Thinking of getting into medical writing? If you think you have what it takes to be a medical writer, you should first decide whether this job is right for you. If the following medical writing definition and description looks right up your alley, you should consider a career in medical writing.
Guide How to Become a Medical Writer
Those who want to know how to become a medical writer should be aware that medical writer educational requirements are heavy on science. The medical writing career path also involves being able to explain an abundance of information clearly and concisely. Those who have medical writing jobs love what they do because they work hand-in-hand with scientists, learn all sorts of interesting stuff, and take great satisfaction in being able to share this information with academics and others who have an interest in medical science.
If you are certain that you want one of those medical writer jobs, you should be aware of the medical writer qualifications.
If you want to know how to become a medical writer, you can start by looking at our outline. We discuss medical writing training, medical writer job description, medical writing guidelines, medical writer certification requirements, medical writer salary ranges, a list of prospective employers, and additional useful information!
Educational Requirements for Becoming a Medical Writer
Medical writer education requirements can vary from employer to employer, which means there is no universally accepted criteria when applying for such a job. In fact, a standard medical writer course of study does not exist.
On the other hand, most employers do have certain expectations in their candidates. For example, those applying for medical writing jobs should have a B.A. at the minimum, and many employees even require an M.S. in a field of science.
Applicants with a background in one of these fields are highly sought by employers as it indicates that they understand scientific terms, which will make the initial medical writer training process easy.
Medical Writer Job Description
Okay, so what does a medical writer do exactly? This career involves creating medical-related documents that offer clear and correct descriptions about medical-related info. Medical writers also need to combine scientific expertise, a deep understanding of research, and have writing skills that allow them to convey the information to the target audience effectively. They might be asked to target various audiences for different purposes, ranging from putting together documents to submit to regulatory agencies on behalf of pharmaceutical firms, to authoring articles related to biomedicine to be read by physicians and researchers involved in medicine.
Medical Writer Job Duties
- Write documents that are clear, accurate and understandable
- Work with those in the healthcare field so as to receive and offer information
- Write articles, fact sheets, press releases, and other information that will appear in the press, medical reports and on web pages.
- Put together regulatory documents for pharmaceutical companies seeking approval from government bodies.
- Writing documents intended for a highly specific audience based on writing styles that are acceptable and expected in those fields
- Examine medical papers and data
Licensing and Certification Needed to Become a Medical Writer
At the moment there is no mandatory medical writing certificate requirement if you want to enter this field. On the other hand, the American Medical Writers Association (and its affiliates in countries like Canada) does issue medical writing certification on a voluntary basis.
Being a medical writer does not require any type of licensing or certification. Nonetheless, the American Medical Writers Association (and its partners all over the world) does issue certification on a voluntary basis.
Acquiring medical writer certification would not be a bad idea as it demonstrates that you have obtained the skills, knowledge and expertise to be a medical writer. Plus it indicates that you adhere to professional standards.
Medical Writer Salary: How Much Do They Earn?
There is no set salary for medical writers. Instead, it depends on several things such as education level, the company they work for, their experience, and whether they are working in freelance or in-house.
Medical Writer Salary United States: Based on AMWA information, in 2011 the average annual salary for full-time medical writers stood at just under $93,000. Medical writers who also freelance in addition earn on average $116,000.
Skills Needed to Become a Successful Medical Writer
To achieve success as a medical writer, prospective employers look for the following abilities:
- Understanding the full grasp of a particular assignment
- Writing skills that reflect deep, accurate knowledge of science
- Being detail-oriented
- Willingness to be good team member, but also being able to take initiative individually
- Good communication skills with other stakeholders
- Able to manage time well and turn in projects by the specified date
- Proper language and grammar use based on the target group
- Solid researching skills and ability to seek out reputable scientific resources
- Good interpretation and presentation skills as it relates to data/information
- Properly sourcing research and avoiding plagiarism issues
Who Hires Medical Writers? Where Do They Work?
There are plenty of organizations both within government and privately-run that could make use of a professional medical writer. For instance:
- Firms that develop pharmaceuticals, medical-related items, and work on clinically based research. In particular, they typically need assistance with writing proper documents as they seek to be FDA-approved.
- Privately-run companies need help with developing a marketing strategy
- Doctors need help with drafting research papers, monographs, and medical reviews.
- Hospitals and clinics require assistance with putting together materials to be used by doctors and nurses as part of their continuous education and re-certification/license renewal.
- Government agencies need help with creating web content and informative fact sheets that are easy for the public to understand
- Media outlets and scholarly papers that publish groundbreaking medical and scientific findings require the help of medical writers to organize it in an understandable way.