10 Science Writing Careers (With Salaries and Descriptions)
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Those working within the science industry often rely on writing skills to communicate crucial scientific advancements that contribute to people's understanding of the world. If you have a passion for both the written word and scientific advances, then you may excel in a science writing career. Learning more about the careers that offer science writing opportunities can help you decide on the role that's right for you. In this article, we discuss 10 science writing careers with their salaries and primary duties to help you make an informed decision about your career.
What are science writing careers?
Science writing careers involve opportunities to write about science. You might write press releases on new advancements, content for scientific outlets like magazines and newspapers and scientific reports and research papers when conducting scientific trials. Many scientific careers involve writing opportunities, and candidates aren't necessarily required to find a specific writing role to pursue them. For example, careers in psychology and scientific teaching at the degree level may offer candidates the chance to write pioneering reports on new studies or scientific topics.
These written tasks may vary in length, from large research reports to short articles about a specialist subject. When writing articles, scientists may require the help of a professional writer. This is because trained writers can take a brief from a scientific professional and translate that content into language that's accessible for their audience. Additionally, professional writers ensure that scientific content is engaging for the reader, grammatically correct and free from plagiarism.
10 science writing jobs
To help you discover occupations involving scientific writing, here's a list of 10 careers that may interest you, including their salaries and primary duties:
National average salary: $94,936 per year
Primary duties: Environmental scientists conduct comprehensive testing to investigate factors like soil and air pollution. With these tests, scientific communities can gain a more in-depth understanding of the impacts of climate change and pollutants such as carbon emissions. These professionals primarily work in research laboratories but conduct fieldwork when collecting samples for further testing. They may publish reports of their findings in scientific journals and collaborate with industry professionals to explore topical issues relating to the environment.
National average salary: $65,906 per year
Primary duties: Content writers are professional writers who work across several industries, using briefs from their employer or client to produce content of varying lengths. Scientific content writers work in partnership with scientists and other science-related professionals. They take results and briefs from research studies or current events and create accessible pieces for journals, websites, blog posts and books, ensuring that the writing is engaging and coherent. Content writers can also be experts in search engine optimisation and help to attract more readers to websites or blogs, potentially increasing profits for the scientific professionals and writers involved.
National average salary: $75,371 per year
Primary duties: Research assistants provide valuable support to scientific researchers by compiling reports or writing for scientific papers and journals. These professionals conduct tasks such as literature reviews and summarise research findings in a coherent written piece. They also perform a vital role in other project management duties, such as budgeting and time-tracking. In addition, assistants compile written reports of a project's progress and ensure that the research translates into accessible content for publishing.
National average salary: $67,233 per year
Primary duties: Lab technicians support scientists during experiments and research studies. They help them conduct their investigations and report their results. After the experiment or research, lab technicians can compile reports and articles on the scientist's behalf, based on the results. They also conduct control tests, sampling and recording and analysis of results, ensuring that they're accurate and ready for publication.
National average salary: $93,850 per year
Primary duties: Technical writers primarily focus on creating guides for readers. They can work within the scientific industry and often compile how-to guides and study materials for scientific personnel. These professionals typically take a brief from a member of the scientific community and translate the content so that it's suitable for the target audience and maintains an appropriate tone.
For example, a technical writer may take a brief from a scientist that tells them to write a guide on a scientific topic for high school students. After conducting thorough research, the technical writer compiles the guide with appropriate language and tone designed to help students understand the subject.
National average salary: $90,070 per year
Primary duties: Scientists are professionals who work across the scientific spectrum, specialising in areas relating to physics, chemistry and biology. They conduct experiments, research specialist subjects and create hypotheses to further understand things about the universe. They then test their ideas with a series of experiments and publish the results in an academic paper.
This scientific research helps to inform other scientific professionals and contributes to the advancement of education and knowledge. Scientists often write intensive academic reports and dissertations relating to their specialist area, so candidates with a strong passion for science and academic writing may benefit from this career.
National average salary: $91,131 per year
Primary duties: A psychologist specialises in cognitive and emotional behaviour and may analyse how specific mental health problems or conditions can impact those behaviours. Psychologists research and assess symptoms to further understand how mental illness impacts a patient's quality of life. They evaluate whether these conditions result from social, genetic or physical influences by working collaboratively with patients.
These professionals commonly write in-depth reports on their findings and may also write books about their research and hypotheses. In addition, they may teach in university settings, requiring them to prepare written teaching materials for their classes. Psychologists also compile written reports on their patient's progress to keep other health care staff informed of their condition and its implications.
National average salary: $37.44 per hour
Primary duties: A freelance writer is a self-employed professional writer who works on a contracted basis with various employers and agencies. Freelance writers have more choice over who they work with and may elect to specialise in scientific content production. Typically, scientific professionals find freelance writers to help them compile guides and books if they're unable to take on the majority of the writing.
Freelancers work collaboratively with scientists to understand the subject, create a project plan or brief and then conduct thorough research to help inform their writing. Freelancers can work on shorter projects, such as blog posts or magazine and journal articles, or as ghost-writers on larger-scale projects, such as books and academic materials.
National average salary: $76,428 per year
Primary duties: Pathology associates assist pathologists in scientific laboratories. They assess human and animal tissue for signs of disease or illness. These professionals work with scientific equipment, like microscopes and computers, to assess typical signs of disease. They may identify microbes and viruses in human tissue to help medical professionals diagnose patients. Pathology associates may help compile comprehensive scientific reports on a patient's symptoms and causes of illness. They may also suggest particular treatments if the disease is curable.
Pathologists and associates can work alongside charitable organisations dedicated to eradicating diseases by helping them understand more about the illness and preventative treatments. These professionals play a critical role in the identification of new and emerging illnesses by creating written reports of their findings for governments and international organisations.
10. Medical writer
National average salary: $105,670 per year
Primary duties: A medical writer is a dedicated writing professional who specialises in producing written content about medical research, disease and drug-related issues. These writers take a brief from a medical professional, such as a cardiologist, which can contain new data about a drug or illness.
From this, the medical writer produces a report, article, blog post or journal chapter that explains the research results and what the data means for the medical industry. They also create pamphlets and care packages for patients that explain their diagnosis, the implications of this on their lives and treatment options.
Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.
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