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So you want to be a medical editor?

By Olga Sushinsky

AMA Manual of StyleIf you’ve ever thought about pursuing a career in medical editing, you might want to familiarize yourself with the specifics of the industry. At first, it may appear daunting, but learning this craft is perfectly doable with a little help from print and online resources, such as medical dictionaries and industry-specific style guides. If you do come from a science background, the odds of success are in your favour, but if not, you can still master medical editing. Regardless of your level of expertise, it is important to have these resources on hand.

The American Medical Association’s AMA Manual of Style 

Most likely, you will be provided with log-in access to the AMA website when you rece­­ive a medical editing gig. However, it’s also a good idea to invest in a physical copy of the AMA Manual of Style if you plan to edit medical documents long-term. It is so much easier to look up the treatment of terms, grammar points, and other peculiarities of medical writing in the physical book. The price for the book is on the higher end, but this investment might be worthwhile if you hope to make a career in medical editing. If you cannot afford the book, you can still find a few free resources on medical editing online.  The School of Pharmacy at Concordia University Wisconsin provides a document on citing references according to AMA style.

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Video: Watch Katharine O’Moore-Klopf discussing medical editing at our October meeting

At the October 2014 meeting of EAC’s Toronto branch, Katharine O’Moore-Klopf, a medical editor with a specialty in editing manuscripts written by authors whose first language is not English, spoke with editors (via Google Hangouts) about the opportunities and challenges within this field.