Medical proofreading

Medical Proofreading: How To Start & What You Can Earn [2023]

If you’ve just started your proofreading journey and are keen to niche into medical proofreading, you’re in the right place. 

As hospitals and healthcare institutions move towards integrating their systems online, there will be more medical reports written and more proofreading required.

This is where you can potentially come in!

Medical proofreading is an extremely specialized niche within the wider proofreading community. 

When you provide medical proofreading services, what you’re doing is helping to proofread medical reports by reviewing and editing them for grammar, punctuation, and spelling. 

When I first started my journey into freelancing, the first two jobs I tried were writing and proofreading. I can safely say that these two skills are still very much useful in my daily life, helping me bring in a high income. 

I am forever grateful for learning about this side hustle as it put me on a journey to achieving financial freedom!

If you want to learn how to start proofreading medical documents, read on to find out how to become one! Here’s what I’ll be going through this article at a glance:

  • What Is Medical Proofreading?
  • Types Of Medical Writing
  • How To Become A Medical Proofreader?
  • How Do I Succeed As A Medical Proofreader?
  • Where To Find Medical Proofreading Jobs?

FAQs On Medical Proofreading

  • How Much Can A Medical Proofreader Earn?
  • Do You Need To Be Qualified To Be A Medical Proofreader?
  • Is Proofreading A Skill?
  • Is Proofreading A Hard Or Soft Skill?
  • Is Proofreading Good Money?

Affiliate Link Disclosure

Some of the links here are affiliate links, and I may earn if you click on them, AT NO EXTRA cost to you. I hope you find the information here useful! Thanks!

If you want to know how to become a proofreader online but need some training, the Proofread Anywhere course helps you transition into a full-time proofreader/editor and run it as a well-paid business.

The Proofread Anywhere course begins with proofreading basics and then goes on to share advanced proofreading methods, how and where to find jobs, what rate to set, and common mistakes to avoid.

Caitlin is the lady who runs the course and she has been a proofreader since 2007. She turned her love for proofreading into a full-time job and now helps others do the same.

The Proofread Anywhere course is packed with 40+ lessons in 8 modules, grammar-specific worksheets, and real-life example jobs.

After passing with 90% or higher on the final exam you will receive a Certificate of Completion and access to the Self-Publishing School Preferred Outsourcer Rolodex.

Ps; Caitlin is offering a FREE Proofreading workshop that will help you learn the basic skills and decide on whether freelance proofreading is for you. Perfect if you want to know how to become a proofreader with no experience and if you are looking for proofreading courses online for free.

Medical proofreading

What Is Medical Proofreading?

Medical proofreading is essentially what trained or experienced proofreaders do when they review and edit medical documents.

Anyone who’s been to the doctor will know how much of a hurry doctors are always in and how terrible their handwriting can be.

In the hurry and busyness, medical documents and medical reports can contain a lot of errors. 

Because a typo, especially for medication or treatment, could mean the difference between life or death for a patient, medical proofreaders are extremely important to the field.

A medical proofreading job description might also ask that the proofreader be interested in the medical field and have a firm understanding of medical terminology.

It is important to have at least an interest in the field and then gain experience from there because you’ll need to know things like medical abbreviations, common medications, and so on. 

You may also need to be familiar with the medical institution’s house style while proofreading their documents.

Types Of Medical Writing

In order to be a medical proofreader, you’ll need to be familiar with the different types of medical writing out there. 

Here are five types of medical writing you might encounter while doing medical proofreading:

  • Scientific Publications – These can be writing for medical journals, for example, the American Journal of Medicine, and materials for medical conferences. 
  • Health Communications – This can be for patient education in the form of online content, posters, news releases, and so on.
  • Professional Education – These refer to documents written by medical professionals for pharmaceutical staff or staff in healthcare settings.
  • Grant Writing – Medical professionals also need to frequently write grant proposals to receive funding for medical and scientific research. 
Medical proofreading

How To Become A Medical Proofreader?

In order to become a medical proofreader, you’ll need to have the following skillsets:

  • Have at least one year’s experience in proofreading – the more the better
  • Interest and knowledge of medical terms and medical subject matter. Even better still if you’ve worked in a medical institution previously.
  • Skilled in proofreading software such as Microsoft Word, Google Documents, and Grammarly.

If you’re just starting out, you might wonder, how do I gain medical proofreading experience or proofreading experience at all?

I started as a proofreader by offering to proofread for friends and then sending potential clients tracked copies of my proofread documents.

Use those as a start to create your first working samples, then pitch to new clients using those samples. 

I first worked as a proofreader on top of my 9 to 5 role then, and once I had built up a strong client base, I plunged into more online proofreading jobs.

So if you’re wondering how you can start medical proofreading jobs from home if you have no experience, I’m here to tell you, it’s possible – you just need to take that first step! 

Medical proofreading

How Do I Succeed As A Medical Proofreader?

Medical proofreading is an extremely lucrative and in-demand proofreading niche.

But because of how niched down it is, you’ll need to build a good base of clients to succeed in the long run. 

Here are some tips you can use to succeed as a medical proofreader:

1. Familiarize yourself with the subject matter 

The medical field is extremely big and constantly evolving. It might not suffice just to have prior medical knowledge. 

Upgrade yourself constantly, read relevant medical materials, journals and documents to keep yourself updated with the terms used and the latest developments.

2. Attend medical networking events or online medical workshops

It might be difficult to gain entry into medical conferences if you’re not a medical professional yourself, but medical networking events and online medical workshops are fair game.

Attending such networking events help you see what medical topics are being discussed, what type of news interest the community. 

At the same time, you can introduce yourself as a medical proofreader.

Trust me, you’ll be surprised how many medical professionals don’t know where to find such services and how many of them are in actual need of one!

3. Upskill yourself as a proofreader

There are many experienced proofreaders out there that have honed their techniques over the years, like Caitlin from Proofread Anywhere

In her Proofread Anywhere course, which has 40 lessons spread across 8 modules, she goes through proofreading basics, advanced methods and common mistakes to avoid.

Honestly, I wish I had these resources right at the start of my proofreading journey because it would have saved me so much time!

There are also plenty of free proofreading workshops if you prefer to keep costs low when you just start out. 

But investing in a proofreading course, especially a medical proofreading course, is always worthwhile if you intend to stay in the industry for long. 

4. Always check for your client’s house style and preferences

Don’t assume! You might be used to a particular style like the American Medical Association’s (AMA) style book, but check before you start. 

Other commonly used style guides include Modern Language Association (MLA) and American Psychological Association (APA).

5. Offer returning discounts or introductory discounts

The medical community can be quite tight-knit, and if you’ve done good work for one client, chances are they’ll want to introduce you to their contacts.

Offer a referral discount to these loyal customers. 

At the same time, you can also offer your new clients an introductory offer –  such as helping them proofread a short document for free. 

But at the same time, only offer to work for free IF they seem more likely to commit and are just on the fence. 

Don’t offer it if you’re quite certain they’re just out to get free services! 

6. Always go above and beyond to make your client feel special

Make an effort to find out about their work and why they have engaged you to proofread their work. 

Once you have finished proofreading their piece, comment on how much you enjoyed the piece (if you did) or tell them what you liked about it.

Chances are they would have spent a long time working on the very document you’re proofreading, like a research paper. 

Hearing compliments and being recognized for their work could help you stand out among past proofreaders they have engaged.

Medical proofreading

Where To Find Medical Proofreading Jobs?

There are many online sites where you can find proofreading jobs and more specifically, medical proofreading jobs, and even medical proofreading jobs with remote options. 

Online sites with jobs usually come in two categories:

  • Proofreading companies
  • Freelance sites

For proofreading companies with medical proofreading jobs, you can register with Scribblr or Proofreading Services

Both are large reputable proofreading companies that have a large base of proofreading clients.

They would be able to offer you anything from part-time medical proofreading jobs to remote work as long as you can commit to their minimum requirements and number of hours.

If you want to find medical proofreading jobs with freelance sites, your best bets are Problogger and Upwork

Both platforms are great for anyone with no experience wishing to start medical proofreading. You can find medical proofreading jobs in the UK, US, and anywhere, really!

Oftentimes, you might also find all-in-one roles, such as proofreading medical transcription jobs, where the client requires you to transcribe a medical recording and proofread it.

Have a look and see which job descriptions appeal to you and apply to them! 

I’ve also written a whole series of articles on how to succeed on Upwork, so make sure you read them if you’re new to looking for jobs on Upwork!

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FAQs On Medical Proofreading

How Much Can A Medical Proofreader Earn?

Not sure how much can a medical proofreader earn? They can earn an average of $37 per hour in the US, or above $76,000 annually for their medical proofreader salary.

This is on the assumption that you’re a salaried employee.

You could potentially earn more than the average medical proofreading salary, especially if you clock more hours, or raise your rates with returning clients.

A quick look at medical writers or proofreaders on Upwork shows that the best ones on their site charge as much as $100 per hour

Work your way up, and don’t be afraid to charge more or raise your rates, especially if you’ve consistently delivered good work to your existing clients!

Medical proofreading

Do You Need To Be Qualified To Be A Medical Proofreader?

If you’re wondering do you need to be qualified to be a medical proofreader, no you do not, though it is beneficial to have professional certification to show your medical knowledge.

Some certifications include those from the International Society for Medical Publication Professionals (ISMPP)

If you’re an aspiring medical proofreader who wants to get better at proofreading while you gain industry knowledge, taking a proofreading course is always beneficial.

Is Proofreading A Skill?

Wondering is proofreading a skill? One hundred percent yes, proofreading is such an important and underrated skill!

As long as there is writing, there will always be a need for a proofreader and an editor.

Proofreaders help to improve the quality of written work by spotting often-overlooked grammar, punctuation and spelling mistakes. 

Even the best spell checkers cannot replace proofreaders as it might not be able to pick up correctly-spelt but incorrectly placed words like ‘too’ and ‘two’. 

Medical proofreading

Is Proofreading A Hard Or Soft Skill?

Unsure about is proofreading a hard or soft skill? Proofreading is a hard skill – it requires learned skills such as reviewing, editing, and some writing. 

It is most definitely not a soft skill as these refer more to non-technical skills such as interpersonal and problem-solving skills. 

Proofreading is a hard skill that can be honed with more practice, upskilling, and experience. 

The easiest way to differentiate between hard and soft skills is: hard skills refer to skills you need to do your job well, whereas soft skills refer to personal skills that help you thrive. 

Is Proofreading Good Money?

Trying to see is proofreading good money? Proofreading is extremely good money – you can make an average of $37 per hour as a salaried proofreader. 

If you’re a freelance proofreader, your rate could even go up to $100 per hour, as seen on some freelance platforms like Upwork.

The sky’s the limit as long as you’re able to justify your rate increase to your clients and show how much you can value-add to their work. 

Medical proofreading

As you can see, getting into medical proofreading isn’t as difficult as you might have imagined.

There is a huge demand for medical professionals as healthcare is always in need – and by extension, so will medical writers and proofreaders be needed. 

Have faith in your skills when pitching to clients while constantly looking to upgrade your proofreading skills

Trust me when I say this – it’s really tough at the beginning, but it will get easier over time as you get more proofreading clients!

Did this post help you? Let me know if you still have any other questions on medical proofreading! 

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