.
- Deeper and detailed knowledge and core-competence capabilities.
- Additional knowledge and skills in specialized fields (e.g. project management, terminology, content management).
- Understands the relationships within the information creation process and can implement the significant steps.
- Conceptual skills and reflection on work.
The Path to Certification as Technical Writer
Start your future now
Training and certification as a technical writer can be adapted to your individual situation: The tekom certification system is flexible, offering a customized path for everyone.
To aid in estimating the cost, figures based on experience and fees are listed below.
tekom Qualification Consultation
- The qualification consultation is free of cost for members.
- For non-members, the fee is 75 euros + VAT.
- The qualification consultation lasts 60 minutes, not including preparation time.
- The costs of preparing for tekom certification depend on the training chosen.
- Within the framework of the current evaluation, an average of about 3,100 euros has been determined. However, this can vary by plus/minus 1,700 euros.
- The duration of training is
- for Professional Level certification, 6 months on average,
- for Expert Level certification, 9 months on average.
- Current fees for the different certification examinations, as well as cancellation conditions, are set in the fee schedule.
- The technical certification examinations for both examination levels take place on a single examination day.
- For Expert Level certification, the period of time for creating the information product and the corresponding reflection is 3 months.
All public examination dates for tekom certification take place at the tekom head office in Stuttgart.
The next examination dates are:
13 to 14 February 2020
Close of registration (Expert): 07 October 2019
Close of registration (Professional): 16 January 2020
09 to 10 September 2020
Close of registration (Expert): 30 April 2020
Close of registration (Professional): 12. May 2020
Besides these dates, there is the option of participating in closed examination dates. Please inquire about this at the tekom head office with Ms. Heike Keller: +49 711 65704-0, h.keller(at)tekom.de
- Applications for approval to take the tekom certification examinations that are received at tekom after the registration deadline cannot be accommodated.
- Deregistrations from the examination, particularly shortly before the examination, are associated with cancellation fees (see fee schedule).
- Postponement of the examination date to a later examination date free of cost is not possible.
Registration for the Certification Examination
Different registration deadlines apply for the different certification examinations:
- Expert Level certification examinations: At least four months before the desired examination date
- Professional Level certification examinations: At least one month before the desired examination date
To register, please use the registration form for tekom certification and the Data Protection Declaration. Send these with your signature, by email, postal mail or fax to the tekom head office, to the attention of Ms. Heike Keller: +49 711 65704-0, h.keller(at)tekom.de
Refresh your professional knowledge and competences
The period of time that specific professional knowledge remains valid is, particularly in the technical field, brief – sometimes only several years. New developments also make it necessary for you to continually refresh your knowledge.
Recertification serves as verification that professional knowledge has been maintained. Every five years, the validity of the tekom certificate must be extended. For recertification, continual training must be formally shown. Repeating the certification examination is not required.
Training for recertification can be done in all topics relating to the technical communication field, in the broadest sense. For recertification, participation in training programs of at least 40 hours duration within five years during the term of the certificate must be formally shown – the equivalent of one training day a year.
The formal requirement of maintaining professional knowledge justifies to supervisors, for example, participation in training events such as seminars, attendance at tekom conferences, purchase of specialist literature etc. It provides solid arguments for staying up to date professionally.
To keep costs low for our certificate holders, verification takes place by and large via self-reporting. Available proof – such as confirmations of participation – should be included in submissions.
What must be verified:
- Professional practice, e.g. through confirmation by the employer, interim reports etc.
- Maintenance of competence by attending training events (at least 40 hours within five years, on average eight hours a year)
- Attending relevant professional conferences: For this, 50% of conference times (4 hours a day) are counted as training time for recertification (verification by submitting the invoice or confirmation of participation for attending workshops)
- Participating in company-internal training events (if applicable, with confirmation of participation)
- Attending an external seminar or external workshop (if applicable, with confirmation of participation)
- Attending free lectures at tekom regional groups (if applicable, with confirmation of participation)
- Reading specialist literature and specifying it for recertification (if applicable, with the form in the download area)
The official rules for recertification can be found in the current certification guidelines. To aid in providing the verifications, forms are available in the download area on tekom.de.
Rules for holders of certificates according to the previous certification system
The certificate according to the old examination system, as per the qualification modules, has unlimited validity. For this reason, certified technical writers who obtained their certificate according to the previous examination rules do not require recertification.
Think about recertification early. It is best to start your training immediately after certification. To maintain the certificate, you can apply for recertification after five years.
- To extend the validity of a certificate, a written application for extension, including all verifications as indicated below, is to be submitted two months at the earliest before expiration and up to a maximum of six months after expiration of the certificate. For this, tekom has made available an application form for recertification.
- Recertification takes place on the respective qualification level on which the certificate was obtained. It is carried out in this manner for both Professional Level and Expert Level certificates.
Costs for recertification
- No fees are charged for recertification.
- The certificate is issued for a low administrative fee.
- More detailed information is specified in the fee schedule.
Contact information at tekom and other documents for download can be found under "Detailed Information".