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How to Start a Medical Writing Career

Many people desire a career that is diverse and full of potential. With medical writing, it’s not only possible to find these attributes, but it’s also possible to truly make a difference in the world–and potentially save lives. Medical writers write, edit, and market documents with information on advancements in health treatments, technology, and research. Medical writers are unique in that they can bridge the gap between scientific knowledge and written communication to provide important information that can benefit both health researchers and the general public. Listed below are the top reasons to get into this field, and how to start the journey: 

What does medical writing involve?

What makes medical writing so compelling for many is the range of projects one can be involved in. Working alongside healthcare professionals, medical writers can find themselves writing and editing medical reports, journal manuscripts, press releases, presentation information, and much more. As research in the health field is continuously developing, there is never a shortage of work to be had, meaning new experiences are always available. 

How to learn medical writing

Medical writing requires an individual to know medical terms and guidelines. Additionally, medical writers need to have an excellent command of the English language and grammar and know how to research efficiently. Those hiring in the medical writing field, such as pharmaceutical companies and hospitals, look for candidates with at least a Bachelor’s degree in journalism or English; candidates have also preferably taken a course in specialized medical writing. One possible way to learn medical writing is to go to medical school. Before committing to that type of schooling, it’s recommended to take the MCAT practice test to judge your skill level. Taking this test can tell you what you should focus on developing and where to take the next step. 

How to get started as a medical writer

There are plenty of ways to get started with medical writing. First, getting an official certification will ensure you are qualified for the job. Certification can be completed on the American Medical Writers Association website, which also offers handy medical writing resources. Additionally, it’s important to find a niche, as the field of medical writing is very vast. If you’re good at communication, marketing or advertising writing may be the best bet. If you prefer research, focusing on scientific publications or journals would be ideal. And be sure to introduce yourself on our science writers page.  

How to get medical writing experience

One of the best ways to break into any career field is to network; communicate with those already in the field. This can be done in various ways, from connecting with medical writers online to attending medical writing meetups and conferences. Furthermore, relevant work experience will work in your favor with future employers. Getting a job as a laboratory assistant or medical researcher will show commitment. It will make hiring employers more confident that the candidate can get the job done well.

How to improve your medical writing skills

There’s always room for improvement, whether you are just getting started or have already done some medical writing. The aforementioned American Medical Writers Association has style guides, books on writing, and information on further study in various Universities across the country. 

Is medical writing a good career?

According to The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for medical writers will only continue to increase as technical data becomes more complex and needs to be translated into a communicative format. Therefore, medical writers have excellent job security. Other benefits of this career include potential travel, flexibility in terms of full-time or part-time work, and a chance to work with a variety of different people. 

What is a typical medical writing salary?

A junior medical writer can expect to make anywhere from $52,000 to $80,000 a year. 

Why is medical writing important?

As was mentioned previously, medical writing is important because it can quite literally save lives. Writing about drug trials and treatments, the development of health technology, and new advancements in the understanding of diseases leads to a more informed and safer world. 

For an exceptionally exciting and rewarding career, medical writing may be the way to go.

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