Thank you for your interest in pursuing Professional Certification through the Society for Technical Communication. The STC Certification Commission has temporarily suspended new applicants while it improves its processes and overall program structure to better serve technical communicators.
It is anticipated that the program will be re-opened to applicants in late Fall 2015. The re-engineered program will be a three-tiered professional certification: Foundation, Practitioner, and Expert.

  • The Foundation-level Professional Certification will focus on knowledge of the field. To achieve the Certified Professional Technical Communicator – Foundational designation, applicants will demonstrate knowledge and understanding of best practices in technical communication by passing a test.
  • The Practitioner-level Professional Certification will demonstrate mastery of applying best practices and leading others in their use. The achievement of the Certified Professional Technical Communicator – Practitioner designation will be a test and an evaluation of work product.
  • The Expert-level Professional Certification requirements will be similar to the previous CPTC program, requiring a set of work products and expert interviews. (Those who have already achieved a Certified Professional Technical Communicator designation under the old program will be automatically grandfathered into the Certified Professional Technical Communicator – Expert Certification level.)

Foundational Certification will be available first, with the higher-level certifications opening soon after.


Foundation Level Certification

STC anticipates opening the Certified Professional Technical Communicator – Foundation Level in late Fall 2015. This certification will be a timed test covering nine core skill areas of technical communication.

whitespace Project Planning whitespace Review and Editing
Project Analysis Visual Communication
Content Development Content Management
Organizational Design Production and Delivery
Written Communication

The Body of Knowledge STC is using initially for the Foundation exam is Richard Johnson-Sheehan’s Technical Communication Today, Fifth Edition. The test will be approximately 50 questions, closed book. Test takers will have a limited time to complete the test under a proctor. There will be a six-month waiting period for those who do not achieve a passing score.

There will be two-tier pricing to take the exam: $250 for current STC members and $495 for nonmembers. This cost may be translated into other currencies such as the Euro at the rate applicable at the time. There is currently no discounted pricing for less-developed areas of the world. The Foundation level has no educational attainment or work experience requirement to sit the exam.

We are working with a U.K.-based firm that specializes in professional certification administration, APMG International. The test will be available direct from APMG or through training organizations authorized by APMG. These trainers will combine a training session or sessions with administration of the Foundation test. We anticipate it will take several months to develop a set of certification trainers. If you, or your organization, are interested in knowing more about the requirements to be an authorized trainer, please contact Ronn Faigen at Ronn.Faigen@apmg-international.com.

Once an applicant passes the test, he/she will be issued a certificate and entered into the STC certification database. His or her name will also appear on our website under our list of current, certified practitioners. Certifications will be in good standing if a technical communicator keeps current with continuing education requirements.

Certified Professional Technical Communicator – Foundation Level Continuing Education Requirements

Continuing education units (CEUs) for CPTC Certification are point based. Certificants will have to achieve 12 points over a two-year period from the date of certification to remain current. At the end of the two-year period, point accumulation begins again. If certificants fail to achieve 12 points, the certification will be considered lapsed until CEUs are made current. If certificants fail to become current and required CEUs total 24 or more (4 years’ worth) then their certification is considered invalid and they must retake the Foundation exam. There will be no annual maintenance fee for Foundation certification.

Continuing Education Points may be obtained the following ways:


Event Points
STC Annual Membership (any type for Foundation certificants) 2
STC Recorded Webinar (self-study) 1
STC Live Educational Webinar (free, sponsored, and community webinars excluded) 2
STC Online Courses 6
STC Summit Pre-Conference Courses 6
STC Virtual Summit 4
STC Annual Summit 8
Begin and complete a college accredited course related to the Technical Communication field* 8 points per 3 college credit course

(* to be adjudicated by STC staff once a transcript is sent in)


Please refer back to this Web page. When Foundation certification launches, more information on the test process, registration, and continuing education requirements will be posted. STC appreciates your understanding and continued support as we work to improve this important program.

Certification contacts:
Chris Lyons, CEO, chris.lyons@stc.org
Liz Pohland, Director of Communications, liz.pohland@stc.org