Your job will have a big impact on everything else in your life – your schedule, your finances, and your happiness in general. That’s why finding a career that gives you a solid pay, good job security, and plenty of personal rewards is important. The medical field is filled with opportunities that offer personal and financial rewards, and because of this it’s frequently considered by those looking for a good career with a strong future. But instead of providing bedside care, becoming a medical writer is an option that is worth considering.
A medical writer is a position with a lot of potential and with a good bit of variety as well. If you think that it may be right for you, keep reading to learn more about the job and what it offers.
What Is a Medical Writer?
A medical writer is just what its name suggests – a professional who writes on medically related topics. However, the focus isn’t on entertainment but on producing scientific documentation on a related medical area. Usually, these professionals work with doctors, researchers, and other medical professionals. They take data gathered during studies or research and try to write it in a way that helps put it into clearer terms. In other words, they take large amounts of technical and scientific information and data and rework it into a paper that are easier to quickly understand. Target audiences may still be within the medical field, but the goal is to reduce the amount of time needed to read and understand a report.
Job duties of a medical writer include:
- Read and review data and information gathered during research or a study
- Review information provided by other medical professionals
- Use that information to write new papers, reports, and documents that disseminate the information and present it in a clear, concise manner
- Use current style and structure guidelines to ensure that information is accurate and presented clearly
- Ensure that documents comply with all regulations and guidelines that apply to them
A few key characteristics will help you with the job, including:
- Strong Written Communication Skills – Obviously, being able to write well is a major part of the job. Without good written communication skills, you won’t thrive in this position.
- Good Teamwork – Since you’ll likely work alongside or with other medical professionals, it’s important to have good teamwork skills.
- Self-Motivation – This isn’t a job that frequently involves a supervisor leaning over your shoulder. You’ll need to be disciplined and self-motivated in order to succeed.
Nature of the Work
The nature of the work is, not surprisingly, writing. Regardless of the specifics of your employment, you’ll spend almost all of your time behind a computer, typing away as you reach deadlines or word count quotas. Some medical writers work in office settings, while a growing number of them are actually freelance workers. In the case of freelance, it’s often possible to work from home, sending and receiving assignments via email or cloud storage technology. This is another major benefit that many medical writers enjoy, since it allows them to pace themselves and work from home or even from a coffee shop.
Employers vary, and include drug companies, hospitals, research facilities, universities, health organizations, and more. Any organization that requires medical writing will likely use a professional medical writer to complete the task, and as such the job is very in-demand at the moment and will be for some time.
Education and Training
One of the more interesting things about becoming a medical writer is that there are multiple paths into the position. In some cases, journalism degrees will be the primary entry point into the field. But many medical writers hold master’s or doctorate degrees in health or science related fields. As such, it’s difficult to state what an employer will expect from you in terms of your degrees. Often, experience is as important as your education will be.
Average salaries for those who work as medical writers varies, but the current average is about $80,000 annually. That number increases if you hold advanced degrees, and pay of more than $94,000 is not uncommon at all. The demand for these professionals is increasing as well, and the job market is expected to remain very strong throughout the future.