Many organizations have their own set of requirements and expectations when hiring for medical writing positions. Some of them expect candidates to have a degree in science such as biology, biochemistry, physiology, pharmacy or chemistry while others may only hire candidates with a PhD. Although companies have preferences, many medical writers have also entered this domain based on their background in language such as English, rather than science. It is not mandatory to have a medical background if you wish to become a medical writer, however possessing basic knowledge of medical terminology is a plus point. Having undertaken a medical writing training program also goes a low way to demonstrate formal training and commitment to this career. Similarly, possessing knowledge about the basics of disease, disease process and common treatments prescribed is an advantage. Having said that, all these things can be learnt by anyone as they start working on a particular medical writing project. Some things you already know and some come with experience.
Companies generally provide different kinds of medical writing services and the hiring process depends on which type of service they are hiring for. In most instances, a writing test is conducted as a part of the interview process which gives the company a sense of what the candidate is all about. Thus, possessing excellent writing skills with good command of the language as well as word processing skills are a must.
It is of importance to note that medical writers seldom work in isolation. Most of the times, medical and scientific writers are a part of large cross functional teams who need to communicate with each other. These teams may be within the medical writers organisation or even people from outside of the company. To become a good medical writer and to gain respect in your organisation, possessing good inter-personal skills is a must. You should be a pleasing person to interact with in addition to being an effective communicator.
As a medical and scientific writer you must possess an eye for detail. This is important for identifying errors and to notice important points in complex and lengthy research data.