Essential Skills Courses

The AMWA Essential Skills (ES) Certificate requires 8 ES credits for completion. Credits may be earned through successful completion of Self-Study Workbook quizzes and/or by participation at in-person Workshops at the Medical Writing & Communication Conference or chapter events.


Available as Workshop and Self-Study Workbook

Basic Grammar and Usage for Biomedical Communicators (2 credits)
Thorough knowledge of parts of speech is truly basic to good writing and editing. This workbook focuses on parts of speech and their use in the sentence. Types of nouns and pronouns, verb tense, pronouns and case, phrases and clauses, and the types of sentences are some of the primary topics.
Punctuation for Clarity and Style (1 credit)
Designed for communicators whose professional writing experience and grammatical savvy range from minimal to moderate, this review of the most useful punctuation rules and options—from the serial comma to the dash—will focus on emphasis, variety, and consistency.
Sentence Structure and Patterns (1 credit)
Through the review and examination of flawed and improved sentence examples, readers will consider the main elements of sentence construction, accommodation to the reading process, and the management of emphasis—all with a view toward matching structure to purpose.
Statistics for Medical Writers and Editors (1 credit)
Elementary statistical concepts needed to understand medical and scientific articles are covered, including types of variables, levels of measurement, summary statistics, estimation and confidence intervals, and Student’s t test. Emphasis is on understanding statistical presentations and on reporting statistical information.
Elements of Medical Terminology (1 credit)
This workbook is designed primarily for beginning medical writers with little or no medical background. Readers will discover how to understand the meanings of medical terms by identifying Latin and Greek word components.
Tables and Graphs (1 credit)
This workbook covers definitions and uses of tables and graphs, as well as guidelines for preparing and editing them. Designed for the beginner, the focus is on the preparation of tables and graphs that are usable, that communicate,  and that are appropriate for the situation. Problematic tables and graphs are evaluated.
Essential Ethics for Medical Communicators (1 credit)
This workbook provides a basic overview of ethical considerations with a focus on the AMWA Code of Ethics. It is designed to address the variety of ethical situations that occur in medical communication. This workbook is suitable for both entry-level and experienced medical communicators.

You can purchase AMWA Self-Study Workbooks in print or digital versions.


Available as Workshop Only

Effective Paragraphing (1 credit)
This lecture and discussion workshop provides novices and moderately experienced writers and editors with some basic paragraphing techniques for achieving clarity, readability, and desired emphasis. The objective is development of a systematic approach to analyzing and correcting text. Options for arranging paragraphs and using transitions will be demonstrated in this review course.

Establishing Style: Exploring and Developing In-House Guides (1 credit)
Why are style guides so important at a project or team level? The larger manuals, such as the American Medical Association Manual of Style (AMA), provide comprehensive guidance to medical communicators and also direct the development of internal (ie, house) style guides. This workshop introduces distinguishing style points of the major manuals and discusses optimal content and format of a house style guide. During the workshop, participants will use different major manuals to develop a project-specific house guide. Participants should have access to at least 2 major style manuals (eg, Chicago Manual of Style, AMA) for the pre-course assignment.

Outlining for Writers and Editors (1 credit)
This workshop is designed for intermediate-level writers and editors. Participants will learn to use outlining for writing and editing medical texts. Topics will include the “what, why, and how” of formal outlining and its usefulness in gaining consensus on planned content, overcoming mental blocks, and reorganizing drafts.



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