The American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) offers one of the most extensive continuing education programs available to professionals in the medical and allied scientific communication fields. AMWA's workshops are the cornerstone of the association's commitment to providing quality continuing education for medical communicators. AMWA workshops are tailored for the profession and are continually expanded to broaden the selection of options for both novice and experienced medical communicators. The diversity of the workshops offers participants an opportunity to gain new areas of expertise that can enhance their skills in the many facets of medical communication.
More than 100 educational sessions are offered during AMWA's 3-day annual conference, including credit workshops that can also be applied toward AMWA's certificate programs.
Workshops are also offered at AMWA chapter-sponsored conferences presented at various times during the year. The chapter contacts listed on this Web site can provide information about costs and registering for chapter conferences.
Approximately 20 workshops are available for on-site presentation at companies' facilities for the benefit of their employees. More information on on-site workshops is available from AMWA headquarters.
Several workshops have been developed into self-study workshops(a combination of a workbook and CD-ROM with a laminated Quick Reference Guide). Basic Grammar and Usage, Elements of Medical Terminology, Punctuation for Clarity and Style, Sentence Structure and Patterns, Essential Ethics for Medical Communicators and Statistics for Medical Writers and Editors are now available and can be ordered through this Web site. These self-study workshops are designed for medical communicators at all levels of experience. Each contains a test that can be returned for certificate credit. Almost all the credits necessary for AMWA's Essential Skills certificate can be obtained via self-study workshop modules. The modules will remain valuable as reference guides long after the courses have been completed.
AMWA's Certificate Programs
Earning an AMWA certificate is considered part of a career path in the field and is required by some employers. As the world of medical communication changes, the association updates existing workshops and develops new workshops to meet current needs, and to support AMWA's recognized and highly valued certificate program.
Established in 1979, the certificate program has been enhanced in subsequent years to reflect the changing environment in medical communication; it was greatly expanded in 2009 to meet the evolving needs of the profession. For information about the previously offered certificates, click here.
To initiate earning a certificate, enrollment is required. Participants may enroll in any certificate program listed below to receive credits toward the program. Participants can choose to be enrolled in more than 1 certificate program at the same time. The enrollment formcan be completed on the Web site.
1. Essential Skills: This program provides many opportunities to improve basic editing, writing, communication, and bibliographic skills—skills that all medical communicators should possess, regardless of the area in which they work. Essential Skills workshops provide the basis for the certificate program and an Essential Skills certificate is required to earn a certificate in any of the 4 specialty certificate programs. The certificate requires completion of 8 workshops, including the Essential Skills ethics workshop. Almost all the credits necessary for this certificate can also be obtained via self-study workshop modules.
A separate certificate can be earned in each of the specialties. Each specialty certificate requires successful completion of 7 workshops + 1 ethics-related workshop designated for that specific certificate.
2. Business: Workshops are designed to provide information on developing and expanding a freelance business, as well as providing management and operation skills.
3. Composition & Publication: Workshops provide experienced medical communicators with specialized editorial and publication skills, as well as in-depth consideration of issues in writing, editing, bibliographic research, education, and other topics of interest.
4. Concepts in Science & Medicine: Workshops provide medical communicators with an opportunity to deepen their understanding of basic concepts in science and medicine. For those who are educated in nonscience fields, the workshops provide an orientation to a scientific area and a foundation for further study. The workshops can provide those educated in science with opportunities to increase their knowledge and to learn about areas outside their specialties.
5. Regulatory & Research: Workshops provide experienced medical communicators with specialized regulatory and drug development writing and science skills.
For all face to face credit workshops:
1. Credit workshops are 3 hours long. To receive credit, a participant must attend the entire workshop in addition to completing and submitting the homework to the workshop leader by the specified due date.
2. The cost of attending a workshop is in addition to the conference registration fee. The fee is the same whether or not the workshop is being taken for credit.
3. AMWA headquarters records credit workshops successfully completed for participants enrolled in the corresponding program and awards the appropriate certificate when the requirements have been fulfilled.
Each face to face credit workshop includes a precourse assignment (homework) that must be satisfactorily completed and returned to the workshop leader by the specified deadline. Workshop leaders make assignments for a variety of reasons. Typically, assignments will give participants background information for the workshop or will help leaders assess the skill levels of participants.
Participants in advanced workshops must complete the precourse assignment and submit it to the leader by the specified deadline whether or not they are taking the workshop for credit. If a participant's completed assignment for an advanced workshop is not received by the deadline indicated, the seat in the workshop will be forfeited; the participant will not receive a refund or workshop credit.
Registering for workshops offered at the annual conference
Participants should plan to register early for workshops. Space is assigned on a first-come, first-served basis, and workshops fill quickly. Most workshops are limited to 30 participants; advanced workshops are limited to 16 participants. Once a workshop is full, it is closed. Each registrant may take a maximum of 3 credit workshops per conference, 2 of which can be advanced workshops.
Information for Workshop Leaders
Chapter Conference Schedule
Certificate Enrollment Form