Medical Writing: A lucrative career option

CNN Money has published a series on ‘lucrative career options’. They have identified some not-so-sought-after careers which have a potential of getting you a six figure salary. They are the careers often overlooked. One among them is ‘Medical Writing’. This is an upcoming field with huge potential for growth. It also gives you the flexibility in work timings.

Read the full series at … You can read the complete article in which the ‘Medical Writer’ career appeared at Interesting six-figure jobs

I will quote a part of it here

If you can say words like "pharmacokinetics" 10 times fast and use them meaningfully in a sentence, you may have some of what it takes to be a medical
writer in the pharmaceutical industry.

Medical writers -- unlike most of us -- have both an understanding of science and the ability to write about it, bringing clarity to complex topics.

Meticulous attention to detail and an ability to analyze both descriptive and numeric data also are musts, said Art Gertel, a past president of the American Medical Writers Association and vice president of Clinical Services, Regulatory and Medical Writing.

So, too, is the stamina to work very long hours under tight deadlines. Here's why: A key task is to write study reports, a formalized report submitted to regulatory agencies -- for example, the Food and Drug Administration -- so that regulators can review a new product such as a drug or medical device that the pharmaceutical company wishes to market.

The report is an analysis and interpretation of the data results from clinical trials and often is written in partnership with the physicians and statisticians working on the project. Medical writers also might work on print ads for a pharmaceutical product, prepare articles for peer-review medical journals or write copy for "poster sessions" at medical meetings – displays in exhibit halls that present the results of a clinical research project.

Gertel estimates that about 80 percent of medical writers who write regulatory copy have at least a master's degree in one of the life sciences. Of those, he estimates about 30 percent have a Ph.D. or a doctorate in pharmacy. Most, however, never said, "I want to grow up and be a medical writer," Gertel said. Instead, many started out as "bench scientists" – working in a lab for long hours and relatively low pay.

Recently, however, medical writing has begun to be recognized as a career track unto itself. And some schools even offer a master's degree in the field. Medical writers in the pharmaceutical industry may start out making $75,000 a year, but can top $100,000 after three or four years, Gertel said. Once you reach the managerial level, you might make $120,000 or more. The population of medical writers who can write regulatory copy is small but that helps them command high pay. Said Gertel: "Medical writers are like gold right now."


CNN Money
hat tip : 'Medical Writers' community in orkut


  1. diego says

    In fact, the 2004 salary survey from the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) showed that for freelance medical writers the mean gross income was $103,432.

    I discuss some of these issues in my own blog

    Dr Placebo says

    @ Diego

    Thank you for visiting my blog.

    Its true that Medical writing as a career gives impressive pay package, Unmatched flexibility and a chance to work across borders without any regulatory glitches.

    But at the same time I'm worried it may leeave you frustrating at times. I dont see any advancement in career after reaching a level. Also, you never come to the limelight and tend to work in backdrops. I wonder if this offers enough Professional satisfaction.

    Your blog is interesting too.. Will look for updates