Comparing Medical Writers Salary: Freelance vs Full-Time

With a reported average annual wage of around $71,238, medical writing is a lucrative profession in high demand. This article decodes the pay scale for medical writers, discussing factors like experience, skill level, location and more.

Key Takeaways of Medical Writer Salary

  • Medical writers can earn an average wage of about $71,238 each year in the U.S. Their pay depends on location, job area and how long they’ve been doing the job.
  • To become a medical writer, you need to study science at school. Later, get a degree from college. You also need to read guides on medical writing and take special classes for it.
  • You can find work as a medical writer at many places. Some of these are hospitals, drug firms and health insurance companies.
  • Big drug firms offer high pay to their medical writers. However, how much you make can change depending on your skills and where you live.

What is a Medical Writer?

A medical writer puts words to work in the health field. They use their knowledge of medicine and writing skills together. They make hard facts easy for others to understand. A lot of times, they write about research done by doctors.

This includes papers and reports on new medicines or treatments. Medical writers also help with scientific editing and publication planning. Their job is key in sharing information with doctors, patients, and even drug companies. It’s not just writing. Medical writers must also know how to read complex data like test results.

This helps them tell a clear story about what the numbers mean.

Steps to Become a Medical Writer

To become a medical writer, an individual needs to follow certain steps. First, choose a relevant educational path that includes coursework in biology, chemistry or other life sciences. Next, earn a college degree in one of these fields, specialized courses can further enhance understanding and skills. Reading medical writing guides is essential for grasping the nuances of the profession.

Building a portfolio by developing samples or contributing to small projects will significantly improve job prospects. Joining professional associations provides networking opportunities with other medical writers and professionals in related industries. Lastly, continually expanding expertise through continued learning and experience can open doors to more lucrative and challenging job opportunities in this field.

Choose a relevant educational path

Take a science path in school to be a medical writer. Biology or health classes are good. A writing class is also helpful. This can start you on the path to being a medical writer. Some people plan even more for this job. They may get a degree in life sciences at college, such as biology or chemistry degrees. Getting certified in medical writing can help too, just like networking with professionals in this field.

Earn a college degree

A college degree is needed to be a medical writer. This can be in science, English or any field related to medicine. A university education gives the skills and knowledge needed for this job. It helps you know about health and how to write well. Doctors who need to hire writers should look for those with good academic training. They should have a bachelor’s degree or higher level of postsecondary education.

Take specialized courses

Taking special courses is very helpful. These are classes about specific parts of the medical field. They teach deep knowledge on these topics. For example, some courses focus on how to write about drugs or diseases. Others can teach you how to describe complex medical terms in simple words. To become a great medical writer, sign up for such programs. Also take part in workshops that aim at honing your skills in this area further.

Read medical writing guides

Reading medical writing guides is key. These guides have all the rules for how to write well in medicine. They help you understand hard words and ideas. This makes your writing work better. You can find many of these guides online for free. It’s good to keep them nearby when you are working on a project or learning new things.

Build a portfolio

Building a portfolio is a big step for any medical writer. This collection shows off your writing skills to those who might hire you. It’s like a window that lets others see what you can do.

A good portfolio has many types of writing in it. This shows how much you know and how well you explain things.

Your portfolio should be easy on the eyes, too. Clean and neat pages make it easier for people to focus on your work. Add reviews or kind words from past clients if possible, this adds trust points to your name. Plus, don’t forget to show off your knowledge in different areas of health care or therapy in your examples.

Also interacting with other authors will help grow both skill and network which brings more job chances.

Join professional associations

Being part of a professional group is key for a medical writer. These groups offer chances to meet others in the same line of work. They also give useful tools to help you do your job better.

Joining can make it easier to find good jobs and make people trust you more as a writer. This step can boost your skills, connect you with others, and help grow your career.

Network with other medical writers

Making friends with other medical writers is a good move. It opens doors to new learning and job chances. Being part of this group means you can share ideas, get help when stuck, and find tips for writing better.

You might also know about jobs before others do through these ties. This step could boost your career in ways you cannot think of by yourself.

Expand expertise

To be a top medical writer, you must grow your knowledge. The field of medicine changes often. New diseases are found. Also, new ways to treat old diseases come up. So it’s not enough to learn once and stop there.

You should read new books about health often and take more courses when you can. This will make you always ready for any job that comes your way as a medical writer.

Work Environments for Medical Writers

Medical writers work in a range of places. Here are some common work settings:.

1. Hospitals and clinics: Many medical writers work in health care settings.

2. Research labs: They write about new studies and findings.

3. Drug companies: These firms need writers to explain their products.

4. Health insurance firms: Writers here help with policy papers and guides.

5. Government groups: They might hire writers to make public health messages clear.

6. Non-profits: Groups that fight disease often have writing jobs too.

These are just a few places where you can find medical writing jobs.

Average Salary for Medical Writers

Medical writers command a substantial salary in the United States reflecting the importance and complexity of their work. Here are some key facts healthcare and medical providers or professionals should know before hiring a medical writer:

1. A medical writer’s average base salary in the US is $40.07 per hour, which is significantly higher than most professions.

2. According to an industry survey, the salary for a Medical Writer I ranges from $57,807 to $77,194, with an average base salary of $69,520.

3. The total cash compensation for a Medical Writer I includes more than just their base salary, which adds additional value to the role.

4. Projections show that the average salary for a medical writer in 2023 will be $80,653, indicating a growing demand for this profession.

5. As of now, the average annual salary for a medical writer in the United States is $71,238, showcasing the lucrative nature of this profession.

6. Medical writers can also earn higher salaries in certain industries or locations, according to ZipRecruiter, medical writers have an average annual salary of $102,603, with a salary range between $43,000 and $164,000.

Job Outlook for Medical Writers

The job market for medical writers is in good shape. The growth rate for these careers is higher than most other jobs. This means more opportunities will open up over time. With a 4 percent projected increase, job seekers can expect a bright future.

This field is not slowing down. There is always a need for people who can understand and explain medical terms. As new health issues come up, so does the demand for skilled medical writers.

Factors Affecting Medical Writer Salaries

Various factors influence the salaries of medical writers, including geographical location, industry sector, and individual experience and education level.


The place where you work can change how much money you get. The salary data shows that medical writers in big cities often earn more than those in small towns. For example, a medical writer making an average salary could see a rise if they move to a city with lots of healthcare companies.

However, the job’s location does not always impact pay rates. Some jobs may offer the same pay no matter where they are. These facts show that it’s important to think about location when looking at a medical writer’s compensation.


The kind of work an individual does can impact a medical writer’s pay. Some may find jobs in the biotechnology industry, while others might pick pharmaceuticals or healthcare. The type of writing is also important.

Medical writers can craft for clinical trials, regulatory matters or scientific findings. Ones working on medical research have different tasks from those writing about patient care.

Also, being part of medical publications brings its own set of rules and rewards. This wide variety makes the industry factor crucial to the paycheck one brings home as a medical writer.

Experience and education

In the world of medical writing, both experience and education matter. The more years a person has worked as a medical writer, the higher the pay can be. Expertise on specific health topics can also lead to bigger salaries.

Higher levels of schooling often mean better pay too. For example, writers with a Ph.D. usually earn more than those with only a Bachelor’s degree. So, if you want to hire someone who knows their stuff and has proven skills, it might cost you a bit more money.

Top Paying Companies for Medical Writers

Major pharmaceutical companies are known to offer high salaries to medical writers. Firms in competitive industries recognize the value of these professionals, with their specialized knowledge and skills, and compensate them generously.

However, it is important to note that salaries can vary depending on your level of experience, location, and specific role. The upper echelon of medical writers, especially those working for major pharmaceutical manufacturers, can earn up to $223,994 per year.

Medical writing is a versatile and rewarding career in the healthcare sector. It shares commonalities with other professions, which also offer competitive salaries. Below is a table outlining related professions and their respective average salaries.

Related Profession Average Salary Medical Editor$70,000 per year. Scientific Writer $80,000 per year Pharmaceutical, Writer$85,000 per year, Biomedical Writer$75,000 per year, Healthcare Content Writer$60,000 per year, Senior Medical Writer $99,453 per year, Program Directors in Medical Writing $80,664 per year, Medical Director Varies.

The figures highlighted showcase the versatility and profitability within the medical writing professions. Depending on the specific sector and level of expertise, the salary can vary. This presents a clear opportunity for professionals who want to further their career in this field. As the demand for expertly crafted medical content continues to rise, the salary range for medical writers and related professions is likewise expected to increase.

Additional Factors Influencing Medical Writer Salaries

The American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) provides key resources and networking opportunities for freelance medical writers and senior medical writers alike. Beyond experience level, various other factors like education and location impact medical writer salaries.

Medical education and advanced degrees in scientific or technical writing significantly boost earning potential. Candidates with PhDs or master’s degrees tend to command higher pay compared to those with only bachelor’s degrees. Clinical research and medical devices demand advanced expertise and technical writing skills.

Highest paying cities like San Francisco offer abundant jobs and higher salaries for medical writers. Location greatly influences pay scales based on factors like cost of living and concentration of pharmaceutical/healthcare companies.

Specific medical writer job titles also influence pay. Senior medical writers with 5-10 years of experience earn more than entry level counterparts. According to Labor Statistics data, the 75th percentile of medical writers makes $102,000 annually.

Subject matter expertise in niche medical topics has monetary value. Medical writers well-versed in safety data reporting or related fields like journalism fetch higher packages from employers. Tailoring your skills to high-demand medical writing domains is rewarded.

Overall, pay is commensurate with credentials and experience. Seasoned medical writers have higher paid positions and employer demand due to their robust expertise across diverse medical communication aspects. Honing your skills and targeting the right opportunities elevates your salary over time.

Frequently Asked Questions about Medical Writer Salary

1. What is the Average Salary of a Medical Writer?

The pay for a medical writer can vary, but on average, they make between $60,000 to over $100,000 per year.

2. Do all Medical Writers Earn the Same Money?

No, the amount of money a medical writer earns can depend on their experience, skills, and where they work.

3. Can I Expect My Pay to Go Up as I Gain More Experience as a Medical Writer?

Yes, as you gain more skills and experience in your job as a medical writer your pay may increase.

4. How does being Specialized Affect my Salary as a Medical Writer?

Specialized knowledge or expertise in any specific area of medicine often means higher pay for Medical Writers.

5. Is There Good Future Demand for Jobs in Medical Writing?

Yes, with the growing healthcare services and research sector there is expected to be strong demand for skilled professionals such as Medical Writers.

Conclusion and Summary of Comparing Medical Writers Salary: Freelance vs Full-Time

Being a medical writer is a rewarding job. They earn good money and help people. The pay changes based on where you live and how much skill you have. In the future, we will need more of these writers, so it’s a great career to think about.

This article provides an in-depth look at the average medical writer salary and job outlook. The data indicates that medical writers command competitive wages, with average pay exceeding $70,000 annually in the US.

Location, experience, education, and specialty influence the wide salary range – from $50,000 for entry roles to over $200,000 for seasoned writers. Major pharmaceutical and healthcare companies offer the highest paying positions.

With strong industry growth projected, the future looks bright for aspiring medical writers. Opportunities abound in diverse settings like hospitals, research labs, insurance firms etc. Developing a strong portfolio and targeting high demand skills boosts employability and earning potential.

Overall, a career as a medical writer promises intellectual rigor, meaningful impact and financial stability. Passion for science and communication, backed by the right qualifications and strategy, is a recipe for success. For skilled professionals who enjoy the synthesis of medicine and writing, this profession offers a wealth of prospects.

Marty Stewart