May/June 2023 Sponsored Content

Medical and Healthcare Writing offers a lucrative pathway for technical communicators

Purdue University’s innovative graduate certificate helps prepare professionals for the growing medical writing field.

Purdue Medical and Technical Writing

When most people think about jobs in the healthcare industry, they think about client-facing roles – doctors, nurses, administrative staff and other essential medical personnel. But beyond the scrubs and lab coats are professionals whose roles, though less visible, are critical to the success of healthcare organizations. Medical and healthcare writers are one such example.

Considered a subfield of technical writing, medical and healthcare writers make hard-to-understand medical information accessible to a variety of audiences. From writing the informational pamphlets that come with drug prescriptions to preparing the grant applications that sustain research facilities, healthcare writers play an essential role in the functioning and success of our medical system.

Because medical and healthcare writers are so essential, the demand for these skills has increased. Being a successful medical and healthcare writer requires specialized training in writing, composition, medicine and science. Many healthcare writers have degrees beyond a bachelor’s majoring in writing or a scientific discipline; and often, medical and healthcare writing jobs require graduate training.

To help meet the need for skilled medical and healthcare writers, Purdue University is offering a new online Medical and Healthcare Writing Graduate Certificate. The program consists of three fully online courses, all taught by Richard Johnson-Sheehan, Ph.D., a nationally known expert in scientific, technical, medical and healthcare writing.

Medical and Healthcare Writing: A Lucrative and Growing Industry

Though medical and healthcare writing has always been a vital component of the healthcare industry, the field has experienced accelerated growth recently. The continued aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic has created job growth in many healthcare roles, including in the medical and healthcare writing field. New tests, drugs and treatments for COVID-19 have increased demand for medical writers who create instruction manuals explaining how patients should use emerging tests and treatments. Medical grant writers are also in demand due to a large amount of research being conducted on COVID-19 and variant diseases.

According to the Society for Technical Communication 2021 salary survey, the largest number of job gains for technical writers in 2020 were seen in (1) scientific research and development services with 8.7 percent growth and (2) research and development in the physical, engineering and life sciences with a 7.9 percent increase. Both of these leading growth fields benefit from medical and healthcare writing expertise.

Demand for medical and healthcare writers is also on the rise in the medical regulatory compliance industry. Medical writers prepare written documentation for patents, regulatory documents and grants – particularly in the biopharmaceutical industry, where the need for expertise in regulatory frameworks and patent-writing is high. Due to the need for specialized scientific knowledge, medical and healthcare writers can expect to earn higher wages than other technical writers.

According to an American Medical Writers Association salary survey, the median annual salary for medical writers was $144,500 in 2019. Comparatively, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual salary for all technical writers is $78,060. This makes medical and healthcare writing one of the most lucrative subfields of technical writing.

Medical and healthcare writers work within many industries – from pharmaceuticals to medical research and grant writing, to government and public health agencies. The day-to-day job responsibilities of medical and healthcare writers include conducting interviews with physicians and medical researchers, doing independent research on medical technologies and products, creating drafts of grants and other writing projects, and editing and formatting medical information. Medical and healthcare writing is a great career option for people who enjoy being creative but are also interested in scientific research and development.

Purdue University: Innovating in the Healthcare Writing Field

Purdue’s new Graduate Certificate in Medical and Healthcare Writing offers professionals a high-quality, immersive, and fast-paced upskilling opportunity that can help them succeed in the medical and healthcare writing industry. The certificate’s three fully online courses cover important skills essential to healthcare writing, including proposal and grant writing. Each course runs for eight weeks.

The weekly commitment per class is approximately five hours a week, making this certificate a great option for those seeking a quick and convenient way to earn a credential. Courses begin in August, January and March.

To learn more about the Medical and Healthcare Writing Graduate Certificate, please visit the program’s webpage.