Medical Communications Careers: Job Options and Requirements

Medical communications has applications in a variety of career areas. Continue reading for an overview of potential degree requirements as well as career and salary info related to some job options for graduates.

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Technical writers, public relations specialists, and marketing managers are all medical communication professionals. They are required to have a bachelor's degree in a relevant field, such as journalism.

Essential Information

Medical communicators present medical and health information to different audiences. Most medical communicators digest complex medical information and prepare it in understandable language for a lay audience. Others might communicate research information to a scientific audience. Depending on the medical communications career they wish to pursue, students might earn a degree in science, communications, business or advertising.

Career Title Technical Writer Public Relations Specialist Marketing Manager
Education Requirements Bachelor's degree in communications, English or journalism; some jobs also require knowledge of a scientific field, like engineering, medicine or pharmacy Bachelor's degree in public relations, journalism, business or a related field Bachelor's degree in marketing or bachelor's degree in journalism or advertising with marketing and market research classes
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 10% 6% 9%
Median Annual Salary (May 2015)* $70,240 $56,770 $128,750

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Options

Medical communicators include public relations and multimedia specialists, writers, editors, journalists, researchers and managers. They might work as freelancers or for a variety of employers, such as pharmacy companies, university medical communications offices, government entities, hospitals and medical publishers.

Medical communicators might write or edit journal articles, brochures or Web content. They also might author texts, prepare regulatory documents, write grant proposals, make oral presentations or create videos and CDs. Some communicators specialize in research. Keep reading for brief overviews of three careers in medical communications.

Technical Writers

Technical writers compile the technical information necessary to develop journal articles, assembly instructions and how-to manuals. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for all technical writers was $70,240 in May 2015. The lowest-earning ten percent of technical writers earned $41,610 at that time, while the highest-earning ten percent earned $112,220.

Medical communications is a growing field. According to the BLS, technical writers were expected to have 10% job growth from 2014 to 2024. Prospects could be particularly good for those with strong communications skills and scientific knowledge.

Public Relations Specialists

Public relations (PR) specialists help create positive public images for corporations and individuals. They prepare press releases and teach their clients to better communicate with their audiences or the general public.

Employment of PR specialists was expected to increase by 6% from 2014 through 2024. The median annual salary for these professionals was $56,770 as of May 2015.

Marketing Managers

These specialists plan and prepare advertising and promotional campaigns for television, radio and online media to bring greater awareness to a product or service. They typically need several years of marketing experience to advance to a managerial role.

The BLS predicted employment growth of about 9% for marketing managers through the 2014 to 2024 decade. In May 2015, the median annual earnings for marketing managers was $128,750.

Requirements

Medical communicators typically need to have considerable knowledge of science and medicine, as well as written and oral communications skills. Thus, they might pursue education in both the sciences, such as biology or nursing, and communications, English or journalism.

Additionally, medical communicators need to be detailed-oriented and organized, as well as able to simplify complex ideas. They should be adept at performing literature searches and learning new software.

Employers of medical communications professionals include the government, medical publishers, pharmacies and hospitals. Medical communications professionals include marketing managers, technical writers, and public relations specialists. These professionals are responsible for communicating medical information through websites, pamphlets, brochures and visual mediums such as CDs and videos.

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