Take your first step toward a lucrative and rewarding career as a medical writer.
Take your first step toward a lucrative and rewarding career as a medical writer; no specialized or advanced degrees required! In this course, you'll learn about the different types of medical writing that you can do, how to break into and succeed in this industry, and how to write effectively on medical topics, whether you're writing for healthcare providers, patients, or regulatory organizations like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. You will examine the various types of writing that you can do, from producing technical pieces like abstracts and regulatory documentation to writing breezier items like medical news stories and patient education materials. You will gain insights about what goes into putting together a solid and compelling article, regardless of what you're writing about or who you're writing for. You will review how to consider your audience and construct an outline that addresses your audience's informational needs. You'll also learn how to keep your writing free of medical jargon and common grammatical errors, while ensuring the scientific integrity of your work.
Throughout these lessons, you will discover invaluable tools and technologies that can make your life as a medical writer easier. You will examine informational resources, productivity tools, marketing resources, devices, and software, and review how to use them optimally to achieve your goals. You will also discover numerous tips and tricks that can help set you apart from others in the field and enable you to keep your career momentum going. And of course, you'll master key medical and statistical terms that you'll need to know. The knowledge you will gain in this course will give you the foundation and confidence you need to work for almost anyone as a medical writer, whether your goal is to find permanent employment with a company or to work as a freelancer from the comfort of your own home.
- This course can be taken on either a PC or Mac.
- PC: Windows 8 or newer.
- Mac: OS X Snow Leopard 10.6 or later.
- Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
- Adobe Acrobat Reader. Click here to download the Acrobat Reader.
- Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.
Take your first step toward a lucrative and rewarding career as a medical writer. This course teaches the different types of medical writing, how to break into and succeed in the industry, and how to write effectively on medical topics.
- Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.
1. Becoming a Medical Writer
In the first lesson, you'll learn what medical writing is all about. You'll learn what medical writers do and what it takes to be a medical writer. You'll also examine the many types of writing medical writers produce, as well as the tools of the trade—the equipment that medical writers need to have. By the end of this first lesson, you'll have a solid grasp of the field and the items you should have with you as you begin your medical writing career!
2. Which Path to Choose: Freelancer or Employee?
In this lesson, you'll examine the two main career paths you can take as a medical writer: freelancer and employee. You'll start by examining general factors that you need to consider. Then, you'll review the benefits and drawbacks of being a freelancer and an employee. After you complete this lesson, you'll have a good understanding of both of these routes, enabling you to determine which one will better serve your needs and objectives.
3. Laying a Good Foundation for Your Writing
There are a few core things you'll need to get a handle on before you start any medical writing project: knowing your audience, understanding your topic, and creating your outline. You can't expect to succeed without first tackling these elements, so this lesson will go into good detail about that. After you complete the lesson, you'll be equipped to lay a solid foundation for your writing, regardless who you're targeting and what you're writing about.
4. Grammar Essentials for Medical Writers
The focus of this lesson is on grammar, which is essential for making your writing polished and coherent. You'll start by looking at key sentence-level issues, including sentence structure and use of punctuation. Then you'll move on to building easy-to-follow paragraphs and transitions, as well as a few rules specific to medical writing!
5. Learning Key Medical and Statistical Terms
In this lesson, you'll focus on the language that you'll often come across in medical literature. You'll start by looking at abbreviations, including when and how to use them. Then you'll look at how to spot medical jargon. Finally, you'll review some key statistical terms so that you can better understand how to process the information you're writing about. After you complete this lesson, you'll have a better understanding of the language that dominates the medical arena and how to use it!
6. Accessorizing and Polishing Your Work
This lesson will focus on how to add visual elements to your writing and enhance its readability. You'll start by looking at the accessories you can create: figures, tables, and sidebars. You'll review what these accessories are, when to use them, and considerations to keep in mind when creating them. Then you'll turn your attention to proofreading your work, focusing on strategies you can use to catch errors and improve flow. After you complete this lesson, you'll understand how to add the finishing touches to your work that'll really help it shine!
7. Understanding Key Ethical Principles in Medical Writing
This lesson is all about ethics! It will talk about the ethical issues that surround medical writing and the responsibilities that come with authorship. You'll start by looking at scientific misconduct and how it can affect your writing. Then you'll turn your attention to plagiarism and how to avoid it. Finally, you'll review ghostwriting and other situations that can cause ethical dilemmas, as well as steps you can take to secure the integrity of your work. After you complete this lesson, you'll have a good understanding of the ethical terrain that underlies medical writing.
8. Medical Writing Markets
In this lesson, you'll examine the markets that need medical writers. You'll start by looking at the pharmaceutical industry, which directly and indirectly employs medical writers. Then, you'll examine medical communications companies, another major employer of medical writers. Finally, you'll review some of the smaller markets, like hospitals, managed care organizations, and professional medical associations. After you complete this lesson, you'll have a good understanding of these markets and where to aim in your job search!
9. Breaking Into the Medical Writing Freelance Arena
In this lesson, you'll examine the medical writing freelance arena. First, you'll review how you can build a portfolio, which can be an important tool for helping you secure work. Next, you'll examine where to look for freelance work and steps you can take to increase your odds of finding work. Finally, you'll review the business side of being a freelancer, including how to develop a business plan and which business structures you can consider. After you complete this lesson, you'll have a better understanding of the freelance environment and how you can be successful in it.
10. Finding Permanent Employment as a Medical Writer
How can you find permanent employment as a medical writer? That's what this lesson will discuss. First, you'll review how to put together an effective resume and maximize your job search. Then, you'll examine strategies that can enhance your chances of getting an interview, such as constructing a thoughtful cover letter. And finally, you'll look at some ways to really shine during your interview. By the time you finish this lesson, you'll have the knowledge you need to stand out from the crowd, from resume prescreening through the interview process!
11. Taking Charge of Your Career
Now it's time to think about how you can advance your medical writing career. You'll review credentials you might pursue to make you more enticing to employers or clients and then look at strategies for building a good reputation. Also, every writer's career reaches a standstill at some point—even if you're not there yet, it'll help to be prepared when that happens. The lesson will conclude by discussing some ways to get your career momentum going when you find you've peaked!
12. The Future of Medical Writing
How is technology shaping medical writing and the way that people look for and find medical information? That's what this lesson is all about. First, you'll review how writing for the Web is different from print and what you need to know to write effectively for online viewing. Then, you'll look at social media and how companies are using it to promote content and brands as well as how you can use these platforms to promote your own work. Finally, you'll examine how technology continues to shape the writing world and explore some technology solutions that can make your life as a medical writer a bit easier!