wikiHow to Become a Medical Writer

A medical writer creates texts for a variety of purposes, including reports, press releases, journals, articles and advertisements for government agencies and institutions, pharmaceutical and biotech companies, medical institutions and associations, universities, and medical publishing firms. Becoming a medical writer can offer a varying and interesting career with many job opportunities for individuals with a sound knowledge of medical terminology, superior writing skills, and a commitment to making deadlines. The following steps will teach you how to become a medical writer.


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    Acquire an in-depth knowledge of medical terminology and other fundamental aspects of medical writing such as pharmacology and research and statistics. The best way to do this is to enroll in classes at a university, either one that is local to you or an online university.
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    Enhance your knowledge by reading reports on the Food and Drug Administration website or in online medical journals. Pay attention to structure, tone, notes, and use of terminology.
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    Hone your writing skills.
    • Again, this is best done by following university courses in writing. Though it is helpful to get a degree in English, you can also complete certificate courses at various universities that enable you to learn the structures of different kinds of texts.
    • You can also buy writing books to enhance your understanding of grammar, syntax, and vocabulary, amongst other things.
    • Joining a writing group may offer a good way of getting feedback on your work and helping you build a portfolio.
    • Practice medical writing. Even before you get your first professional assignment, you need to practice medical writing. Research other texts, such as entries in medical journals, and try to emulate them. If at all possible, ask a professional writer to critique your work.
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    Research the available job opportunities. Though there are many medical writers who seek full time employment with a single enterprise or institute, there are also many freelance medical writers who work on an assignment basis. On job sites, you can research the average salary for an entry-level medical writer. You can also join discussions on freelance writers' discussion boards to find out the average compensation per assignment.
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    Decide whether you want to be a freelancer or a full time employee. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. For a beginning medical writer, the freelance market can be extremely challenging when it comes to finding clients, though it will allow you plenty of freedom in terms of time management. As a full employee, you'll enjoy all of the benefits of a regular job, but you'll also need to commit all of your working hours to the position.
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    Apply for a position as a medical writer. Again, online job boards such as Monster and company websites will list job openings that you can reply to with your cover letter, resume, and some samples of your work. For freelance work, it's a good idea to look on freelance job boards such as Craigslist, Elance, and Guru.
    • If you can't find a regular position right away, apply for an internship as a medical writer. An internship will help in terms of making contacts and learning all of the practical aspects of medical writing under the guidance of an editor.
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    Choose an area of expertise. You can become an expert at pharmaceutical writing, educational medical writing, or medical reports, amongst other things. Becoming an expert in a particular area will enhance your skills and make you more marketable, as your knowledge and skills will surpass that of many competitors who remain generalists in their field.

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Categories: College University and Postgraduate | Visual & Written Media