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Become A Senior Medical Writer

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Working As A Senior Medical Writer

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $105,162

    Average Salary

What Does A Senior Medical Writer Do

Technical writers, also called technical communicators, prepare instruction manuals, how-to guides, journal articles, and other supporting documents to communicate complex and technical information more easily. They also develop, gather, and disseminate technical information through an organization’s communications channels.

Duties

Technical writers typically do the following:

  • Determine the needs of users of technical documentation
  • Study product samples and talk with product designers and developers
  • Work with technical staff to make products easier to use and thus require fewer instructions
  • Organize and write supporting content for products
  • Use photographs, drawings, diagrams, animation, and charts that increase users’ understanding
  • Select appropriate medium for message or audience, such as manuals or online videos
  • Standardize content across platforms and media
  • Gather user feedback to update and improve content
  • Revise content as new issues arise

Technical writers create paper-based and digital operating instructions, how-to manuals, assembly instructions, and “frequently asked questions” pages to help technical support staff, consumers, and other users within a company or an industry. After a product is released, technical writers also may work with product liability specialists and customer-service managers to improve the end-user experience through product design changes.

Technical writers often work with computer hardware engineers, scientists, computer support specialists, and software developers to manage the flow of information among project workgroups during development and testing. Therefore, technical writers must be able to understand complex information and communicate the information to people with diverse professional backgrounds.

Applying their knowledge of the user of the product, technical writers may serve as part of a team conducting usability studies to help improve the design of a product that is in the prototype stage. Technical writers may conduct research on their topics through personal observation, library and Internet research, and discussions with technical specialists.

Technical writers are also responsible for managing the consistency of technical content and its use across business departments including product development, manufacturing, marketing, and customer relations.

Some technical writers help write grant proposals for research scientists and institutions.

Increasingly, technical information is being delivered online and through social media. Technical writers are using the interactive technologies of the Web and social media to blend text, graphics, multidimensional images, sound, and video.

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How To Become A Senior Medical Writer

A college degree is usually required for a position as a technical writer. In addition, experience with a technical subject, such as computer science, Web design, or engineering, is important.

Education

Employers generally prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, English, or communications. Many technical writing jobs require both a degree and knowledge in a specialized field, such as engineering, computer science, or medicine. Web design experience also is helpful because of the growing use of online technical documentation.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Some technical writers begin their careers as specialists or research assistants in a technical field. They eventually develop technical communication skills and assume primary responsibilities for technical writing. In small firms, beginning technical writers may work on projects right away; in larger companies with more standard procedures, beginners may observe experienced technical writers and interact with specialists before being assigned projects.

Training

Many technical writers need short-term on-the-job training to adapt to a different style of writing.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Some associations, including the Society for Technical Communication, offer certification for technical writers. In addition, the American Medical Writers Association offers extensive continuing education programs and certificates in medical writing. These certificates are available to professionals in the medical and allied scientific communication fields.

Although not mandatory, certification can demonstrate competence and professionalism, making candidates more attractive to employers. It can also increase a technical writer’s opportunities for advancement.

Advancement

Prospects for advancement generally include working on more complex projects and leading or training junior staff. Some technical writers become self-employed and produce work on a freelance basis.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Technical writers must be able to take complex, technical information and translate it for colleagues and consumers who have nontechnical backgrounds.

Detail oriented. Technical writers create detailed instructions for others to follow. As a result, they must be detailed and precise at every step so that the instructions can be useful.

Imagination. Technical writers must be able to think about a procedure or product in the way a person without technical experience would think about it.

Teamwork. Technical writers must be able to work well with others. They are almost always part of a team: with other writers; with designers, editors, and illustrators; and with the technical people whose information they are explaining.

Technical skills. Technical writers must be able to understand highly complex information. Many technical writers need a background in engineering or computer science in order to do this.

Writing skills. Technical communicators must have excellent writing skills to be able to explain technical information clearly.

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Senior Medical Writer Demographics

Gender

Female

58.3%

Male

40.9%

Unknown

0.8%
Ethnicity

White

60.6%

Hispanic or Latino

15.4%

Black or African American

10.2%

Asian

9.1%

Unknown

4.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

27.3%

Japanese

13.6%

French

13.6%

Hindi

9.1%

Portuguese

4.5%

Ukrainian

4.5%

Greek

4.5%

Russian

4.5%

Urdu

4.5%

Thai

4.5%

Korean

4.5%

Italian

4.5%
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Senior Medical Writer Education

Schools

University of Connecticut

9.6%

New York University

9.6%

Wayne State University

7.7%

University of the Sciences

7.7%

University of Rochester

5.8%

Florida Institute of Technology-Melbourne

5.8%

Avtech Institute of Technology

3.8%

University of Massachusetts - Boston

3.8%

University of Washington

3.8%

Saint John's University - New York

3.8%

Temple University

3.8%

Creighton University

3.8%

Boston University

3.8%

University of Nebraska Medical Center

3.8%

National University

3.8%

State University of New York Buffalo

3.8%

University of New Hampshire

3.8%

Rochester Institute of Technology

3.8%

Towson University

3.8%

Samuel Merritt University

3.8%
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Majors

Nursing

19.4%

Biology

9.0%

Pharmacy

8.3%

Writing

6.3%

English

6.3%

Public Health

4.9%

Business

4.9%

Physiology And Anatomy

4.2%

Public Relations

4.2%

Pharmacology

4.2%

Microbiology

3.5%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

3.5%

Journalism

3.5%

Psychology

2.8%

Food And Nutrition

2.8%

Marketing

2.8%

Biomedical Sciences

2.8%

Communication

2.8%

Medical Technician

2.1%

Medicine

2.1%
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Degrees

Masters

32.4%

Bachelors

21.2%

Doctorate

21.2%

Other

14.9%

Certificate

6.3%

Associate

3.6%

License

0.5%
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Real Senior Medical Writer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Senior Manager, Associate Director, Medical Writer Ariad Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Cambridge, MA Apr 12, 2010 $170,000
Senior Medical Writer, RMW, IIS Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation East Hanover, NJ Apr 08, 2016 $122,370
Senior Medical Writer, RMW, IIS Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation East Hanover, NJ Jun 09, 2016 $122,370
SR. Medical Writer Medtronic, Inc. Santa Rosa, CA Sep 09, 2016 $119,454
SR. Medical Writer Medtronic, Inc. Santa Rosa, CA Sep 19, 2016 $119,454
Senior Medical Writer Biogen IDEC, Inc. Cambridge, MA Dec 03, 2012 $110,000
Medical Writer Senior Manager Amgen Inc. Thousand Oaks, CA Sep 08, 2010 $109,374
Senior Medical Writer Biogen IDEC Inc. Cambridge, MA Oct 01, 2009 $109,262
Senior Medical Writer, RMW, IIS Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation East Hanover, NJ Mar 08, 2016 $108,989
Senior Medical Writer, RMW, IIS Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation East Hanover, NJ Aug 08, 2015 $108,989
Senior Medical Writer, RMW, IIS Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation East Hanover, NJ Aug 12, 2015 $108,989
Senior Medical Writer Envision Pharma, Inc. Southport, CT Aug 21, 2009 $105,000
Senior Medical Writer Imclone Systems Corporation Bridgewater, NJ Jun 13, 2011 $100,008
Senior Medical Writer Techdata Service Company, LLC. King of Prussia, PA Apr 30, 2012 $100,000
Senior Medical Writer Envision Pharma, Inc. Baltimore, MD Jan 10, 2015 $92,165
Senior Medical Writer BGB Communications, LLC New York, NY Jun 23, 2015 $90,000
Senior Medical Writer Clinicalthinking, Inc. Hamilton, NJ Jan 09, 2016 $87,200
Senior Medical Writer Oncogenex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Bothell, WA Sep 03, 2015 $85,000 -
$110,000
Senior Medical Writer BGB Communications, LLC New York, NY Jun 28, 2016 $80,000

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Top Skills for A Senior Medical Writer

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  1. Regulatory Documents
  2. Clinical Study Reports
  3. Therapeutic Areas
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Developed templates, standard operating procedures, and guidance documents on writing protocols and other regulatory documents.
  • Involved in interpretation of clinical research data analyses and writing of clinical study reports for biotechnology and multinational pharmaceutical companies.
  • Drafted medical letters for a variety of clients for several pharmaceutical products and therapeutic areas.
  • Prepared the IND document for FDA filing.
  • Reviewed literature searches and selected pertinent primary source documents for inclusion into standard medical letters.

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Top 10 Best States for Senior Medical Writers

  1. Massachusetts
  2. Washington
  3. California
  4. Virginia
  5. District of Columbia
  6. North Carolina
  7. Georgia
  8. New Jersey
  9. Maryland
  10. Colorado
  • (169 jobs)
  • (105 jobs)
  • (671 jobs)
  • (264 jobs)
  • (84 jobs)
  • (120 jobs)
  • (113 jobs)
  • (95 jobs)
  • (165 jobs)
  • (63 jobs)

Top Senior Medical Writer Employers

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