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Is there a career path that I can pursue that combines multiple interests?

I am currently in college trying to decide what degree/degrees to pursue. I have many interests that make it hard to choose one career path. I am interested in writing, journalism, history, and the medical field. Is there a career that combines my multiple interests? # #career #journalism #college #writing #history #medical


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John’s Answer

Alyssa medical writers can start out earning a bachelor's degree in journalism or English. Some journalism programs include coursework or concentrations in science or medical writing. According to the American Medical Writers Association, individuals with journalism backgrounds tend to write for lay audiences, particularly in the marketing field. Alternatively, medical writers may begin with an undergraduate degree in science, such as biology or chemistry. Individuals with a science background often write articles targeted toward scientists such as peer-reviewed journals or regulatory reports.

MEDICAL WRITER CAREER DESCRIPTION
Companies and institutions that hire medical writers need professionals who offer a dynamic union between scientific medical knowledge and written communication skills. Hospitals, academic medical centers, pharmaceutical companies and science publications and websites are potential employers. Medical writing careers usually follow one of two paths, according to the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA): scientific medical writing and non-scientific or marketing medical writing. Scientific medical writers translate drug trial results, medical study findings and clinical data into presentations, regulatory documents and medical journal abstracts for a professional audience, while marketing medical writers more often focus on writing advertising copy, news releases and educational materials for a general audience.

EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENTS
Most medical writers begin with a bachelor's or master's degree in journalism or English and build experience in the medical writing field by contributing to science publications and association newsletters; others take medical writing courses offered by their universities. Scientific medical writers, including regulatory medical writers (those who write proposals and applications for new FDA drug and medical device approvals), often have advanced training in the medical field; many are PhDs or MDs who put their specialized knowledge to work in writing. Some medical writers, especially those in the scientific arena, earn continuing education certificates from the AMWA.

REQUIRED SKILLS
First and foremost, medical writers should have solid writing and editorial skills, as well as familiarity with medical terminology. Scientific medical writers should be especially knowledgeable about the medical field and its terms and processes, and regulatory medical writers must thoroughly understand regulation requirements and approval processes. Successful medical writers are persistent and detail-oriented professionals who know how to research and can successfully translate a large quantity of technical information into succinct, engaging writing.

CAREER OUTLOOK AND SALARY
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that although writing jobs in general will remain stable, demand for specialized writing skills, such as medical writing, will increase because of the explosion of technical and scientific data and the need to clearly communicate that information. The BLS expects technical writing jobs to increase 11% from 2020 to 2030. While medical writers can find full-time employment in a variety of settings, many work as freelance writers. Salary.com found the average Medical Writer I salary in the United States is $64,655 as of June 28, 2020, but the range typically falls between $53,800 and $72,000. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on many important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession.

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Thank you for your help! Alyssa D.

Your Welcome Alyssa. The real opportunity for success lies within the person and not in the career. John Frick

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Dexter’s Answer

Hi Alyssa,

It sounds like you have a really interesting set of.. interests. :)

So if we combine writing and journalism into one, we can say that you should be a medical history journalist. Maybe your dream job will be writing books/news about the cyclical nature of medicine? I mean, it'd been great to have more medical history journalists when COVID-19 first reared it's ugly head, we could have spread the pictures of folks wearing masks in 1918 to help convince more individuals to wear masks (https://twistedsifter.files.wordpress.com/2020/07/wear-a-mask-sign-spanish-flu-1918.jpg?w=800&h=480).

I wish you the best, and if it all ends up working out, I look forward to reading your articles in the future! :)

--
Dexter

Thank you for your help! Alyssa D.

You’re welcome! :) Dexter Arver

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Rachel’s Answer

There are definitely ways to combine multiple—even diverse—interests. When thinking about your major, consider which area you wish to focus on as your main field. A journalist may cover a huge variety of topics and so an English major may be your primary focus. However, if you want to be in the medical field, a major in the sciences might be a better option. There are many writing jobs in the medical field which require an understanding of the science but strong English skills to translate information to a wider audience. Utilize your school's programs to combine your interests between your major and possible minors. Think about which subjects you are passionate about and look on sites like LinkedIn to see how those are combined. You could be looking for anything from technical writing positions to university research positions. Keep an open mind and go with what you're passionate about.

Rachel recommends the following next steps:

Decide which major should be your primary focus.
Utilize minors or certificates to combine multiple interests in your degree.
Search job sites like LinkedIn based on your interests to get an idea of job possibilities.

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Nathaniel’s Answer

There are probably multiple ways to join some or all of your interests. Science writer might be the shortest route--it could be pursued with a BA in biology say, and some on-the-job writing experience.

You might add a master's degree in journalism and/or communications: MJN or MJNC. You would acquire more skills, contacts and cachet.

The longest route would be to acquire a graduate degree in biology or medicine. That would certainly provide the deepest specialized subject knowledge and the flashiest credentials.

Lastly, if you were interested in a more academic rather than journalistic approach, you could pursue a degree in history or sociology of medicine.

I started doing some of these things back in the 1960s, writing for popular publications in biology and medicine while pursuing an undergraduate degree in anthropology. Eventually I acquired a PhD in anthropology and a bit later an MS in counseling.

This background led to work in tobacco education for various Oregon county health departments, which brought me back to academia as a researcher and writer in medical sociology and public health departments first at University of California San Francisco, later at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Discovery and dissemination of research findings were my principle duties: I wrote for medical and public health journals as well as speaking at numerous public and professional conferences.

Thank you for your help! Alyssa D.

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Abbie’s Answer

Hello Alyssa,

All the above answers are great recommendations. Like you, I had many interest in different fields. One thing that provided me clarity was researching career assessments where I could take a quiz on my interest and then have a detailed list of possible career matches.


Thank you! Alyssa D.

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Christopher’s Answer

I don’t think having too many interests should cripple you. I would spend the next 10-12 years exploring those interests to the fullest. The problem is you are going to be judged on short term success, how much money your are making etc and you can’t let that deter you from finding out who you are and what you are about. Don’t be afraid to fail, that is the only way you learn. Listen to your heart and follow your instincts, they will show you the way!

C

Thank you for your help! Alyssa D.

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Alycia’s Answer

Alyssa,
I absolutely love this question! People are multi-dimensional so it's perfectly normal to crave more than one interest at a time.

In general, most jobs focus on many different subjects useful in writing, the medical field or else where. For example, I wanted to minor in Literary Journalism as an established Biology major, so I started looking into jobs centered around writing and science. My mentors (as well as some online researching) told me that there are many ways I could integrate science into literary journalism mediums. I could make an online blog of different STEM internships I've had as a college student; I could assist in a scripted documentary showcasing prominent scientists who have shaped our knowledge on stem cell research; I could even write a biography on how COVID is affecting the underserved communities in my area.

There are countless career paths you could take that offer the same flexibility as the one I mentioned above. All you have to do is research; take the time find out your interests, may be shadow a few people who align with those interests and then build your resume with experiences from there.

Good luck girl! I'm rooting for you.

Thank you!! Alyssa D.

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Angela’s Answer

Hi Alyssa,

One path to consider is being a Research Analyst at an Investment Bank. Research Analysts analyze companies and securities in the context of trade opportunities in research reports. Useful skills for this field are writing, reading, and financial analysis; you may be interested to know that you can focus on medical or pharmaceutical/biotech companies.


Thank you! Alyssa D.

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