Are you a healthcare provider looking for a way to share your knowledge, advance your career, boost your income, or change your career altogether? If so, medical writing may be a great field for you. Over the past decade, medical writing has become recognized as a profession, with several universities now offering medical and science writing programs and other organizations, such as the American Medical Writer’s Association, offering certificate and certification programs; however, special degrees or certificates are generally not needed for physicians to find a place in the field.
What follows is an overview of 5 of the larger medical writing niches physicians can consider.
- Journals: Although journal submissions are rarely compensated, having articles published in journals can be a great way to carve a name for yourself in your specialty. This may be especially important if you have recently obtained your medical degree or are practicing in an academic setting where “publish or perish” is persistent and promotions may hinge on getting published. There are a variety of journals you can consider, including subscriber-based, controlled-circulation, and open-access publications. Just proceed with caution with the “pay for play” journals, as some are predatory. A library scientist, Jeffrey Beall, put together a list of potential predatory journals and publishers, which can be a good first step in researching open-access publications.
- Other Publishers/News Sources: There are many publications beyond journals that require medical writers, such as online medical news sites, medical tabloids, and any organization that publishes medical information, including medical societies, patient advocacy groups, and even some journals. Many of these entities will pay for content, and there may be ongoing opportunities to write about new studies, provide coverage of abstracts and posters presented at medical meetings, produce patient educational materials, and more. If you are interested in writing medical news for a publication, consider sending your pitch to .
- CME: CME work is generally well compensated and provides a variety of opportunities for physicians. Some physicians turn CME into their careers, becoming medical education directors, strategists, or finding other suitable positions in the field, whereas others may maintain their clinical employment and serve as faculty or consultants on individual programs. In situations where physicians work as faculty, they share their expertise on a topic and often work with a medical writer who will help draft the program under the guidance of the faculty.
- Regulatory Writing: This work is probably the most highly compensated medical writing work you can find, because the stakes are so high. If you like very regimented, technical work, this could be the niche for you. The Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society is a good resource for prospective regulatory writers and provides a variety of educational opportunities in this field, including several regulatory medical writing courses.
- Grant Writing: Many companies, such as nonprofits, CME providers, and health organizations, among others, need people to write grants so that they can secure the funding to produce certain programs or carry out certain initiatives. If this is a field that interests you and you want to learn more about how to break into it, there are many online courses that can help, such as these by Ed2Go.
Medical writing provides limitless opportunities and offers tremendous flexibility, as the work is varied and can be done from virtually anywhere with an Internet connection, making it a great field for physicians and other healthcare providers to explore.