How do I Become a Freelance Medical Writer?

Sheri Cyprus

In order to become a freelance medical writer, you'll need at least a bachelor's degree. In general, when it comes to medical writing, the more advanced your degree is, the higher pay you'll be able to get. You must be skilled at researching and presenting scientific data. Summarizing operations and surgical procedures is necessary; you'll need to be able to do this accurately, yet concisely.

Skilled medical writers can often find work through online freelance employment sites.
Skilled medical writers can often find work through online freelance employment sites.

Medical journal editors won't even consider publishing your work unless you've achieved at least some degree of credibility in your efforts to become a freelance medical writer. In other words, you not only have to know what you're discussing in your medical writing, but you have to prove you can write well. It may take some time to build up your reputation, but medical writing tends to pay lucratively, so writers attracted to this field often find the sometimes slow progression worthwhile. Also, you can begin writing medical articles from your home office part time while holding down a steady job.

When starting out in the field, take caution as to where your articles, and your name, appear. The idea is to build a solid reputation for yourself as you strive to become a freelance medical writer; it's better to have one short piece published in one of the best nursing magazines than many longer articles in questionable publications. This way, when you have the opportunity to send medical editors published samples of your writing, you'll have quality work to show.

Creating and regularly updating a blog in which you make posts about medical news, studies and breakthroughs can be an excellent way to get started as long you keep the quality high. Use a readable, professional-looking format and keep your posts typo-free. You may be able to find a medical writing class to take online that fits your working schedule as you start to become a freelance medical writer.

Joining a professional organization in your country, such as the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) in the United States, may help you find networking opportunities with writing markets and editors. You should read the medical magazines and journals you hope to write for and study their style and the article lengths. Especially pay attention to the medical writers published in quality markets; the idea is not to copy their style, but to learn from them. If you want to become a freelance medical writer, make a reasonable plan of what you can do each month to further your goal, then do the work.

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Discussion Comments


Currently I work within the pharmaceutical industry as a drug representative, and am looking to change career paths in the near future. I found this article to be very helpful in assisting me with finding and developing the necessary resources that I will need to be a successful medical writer. Thank you.

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