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All About Freelance Health and Medical Writing Jobs

If healthcare and medicine interest you, you’ll probably enjoy freelance health and medical writing. Even if you’re not versed in technical jargon, you can still find a place for yourself in the industry.

If you do have the technical background, you might be an excellent writer for pharmaceutical companies or an editor for medical journals. Otherwise, expect to find freelance jobs writing for magazines or websites about health, or in the health sections of newspapers.

Health and medical writers without backgrounds need to be excellent researchers. Look online or – better yet – go to a university library to update yourself on what’s going on in the medical world the public finds interesting. Has there been a recent vaccination controversy? Is there a new exercise trend on the horizon? Do energy bars really work? The answers to those questions appeal to people interested in health and wellness. If you can find the answers, you’ll have a sellable article.

Do I need experience to be a health or medical writer?

Do you need proof that you’ve written these types of articles for others? Yes, almost always.

Do you also need proof that you got paid for what you wrote as a health or medical writer? Nope, absolutely not.

If you don’t have the “almighty portfolio,” never fear. Write a few health/wellness articles and send them to your community newsletter, those free city newspapers, hospitals, nursing homes, medical clinics, etc. You won’t get paid, but editors will likely publish good articles.

Medical and health writers demand experience because you’re working in a specialized area. However, two or three published articles are usually enough to get your first paid job. It’ll just keep getting easier from there.

How do I find these jobs?

Once you have a few writing samples, it’s time to start sending query letters. A query letter introduces you and your idea to an editor. Here are a few tips to write a compelling query letter:

1. Know your editors. Read their magazines so you get a good feel for what articles editors may be looking for.

2. Always introduce your idea before you introduce yourself. You can impress editors by original ideas, not by resumes. Editors won’t glance at those clips you painstakingly collected if the editor doesn’t like your idea.

3. Focus on why an editor should publish your article. Yes, you need to tell the editor what you plan to write about — your main goal is to sell the editor on the notion the magazine’s readership will find your article interesting.

You may also want to approach editors of online health and medical sites, such as,, and Again, make sure the nature of your article matches the content they publish.

Finally, try looking for ads on websites. usually has about a dozen ads for health or medical writers, as does and a few other sites. Do a search for “freelance health writing” to see for yourself.

How much money can I make?

It all depends on whom you’re working for. Many magazines pay $100 to $300 for short, quality articles (they pay more if the article is longer). Websites usually pay less because they have plenty of writers trying to work for them. Editors may also pay you per word, between $0.20/word and $2.00/word and up, depending on your experience and the publication’s reputation.

How should I respond to an ad?

You’ve come across an ad that appeals to you – congratulations! Read the sample ad below to see if you can figure out the best way to respond:

Holistic Weekly Magazine is currently accepting articles on alternative health trends. $0.50 to $0.90 per word.

This ad doesn’t tell you a lot, but it does tell you enough. Before you respond, go get a copy of Holistic Weekly and read it cover to cover. Once you have a solid grasp on what the magazine is all about, you’re ready to pitch your article ideas.

This magazine seems to focus on alternative health, so you need to ask yourself whether your idea is relevant. Organic eating, “western medicine” scandals, and types of alternative health care might be ideas to get you started.

Remember: knowing your editor and your readership are important to get published.

Brian Scott is a full-time freelance writer with over a decade of experience. He finds many of his paid freelance medical writing jobs at Online Writing Jobs ( ), a free jobboard that lets you search thousands of freelance writing jobs.

Image taken on 2009-09-28 13:13:19. Image Source. (Used with permission)

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