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Top 10 Medical Editor Certifications

This article provides an overview of the most sought-after medical editor certifications and their requirements.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 17 min read

Certifications are essential for medical editors in the job market because they demonstrate a certain level of expertise and knowledge. Medical editors are tasked with ensuring the accuracy and clarity of medical information, so having a certification from a reputable organization is an indication that the editor has the necessary skills to do the job. Certifications can also help a medical editor stand out from other applicants, as employers often look for professionals who have taken the time to attain additional qualifications. Finally, certifications show potential employers that a medical editor is committed to staying up-to-date on industry trends and best practices.

This article reviews some of the best certifications for Medical Editors and explains how they can be beneficial to a medical editor's career.

What are Medical Editor Certifications?

Medical editor certification is a professional credential that demonstrates a high level of competency in editing medical documents. It is awarded by the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences (BELS), an independent, non-profit organization that works to promote excellence in life science editing and publishing. The BELS certification program is designed to recognize editors who have demonstrated a mastery of the specialized skills necessary for effective editing of medical documents.

By becoming certified, medical editors can demonstrate their commitment to excellence and gain recognition for their expertise in the field. Certification provides assurance to employers and clients that an editor has the qualifications necessary to produce accurate, consistent, and well-written documents. Certified medical editors are more likely to be selected for jobs or projects due to their proven ability to meet high standards of quality.

In addition, certified medical editors may be eligible for continuing education credits from BELS, which can help them stay up-to-date on new developments in the field and maintain their certifications. Finally, having this certification can open doors for freelance opportunities or increase an editor’s chances of obtaining a job with a prestigious publisher or other organization.

Pro tip: When considering medical editor certification, make sure to research the various options available. Look into the requirements for each program, such as courses and exams that must be completed, as well as their accreditation status. Additionally, find out what sort of continuing education is required to maintain your certification.

Related: What does a Medical Editor do?

Top 10 Medical Editor Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Medical Editors today.

1. American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) Certified Medical Editor

The American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) Certified Medical Editor (CME) is a professional certification program for medical writers and editors. The CME credential recognizes those who have demonstrated mastery of the principles and practices of medical writing and editing, as well as an understanding of the ethical considerations associated with the profession.

It takes approximately 6-12 months to complete the CME certification process. To become certified, applicants must first pass an online examination that tests their knowledge of medical writing and editing principles and practices. After passing the exam, applicants must submit a portfolio demonstrating their experience in medical writing or editing. The portfolio should include samples of published work, letters of recommendation from employers or colleagues, and a statement of purpose outlining their goals in pursuing the CME certification.

The cost for taking the CME exam is $225 for AMWA members and $295 for non-members. If applicants do not pass the exam on their first attempt, they may retake it at no additional cost within one year of their initial registration date. Additionally, there is a fee associated with submitting a portfolio for review; this fee is currently set at $100 per submission.

Overall, becoming an AMWA Certified Medical Editor requires significant effort but can be very rewarding for those looking to demonstrate their expertise in medical writing and editing.

2. Council of Science Editors (CSE) Certified Scientific and Technical Editor

The Council of Science Editors (CSE) Certified Scientific and Technical Editor (CSTE) is a professional certification program for editors who work in scientific and technical fields. The CSTE certification is designed to recognize the knowledge, skills, and experience required to be an effective editor in these fields.

To become a CSTE-certified editor, you must pass a comprehensive exam that covers topics such as grammar and usage, editing principles, publication ethics, copyright law, scientific writing style, and more. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions and takes approximately four hours to complete.

You can apply for the CSTE exam by submitting an application form on the CSE website. The fee for taking the exam is $250 USD. If you pass the exam, you will receive your certificate within six weeks of completing it.

Once you are certified as a CSTE editor, you will be able to use the designation “CSTE” after your name when listing your credentials. This will demonstrate to employers or clients that you have met the highest standards of professional editing in scientific and technical fields.

3. European Medical Writers Association (EMWA) Professional Member

The European Medical Writers Association (EMWA) is an international non-profit organization that represents and supports medical writers in Europe. It provides a forum for the exchange of ideas and information, as well as a platform for networking, training and professional development.

To become an EMWA Professional Member, you must have at least two years' experience in medical writing and be able to demonstrate your knowledge and skills in this field. You must also be able to provide references from colleagues or employers who can attest to your experience.

It usually takes around four weeks to become a Professional Member after submitting your application form and accompanying documents. Once your application has been approved, you will receive an email with instructions on how to complete the process.

The cost of becoming an EMWA Professional Member is €150 per year for individuals based in Europe or €200 per year for individuals based outside of Europe. This fee covers access to EMWA's online resources, discounts on training courses, access to members-only events, and more.

4. American Board of Editors in the Life Sciences (ABELS) Certified Editor

American Board of Editors in the Life Sciences (ABELS) Certified Editor is a professional certification program designed to recognize editors with expertise in the life sciences. The certification is awarded to those who demonstrate a high level of proficiency in editing documents related to the life sciences, such as medical, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology research papers.

The ABELS Certified Editor credential requires completion of a rigorous exam that tests knowledge and skills related to editing life science documents. This exam covers topics such as grammar, punctuation, style guides, document structure, and scientific terminology. The exam also includes a practical component that requires applicants to review and edit sample documents.

It typically takes between four and six months to complete the ABELS Certified Editor program. During this time period, applicants are required to complete an online application form and submit their resume for review by the ABELS Certification Committee. Once approved for the program, applicants must pass both the written and practical components of the exam before being awarded their certification.

The cost of obtaining an ABELS Certified Editor credential varies depending on the type of membership chosen by each applicant. A basic membership costs $150 per year while a premium membership costs $350 per year. Both memberships include access to study materials and practice exams as well as discounts on conferences and workshops related to editing life science documents.

5. International Society for Medical Publication Professionals (ISMPP) Certified Medical Publication Professional

The International Society for Medical Publication Professionals (ISMPP) Certified Medical Publication Professional (CMPP) program is a professional certification program designed to recognize individuals who have met the highest standards of excellence in medical publication planning and implementation. The CMPP credential demonstrates an individual’s commitment to the profession, as well as their knowledge and experience in medical publication planning and implementation.

It typically takes approximately six months to complete the CMPP program, although this can vary depending on individual circumstances. To become certified, applicants must first complete the online application process, which includes submitting a copy of their curriculum vitae (CV) and providing three references from current or former employers. Once approved, applicants must then pass an online exam that covers topics such as medical writing, publication planning, ethical considerations, and data interpretation. After passing the exam, applicants are required to submit a portfolio of work demonstrating their expertise in medical publication planning and implementation.

The cost of becoming a Certified Medical Publication Professional varies depending on whether you are an ISMPP member or not. For non-members, the total cost is $1,500 USD; for ISMPP members it is $750 USD. This includes the application fee ($100 USD for non-members/$50 USD for members), exam fee ($400 USD for non-members/$200 USD for members), portfolio submission fee ($1000 USD for non-members/$500 USD for members).

6. National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) Accredited Medical Editor Certification Program

The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) Accredited Medical Editor Certification Program is a professional certification program designed to recognize medical editors who have demonstrated knowledge and skills in the field of medical editing. The program is administered by the NCCA, an independent accrediting body that sets standards for quality assurance in professional certifications.

The program consists of a comprehensive exam that covers topics such as medical terminology, grammar and style, ethical considerations, legal issues, and other related topics. The exam is offered twice a year and takes approximately 5 hours to complete. In order to be eligible to take the exam, applicants must have at least two years of experience in medical editing or related fields.

In order to receive the certification, applicants must pass the exam with a score of 70% or higher. Once certified, medical editors are required to maintain their certification by completing continuing education credits every two years.

The cost of taking the exam varies depending on where you take it but typically ranges from $200-$400 USD.

7. Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators (ISTC) Diploma in Medical Writing and Editing

The Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators (ISTC) Diploma in Medical Writing and Editing is a professional qualification designed to provide medical writers and editors with the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to work in this field. The diploma is awarded upon successful completion of the course.

The Diploma in Medical Writing and Editing consists of six modules: Introduction to Medical Writing; Clinical Trial Documentation; Regulatory Affairs; Medical Publications; Health Economics; and Quality Assurance. Each module includes lectures, tutorials, practical exercises, and assessments. The course can be completed either full-time or part-time over a period of 12 months.

To obtain the ISTC Diploma in Medical Writing and Editing, applicants must have a degree or equivalent qualification in life sciences or medicine, at least two years' experience writing for medical publications or working as an editor for medical journals, as well as satisfactory references from previous employers. Applicants must also pass an online assessment prior to enrolling on the course.

The cost of the ISTC Diploma in Medical Writing and Editing varies depending on the institution offering it. Generally speaking, tuition fees are between £2,000 - £3,000 per module plus any additional costs such as registration fees or examination fees which may apply.

8. American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science Editing Certificate Program

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science Editing Certificate Program is an online program designed to help editors and writers improve their skills in editing scientific publications. The program consists of four courses that cover topics such as grammar, style, and usage; copyediting; and managing manuscripts. Each course is self-paced and can be completed in about six weeks.

To get the certificate, you must complete all four courses and pass a final exam with a score of 80% or higher. The cost of the program is $495 USD. Once you have completed the program, you will receive an official AAAS Science Editing Certificate that can be used to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise in science editing.

9. International Society of Managing and Technical Editors (ISMTE) Certified Professional Editor-in-Chief

The International Society of Managing and Technical Editors (ISMTE) Certified Professional Editor-in-Chief is a certification program designed to recognize individuals who have achieved a high level of professional proficiency in the field of editing. It is the highest certification available from ISMTE, and it demonstrates an individual’s commitment to excellence in the profession.

To become certified, applicants must demonstrate a combination of experience, knowledge, and skills that are necessary to lead an editorial team and provide effective management of an editorial process. This includes topics such as: understanding the publishing industry; managing editorial teams; developing and implementing editorial policies; overseeing peer review processes; working with authors, editors, reviewers, and staff; understanding copyright law; creating budgets; managing projects; and more.

It typically takes about six months for applicants to complete all requirements for certification. The application process requires submission of a detailed resume outlining relevant experience, completion of a written exam covering management principles, and successful completion of an oral interview with an ISMTE Certification Panel.

The cost for this certification is $1,200 USD for members or $1,500 USD for non-members.

10. Academy of Healthcare Communication Professionals (AHCP) Certified Healthcare Communication Specialist

The Academy of Healthcare Communication Professionals (AHCP) Certified Healthcare Communication Specialist is a certification program designed to recognize professionals who demonstrate expertise and proficiency in the field of healthcare communication. The program is open to all professionals who have a minimum of three years of experience in the healthcare communication field, and it provides an opportunity for individuals to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in this area.

The certification process typically takes about six months from start to finish. To become certified, applicants must complete an online application, pass an exam, and submit documentation that verifies their professional experience. Once approved, candidates must complete a five-day course that covers topics such as patient education, health literacy, public speaking, media relations, and more. Upon successful completion of the course and exam, applicants will receive their AHCP Certified Healthcare Communication Specialist designation.

The cost for the AHCP Certified Healthcare Communication Specialist program varies depending on the individual's experience level and other factors. Generally speaking, it costs around $1,000 USD to become certified. This fee includes the cost of the application fee, exam fee, and course tuition.

In addition to receiving recognition from peers in the healthcare communication field for achieving this certification, AHCP Certified Healthcare Communication Specialists can also benefit from increased job opportunities and higher salaries due to their specialized knowledge and skillset.

Do You Really Need a Medical Editor Certificate?

The short answer is no, you do not need to have a medical editor certificate in order to work as a medical editor. However, having a certificate can certainly be beneficial when it comes to finding and securing jobs in the field.

Having a medical editor certificate demonstrates your commitment to the profession and your knowledge of the industry. It shows potential employers that you are serious about being a professional medical editor and that you have taken the time and effort to gain formal qualifications in the subject. This can help you stand out from other applicants and make sure your resume is given priority consideration. Furthermore, depending on the type of certification program you complete, it could also provide you with access to valuable resources such as contacts, databases, or job listings that would not otherwise be available.

At the same time, it is important to note that having a medical editor certificate does not guarantee success or employment in this field. Employers will still take into account factors such as experience, skill level, and professionalism when making hiring decisions. Ultimately, having a certification may help improve your chances of getting hired but it is not an absolute necessity for success in this profession.

Related: Medical Editor Resume Examples

FAQs About Medical Editor Certifications

1. What is a medical editor certification?

Answer: A medical editor certification is a credential that demonstrates professional competence in the field of medical editing. It typically involves completing a course or program focusing on editing and publishing for the medical industry, which may include topics such as grammar and punctuation, content writing, style guides, and more.

2. Who offers medical editor certifications?

Answer: Several organizations offer medical editor certifications, including the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA), the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences (BELS), and the Council of Science Editors (CSE).

3. What are the benefits of getting a medical editor certification?

Answer: Having a medical editor certification can help you stand out in an increasingly competitive job market. It can also demonstrate your commitment to professionalism and help you gain credibility with potential employers. Additionally, it can provide access to more advanced career opportunities and higher earning potential.

4. How long does it take to get certified as a medical editor?

Answer: The amount of time required to become certified as a medical editor varies depending on the organization offering the certification and your level of experience. Generally speaking, it takes anywhere from three months to two years to become certified depending on the program chosen.

5. Are there any prerequisites for becoming certified as a medical editor?

Answer: Yes, most organizations require that applicants have at least one year of experience working in a related field before applying for their certification program. Additionally, some programs may require applicants to pass an exam or complete additional courses prior to being accepted into their program.