How to Become a Medical Writer

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How to Become a Medical Writer. A career as a medical writer pays well and work is always available in marketing, pharmaceutical, scientific or general medical writing. A basic knowledge of medicine and anatomy is needed for some assignments. Others are more complicated and may require specialized knowledge or research.

Learn medical terms. Familiarize yourself with the Merck Manual, FDA drug guidelines and websites like and WebMD. Some universities offer medical writing courses. Take courses in pharmacology and statistics to build your medical terminology vocabulary.

Acquire disciplined writing habits. Medical writing requires logic, accuracy and organizational ability. Improve your research and analytical skills, and you will be in demand as a medical writer.

Examine different employment options. There are many opportunities for full-time and freelance work in the medical writing field. If you have acquired considerable medical knowledge, you can work as a permanent employee with a hospital, medical equipment manufacturer or pharmaceutical company. Entry-level medical writers can work with a company part-time or freelance until their skills improve.

Focus on a specialty. Biotech, health care and pharmaceutical companies need white papers based on clinical studies, annual reports, instructional material and many other documents. Build a reputation as a specialist in a niche market, and then it will be easier to branch out into other areas.

Network with other writers. Organizations like the AMWA (American Medical Writers Association) and local freelance or copywriting clubs can help you to find potential markets and strengthen your writing technique. Investigate Yahoo! and Google groups for writers, and subscribe to market report newsletters for copywriters and journalists.


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