Science and Medical Writers


Education and Training Requirements

High School

If you are considering a career as a writer, you should take English, journalism, and communication courses in high school. Computer classes will also be helpful. If you know in high school that you want to do scientific or medical writing, it would be to your advantage to take biology, physiology, chemistry, physics, math, health, psychology, and other science-related courses. If your school offers journalism courses and you have the chance to work on the school newspaper or yearbook, you should take advantage of these opportunities. Part-time employment at health care facilities, newspapers, publishing companies, or scientific research facilities can also provide experience and insight regarding this career. Volunteer opportunities are also available in hospitals and nursing homes.

Postsecondary Training

Although not all writers are college-educated, today's jobs almost always require a bachelor's degree. Many writers earn an undergraduate degree in English, journalism, or liberal arts and then obtain a master's degree in a communications field such as medical or science writing. A good liberal arts education is important since you are often required to write about many subject areas. Science and medical-related courses are highly recommended. You should investigate internship programs that give you experience in the communications department of a corporation, medical institution, or research facility. Some newspapers, magazines, or public relations firms also have internships that give you the opportunity to write.

Some people find that after working as a writer, their interests are strong in the medical or science fields and they evolve into that writing specialty. They may return to school and enter a master's degree program or take some additional courses related specifically to science and medical writing. Similarly, science majors or people in the medical fields may find that they like the writing aspect of their jobs and return to school to pursue a career as a medical or science writer.


In conjunction with the Medical Writing Certification Commission (MWCC), the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) offers the Medical Writer Certified (MWC) credential. The related exam-based program is rigorous.

Other Education or Training

The American Medical Writers Association provides self-study workshops on ethics, medical terminology, basic grammar and usage, punctuation, statistics, and other topics. The Society of Professional Journalists offers training on-demand videos, workshops, conference seminars, and other learning opportunities. Topics include editing, writing, new media ethics, interviewing, social media, and technology.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Certification, while not mandatory, is available from various organizations and institutions. The American Medical Writers Association provides voluntary certification to medical writers.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Any experience volunteering as a writer will be useful for those wishing to enter the field. Contact organizations that require the skills of writers.

If you are considering a career as a medical or science writer, you should enjoy writing, be able to write well, and be able to express your ideas and those of others clearly. You should have an excellent knowledge of the English language and have superb grammar and spelling skills. You should be skilled in research techniques and be computer literate and familiar with software programs related to writing and publishing. You should be curious, enjoy learning about new things, and have an interest in science or medicine. You need to be detail-oriented since many of your writing assignments will require that you obtain and relay accurate and detailed information. Interpersonal skills are also important because many jobs require that you interact with and interview scientists, engineers, researchers, and medical personnel. You must be able to meet deadlines and work under pressure.