Medical Writer/Medical Editor
Medicine is a field where research is always being done, discoveries are constantly being made, and new innovations are often brought into the health care sector. Because of the constant need for sharing research results, updating information, and for education, there is huge opportunity for healthcare workers to work on this informational side of the medicine, writing or editing.
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A medical writer or editor could write for foundations, associations, hospitals, healthcare systems, pharmaceutical companies, managed care organizations, or websites, just to name some examples. Writing for these employers could include writing content, newsletters, public relations materials, marketing materials, proposals, grants, training manuals, internet content, and of course proofreading or editing these materials. A medical editor can copy edit, proofread, and fact-check various material, written by or for healthcare professionals or patients. Editors often work closely with the writers, with art directors, and have to have a good handle of language, medical terminology, and be good at making the end product honed toward the target audience. Many medical writers or editors also work as freelancers. Working as a freelancer has both disadvantages and advantages. While you would forgo benefits and a steady paycheck and steady work, you could also be your own boss and have complete flexibility about which work you choose to do. Often, gaining experience in the field, networking, and building your contacts while working on staff is the best way to segue into becoming a freelancer, should you decide to forge that path.
A good medical writer should have some knowledge of medicine, good writing skills, and the ability to know their audience, to work as a team, and to meet deadlines. Generally, medical writers start out with either a college degree in science or medicine, or in journalism or English. If you are a nurse with the medical background, preparing yourself by polishing your writing skills, pharmacology knowledge, and taking continuing education courses in medical writing would be beneficial. Joining professional organizations like the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) is also a good first step. They offer continuing education programs, workshops, and certificate programs. Many colleges and universities also offer medical writing courses. You could also look directly at job hiring sites and healthcare company websites for entry-level writing jobs requiring medical knowledge.
According to mysalary.com, the average salary for a medical writer is $55,506, and cbsalary cites the average salary for a medical editor as $48,716. Both of these can vary greatly depending on the type of writing or editing you do, your experience in medical writing or editing, as well as your geographic location. Experienced medical writers can earn nearly $100,000 a year very easily. The need for these writers and editors will continue to be strong, as science and medicine is a field that is constantly evolving and processing new information and technology. If you are a nurse or hope to become one, and think you might like to be a medical writer or editor, this could be an exciting career offshoot for you.
(Sources: American Medical Writers Association)