Chris Kahlberg, 61, is formally retired. However when he’s not exploring a brand new a part of the world from the saddle of his bike, he has a profitable aspect hustle — medical writing.
Kahlberg earns $170 an hour summarizing medical security research, writing reviews and drug security analyses. Though he earns a comparatively excessive hourly charge, the trade normal runs from $93 to more than $113 per hour, in line with the American Medical Writers Affiliation. Kahlberg thinks medical writing is a perfect aspect hustle for good communicators with a science background or medical expertise.
“There’s such a necessity,” he says. “I believe you’d must have some medical data, however there are quite a lot of alternatives on the market.”
Certainly, LinkedIn lists greater than 2,400 open medical writing jobs. And plenty of of them pay handsomely. A scientific editor place at Merck, for example, has an estimated wage vary of $96,000 to -$165,000. One other medical writing administration place has a $156,000 – $224,000 wage vary.
Wage.com says that the median income for a medical writer in New York is greater than $87,000. Different websites estimate that even starting medical writers can earn upwards of $50,000 yearly. And the American Medical Writer’s Association notes that the majority medical writers work from home no less than a part of the time.
What’s medical writing?
Medical writing covers a broad vary of communication. This could embody analysis reviews, research summaries, and articles about scientific research. It may well contain skilled communication by docs to docs about scientific break-throughs and new remedy choices; vendor to physician communication about new medicine, dosages and coverings; in addition to affected person brochures that designate remedy choices and negative effects. There’s additionally a broad regulatory aspect of this enterprise that entails penning grant proposals and reviews for the Meals & Drug Administration. And, after all, there’s a considerable gross sales, advertising and marketing and promoting aspect of the career.
In different phrases, medical writing ranges from extremely technical and closely scientific to much more accessible consumer-oriented tales. However what all medical writing has in widespread is a concentrate on readability, accuracy and compliance with FDA guidelines.
Who can do it
Theoretically, the one necessities for medical writers is superb communication abilities mixed with a ardour for science. Nevertheless, as a result of the required materials might be extremely technical, some corporations desire writers with superior scientific levels or expertise within the medical discipline.
When you’ve got each, you’re golden. Kahlberg, for example, has a PhD and labored in pharmaceutical growth for Glaxo Smith Kline earlier than he retired. However, that stage of expertise will not be essentially required, notably for consumer-facing communication, equivalent to brochures about remedy choices.
The American Medical Writers Affiliation additionally provides an “important abilities” certificates program. Along with primary grammar and punctuation, the important abilities program delves into medical terminology, reporting on statistics and medical ethics. The course prices $850 for members and $1,235 for non-members and often takes about 6 months to finish. (Membership prices $199 yearly, so in the event you’re contemplating the course, it is smart to hitch beforehand for the low cost.)
The place to seek out work
Kahlberg maintains there are such a lot of recruiters in search of medical writers on Linkedin that your greatest wager is to easily revise your resume there to emphasise your scientific writing chops. When you’ve got the background and clips, jobs will come to you, he says.
A blogger that calls himself the CheekyScientist means that potential medical writers be part of the American Medical Writers Affiliation to get entry to the location’s membership listing and native chapters, the place you possibly can community.
Job boards equivalent to Certainly and Glassdoor even have copious medical writing positions listed. And websites equivalent to ServiceScape, Skyword and Contently even have medical writing assignments you can faucet, if in case you have the proper background and credentials.
The hardest half is getting the primary few assignments, in line with the CheekyScientist. However, he maintains that in the event you do a superb job, word-of-mouth is probably going to usher in a relentless stream of labor.