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The Power of Words Powered by Medical Knowledge: Medical Writing

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If you are considering becoming a medical writer there is a lot of information that you need to be aware of. While you need to be able to write and write well, you also need to have scientific and medical background. The first thing we are going to do is provide you with a number of tips on building the medical writing career you desire. Then we will go more in depth and discuss qualifications and training required, job duties, market and salary.

It is not uncommon for medical professionals to take a look at changing their careers and want to use the knowledge they have in a writing manner. This has lead many nurses, doctors and other medical personnel to take a look at medical writing. This isn’t to say that the only people that are medical writers are former medical professionals; there are a number of medical writers who start out as medical writers.

Tips for Medical Writers

Medical writers need to have a scientific background and a certified level of writing skills. This could mean that you will need to go back to school and get a degree in science. If you already have a degree in science you might want to go back and get your Ph.D. It is highly recommended that you take a few writing courses and possibly obtain information on grammar skills. The most important thing a writer can do is constantly work to improve upon their skills.

You are also going to want to have someone that is skilled in grammar and writing to review your writing. There are times as writers we are our own worst critics, but we also tend to read what we think we wrote - which means that while it made sense in our head, it doesn’t make any sense for someone who is reading it.

Next you are going to need to decide what types of medical writing you want to do. The five most popular types include patient histories, progress notes, discharge summaries, grant proposals and peer reviewed publications. You can also take a look at job boards and search for medical writing positions and see what is out there.

If you are considering going into business for yourself instead of working for a company it is very important that you create a website. Make sure that your website is professional in appearance. If you don’t feel that you can create the website yourself it is strongly advised that you pay a designer to create it for you. Once the website is designed you will need to post a few writing samples on your site. If they have been published you need to talk to the person who owns the rights to the article and make sure that you can post it. If you do not already have samples, sit down and write them.

First impressions go a long way in sealing a deal. However a job well done goes an even longer way in making sure you have repeat business. This means that you don’t want to take on more assignments then you can handle in a reasonable amount of time. Also you need to make sure that you do an excellent job on the assignment. Remember two things; the success of your career depends completely on the satisfaction of your clients and secondly, you aren’t writing for just anyone down the street. If you are writing medical papers you are writing them as if you are a medical professional. Do the research, know your topic and be able to convey the information to the appropriate audience.

Training and Qualifications

As stated above a degree is necessary for medical writing. If you are serious about your career, take the time to get the education that is necessary. Take classes, read books, look for opportunities to advance your education and skills.

The best training you can get is to just start writing and pitch your ideas to different journals and papers. There are a number of websites that are looking for articles and they will pay you for those articles. Their requirements are simply well researched, packed with information and completed with a bibliography.

Job Duties

Your duties will vary based on who you work for. If you are going to work for a particular company then you will need to adhere to their requirements and guidelines. If you are going into business for yourself then your duties will vary based on the project you pick up and the client you are working with. There are some clients that will provide the research for you and there are others that are going to expect you to do the research.

Keep in contact with your client so that they know the progress of the project. You want to make sure that the direction you are taking is the direction your client wants the paper to go.


The typical salary for a medical or health writer can range anywhere from $50,000 to $115,000 per year. This varies depending on who you are writing for, the types of projects you are doing, your experience and your education. Obviously the more adept your skills and advanced your education the more you are going to make.

There is also a pay difference between writing for a pharmaceutical company and writing a research paper with a doctor. While money shouldn’t be the driving force behind the job you take, it helps to know what you should be expecting.


Anyone can become a medical writer with the proper education and qualifications. It is not necessary for you to be a medical professional currently, but you do need to have some scientific and medical background.
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Popular tags:

 repeat  patients  progress notes  degrees  courses  careers  healthcare professionals  Ph.D.  medical personnel

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