CPTC Exam Prep Frequently Asked Questions

What are the prerequisites for the CPTC Foundation-level Certification and Exam Prep Course?

To achieve the CPTC Foundation-level Certification, candidates must “demonstrate knowledge and understanding of best practices in technical communication” (source: https://www.stc.org/certification/) by passing an exam. While there are no formal prerequisites for the CPTC Foundation-level Certification, we find that candidates with 1-3 years experience as a technical communicator, or completion of a college-level technical communication degree or certificate program, have the greatest likelihood of success.

Candidates can prepare for the exam by self-study or by enrolling in an exam prep course. Even for exam prep course students, some self-study of the textbook (Technical Communication Today, 5th edition, by Richard Johnson-Sheehan) and STC CPTC Study Guide may be helpful.

Is this a technical writing course?

The CPTC Foundation-level certification assesses the applicant’s knowledge of technical writing concepts, including information design, effective written communication, and visual communication. However, the certification is much broader than just technical writing. The nine core competencies cover all skills required to be an effective technical communicator, including project planning, project management, and production and delivery.

When can I take the exam?

Students in our live, in-person classes can take the exam the afternoon of the second day of class. They may also choose to take the exam online up to a year after the training.

Students in our online classes can take the exam online up to a year after the training.

How does the online exam work?

The exam is offered online via APMG’s ProctorU system. You must register for and schedule the exam in advance. Exam slots are often available as soon as a day or two in advance.

You must have a computer (Windows or MacOS) with a webcam, and a desk or physical space that is clear of books, papers, and notes.

What happens if I do not pass the exam?

Passing the exam is not guaranteed. If you do not pass the exam on your first attempt, we will pay 50% of the STC-member exam fee for a second attempt. (The total exam fee is currently $255 USD for a paper exam sitting; $268 for the online exam). This offer is good up to one year after your training.