How Can I Become a Medical Writer?
Do you have writing talent and medical expertise? Can you analyze complex data and make it understandable for readers? Do you want a writing career that allows a wide variety of job options? Read more to learn about becoming a medical writer. Schools offering Medical Transcription degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
What Kind of Work Would I Do as a Medical Writer?
Medical writers write about health and medical topics for the general public and medical or scientific professionals. You will research topics, analyze data and write about complex subjects in a way that is understandable to your readers. This can include translating complicated medical jargon so that it is comprehensible to patients studying a brochure or to the general public reading a magazine article.
You may pen articles for medical journals read by healthcare workers or write regulatory documents for government bureaus. You might work on writing projects in collaboration with doctors or scientists. Your duties could include creating educational materials targeted at medical students or professionals with degrees.
You could choose self-employment and work as a freelance medical writer. According to the periodical Science, approximately one-third of medical writers work on a freelance basis (sciencemag.org). Or you could seek a salaried job writing or editing for a medical journal or publisher, writing public relations copy for hospitals or medical associations, creating grant proposals for medical researchers or developing marketing materials for drug firms.
What Formal Education Do I Need?
Medical writers have diverse educational backgrounds. Most started in another profession before switching careers to become medical writers. The American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) reported that many medical writers started in professions such as journalism, public relations, scientific research, healthcare or teaching before becoming medical writers (www.amwa.org). Some of these professionals who turned to medical writing possess advanced degrees in medicine or science. The AMWA estimated that around 54% of its members carry degrees in science or healthcare and approximately 20% have degrees in the liberal arts, including journalism and communications.
According to the AMWA and an article in 'Money', a trend toward medical writing becoming a first career choice is growing because more schools are now offering degree programs in medical writing (http://money.cnn.com). You should consider earning a bachelor's degree in scientific professional writing, health communications or technical writing with a concentration in medical writing. Alternately, you could seek a master's degree in medical writing, medical journalism, health communication, biomedical regulatory affairs or professional writing with a concentration in medical writing.
Can I Seek Continuing Education as a Professional?
The AMWA offers certificate programs to teach you more about the craft. Some employers require writers to have an AMWA certificate. You earn a certificate after completing eight workshops in that subject. You may choose from a certificate in Essential Skills or in specialty areas, including Regulatory and Research or Concepts in Science and Medicine.
The AMWA also awards a Professional Development Certificate (a form of professional certification, not itself an educational program) to writers wanting to show commitment to expanding their professional knowledge. You may receive this certificate every two years after engaging in certain professional development activities for which you garner points.
To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below: