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Becoming a medical writer can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. We’ve rounded up our 10 favorite online medical writing courses to help you get ahead in your career.
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Most of you know about our medical resources page (if you didn’t, now you do). However, today I thought I would go a little deeper into the additional education related to medical writing that many newbies seem to be looking for. Are these courses necessary for medical writing? No it isn’t. Are they helpful to other people who are new to the field? Of course.
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Writers with a science background who may not be doctors who want to get into medical writing can benefit from taking online medical writing courses. Healthcare workers who are not confident in their writing or English skills may benefit from a course that focuses on those areas, as they may already have the ‘medical’ component down.
Professionals with good written comprehension, clear communication styles, and a love of writing probably don’t need any of these courses – maybe just a pep talk to make sure you’re more than qualified. However, additional certificates or certifications may be required for certain types of medical writing.
Sounds expensive, huh? The good news is that most of these online medical writing courses cost less than $100 to take and get certified. Most are also available for free download if you don’t need a certificate and are just interested in the information.
Feel like they’re taking too long? No! Most of these can be completed in 10 to 20 hours. That’s not to say there aren’t serious medical writing courses online, because there are. For example, the University of Chicago medical writing and editing course below takes between 9 months and 3 years to complete.
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Without further ado, here are our top picks for the most useful medical writing courses you can find online. Click any of the links below to jump to a specific lesson.
Offered on the Coursera platform, the full course is available to study for free or as a certificate program for a small fee ($79 as of this article’s publication). These are marketed as beginner courses, so choose accordingly.
Learn the terminology and reporting principles for different types of clinical trials, and their design methods, such as randomization and treatment blinding. This course also includes clinical trial analysis and interpretation, which is where I would say the ‘medical writing’ piece comes from.
Like most courses on Coursera, this one can be researched for free. However, it seems that you will have partial access to the features in the test mode. The certificate only costs $49, so it’s worth it if you sign up. You can also start research as a test drive and buy the certificate option later if you want to decide that way.
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This is another ‘beginner level’ medical writing course, but it seems useful, even for people who don’t consider themselves beginners. This course is a clinical communication program, as it combines oral and written presentations to diverse audiences in the healthcare industry.
I would say that doctors who are looking to transfer to another area of medical writing or communication will benefit greatly from this course. It’s available for a free trial with all learning materials except limited sections, or a $49 confirmation.
To me, this course seems aimed at people without a clinical background. Focuses on research design, statistical interpretation, and fraud in clinical research. I personally have a good amount of PA school, and I have friends with other health professionals on Facebook. I also think that everyone on the forum talking about medicine is automatically wrong.
This lesson is a little different from the previous ones. You may have noticed that it takes months to complete rather than hours. This is because it seems to be aimed at preparing students for a new job (or career) entirely.
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You will learn how to improve patient safety from a systems perspective by studying specific ways to improve the health care system. This can be a pathway to a non-clinical role as a practicing physician or other health professional. Site associate and fellow PA, Courtney Titus from Empowered PAs, works largely non-clinically in a quality improvement role in addition to maintaining some clinical hours in the pediatric emergency department.
However, I mention all that because this course does not have a free research option. It is a real responsibility. The first seven days are free, followed by $49 per month until you complete the course. Over an estimated eight months, that’s about $400 total. Well, if you’re running fast or slow, you’ll need to adjust your budget accordingly.
The University of Chicago’s Distance Medical Writing and Editing Certificate program is the most respected and comprehensive course on this list. It is also very expensive, but more on that later. The curriculum is made up of five core subjects and one elective.
There is also a special track in freelancing for those who are interested in setting up their own medical communication shop. If you choose this track, it is an eight-week program.
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Members of certain professional associations are eligible for a 10% discount with proof of current membership. This includes the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA), which I recommend all medical writers and aspiring MWs to join. I would like to contact UChicago before enrolling if you want a discount as the regulations don’t make it clear to me that this course is really worth it.
Speaking of AMWA, they also offer doctoral writing courses. The most affordable are their Essential Skills courses. It covers topics such as basic grammar, punctuation and style, sentence structure, and medical terminology.
This medical writing course also teaches skills to develop, interpret, and communicate medical information using data visualization techniques such as tables, graphs, and figures. Once completed, you will be given a certificate.
The digital package is $850 ($1,235 for non-members) and the print edition will run $975 ($1,275 for non-members). There is also a useful basic grammar and quick reference guide available as a free download on the course summary page.
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Dr. Nichols is a well-known name in the world of medical writing. In this course, it gives you an honest idea of what to expect if you decide to become a medical writer. It doesn’t focus too much on the technical side of things and is a useful guide for those considering a career change.
Although not about technical medical writing, there are practical sections covering types of medical writing, steps you need to take to get into medical writing, how to make the transition, and what tools and software you’ll need.
The subscription fee is listed at $19.99, but there are regular sales of up to 25% off. Either way, it’s a great thing. You’ll have lifetime access to features, including 2 downloadable services (and a 30-day money-back guarantee).
A Medical Writing Course for Health Professionals is a good place to start if you really want to become a medical writer. It covers the basics of the profession itself (technical writing) and the important business and legal considerations of medical writers.
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Participants learn how to get a job as a medical writer, pitching to clients, and business skills you’ll need to know. In addition, the course covers how to write CME/CE requirements tests, presentations, monographs, and regulatory medical writing skills.
The regular price is $39.99, but it has regular discounts of up to 50%. It comes with 4 hours of on-demand video, 8 articles, 7 downloadable materials, assignments, and a certificate of completion.
Note: Udemy (which hosts two online medical writing courses) also has many (thousands) of medical writing related courses if you want to check them out.
From my favorite local school, to a nationally recognized medical school, this course serves as a foundation to help people plan their medical career. Generally, that means students (in college or high school) who are exploring their career paths in the health care industry, including medical and non-medical roles.
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Take the full course (without the certificate) for free or sign up for the paid version, which comes with a $49 certificate on Coursera.
We’ve created a page that includes our medical writing resources, from academics to publications and professional organizations. And don’t forget to check out our articles on getting into medical writing and steps to succeed as a medical writer.
If you are struggling with an insurance denial and need to learn how to win peer review cases, we are here to help. Many experienced doctors have had to deal with this from time to time, and many have a winning strategy that works for them.
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