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Explore the World of Medical Writing

Learn essential writing and editing skills from top practitioners in the field.

Written by Philip Baker
stock image doctor looking at screen

A writer and learning expert who completed the Medical Writing and Editing certificate used his new skills and program connections to land his dream job.

As a trainer and writer of technical training courses, Mark Hagerty, who completed the Medical Writing and Editing certificate program, has spent his career working across many industries. For over thirty years, he has helped companies, both as a consultant and in-house instructional writer, develop courses and training modules that best prepare workforces with the skills and knowledge they need to carry out their tasks while staying safe.

“Writing has always been a part of me,” Hagerty says. “Even at the start of my career as a teacher, when someone would mention a class whose curriculum needed to be developed, I’d immediately leap up and say I’d like to write that.”

A Great Path to Pursue

After being laid off and spending five months in search of something new, Hagerty decided to expand the toolkit he had to offer companies as a consultant. Through searching broadly online he discovered the field of medical writing, which he had never heard of before.

“A lot of my work was already science-based, so medical writing seemed like a great path for me to pursue,” he says. “I started reading articles and books to learn more and, while doing that, I discovered the University of Chicago’s certificate in Medical Writing and Editing. After a phone call that confirmed I’d learn the skills I needed while earning the certificate, I decided I’d do it and I sent in my application.”

Manageable with a Full Time Job

As chance would have it, shortly after submitting his application he was offered a job working as an instructional designer and writer at a national laboratory. He calls it his dream job. Despite having already signed up for the Medical Writing and Editing certificate program, there was no question whether he’d accept the offer or not. In fact, his first online class took place on his first day of orientation at his new job. After five months of looking for work, he suddenly had a lot on his plate.

“The thing is, as a training guy, I love to learn,” Hagerty says. “I’ve had to bring myself up to speed in countless industries, so I’ve learned a lot of techniques for how to learn well. Even with a full time job,” he adds, “the Medical Writing and Editing courses are definitely doable. With the initiative and drive, anyone can do it.”

Instructors of the Highest Caliber

Having worked on online instructional design projects in the past, Hagerty calls the level and quality of the UChicago certificate stellar. He also highlighted his experience with his fellow classmates, whom he now calls colleagues he can turn to if he has a question relating to their area of expertise. The quality of the instructors, however, is something he emphasizes in particular.

“They really have the top people for instructors,” he says. “It’s the sort of thing where you realize that the instructor wrote the book on the topic you’re going to read next. So I just soaked it all up like a sponge.”

Skills that Advance Careers

Fortuitously, after six months at his new job, he had the opportunity to tell a supervisor about the certificate program he was close to completing. It turned out there was a new position they were trying to fill at the national laboratory focused on health and safety. By chance, it involved writing on various medical topics and creating trainings concerned with illness awareness.

“I never would have gotten the position were it not for the Medical Writing and Editing certificate,” he says. “After only six months, I’d developed skills that helped me move forward in my career. With the network of colleagues that I’d gained through the program, plus the knowledge and materials I’d acquired, I was ready for a position whose focus revolved around writing about topics in the medical and health fields.”

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