AMWA Salary Survey: Frequently Asked Questions

AMWA's 2019 Medical Communication Compensation Survey is now open.



What do I need to complete the survey?
Although the survey is being conducted in 2019, it collects information about compensation in 2018. You will need your W-2 form for 2018 handy. If you did any freelance work in 2018, you will also need your profit-loss statement. You will be asked about your employment status in 2018, income, type of employer or client, type of work, and structure of your freelance business. Freelances will be asked their hourly rates as well as the number of hours typically worked.

How long will it take?
The survey should take approximately 15 minutes to complete. If you worked as both as an employee and freelanced in 2018, or need to calculate some answers, it may take slightly longer.

Must the survey be completed in a single sitting?
No. You may save your work and return to the survey using the same email address you used to start the survey. There is a tab on each screen that allows you to save your progress to complete later. Just be sure to finish up before the survey closes on April 8, 2019.

Why should I complete the survey?
As savvy consumers of information, you know how critical it is to have appropriate representation across the field of medical communication and to have a high response rate. That is why it is important for you to participate.

Another benefit of completing the survey is that you will be able to opt in to receive an early summary of results and enter a drawing for a $100 gift card.


Who should complete the survey?
Anyone who worked for pay in 2018 as a medical communicator may take the survey. If you know someone who fits that definition and did not receive an invitation, please urge them to contact

I am a student or an AMWA student member but I also freelanced as a medical communicator in 2018. May I participate?
Yes. To request a survey invitation, please contact

I worked as a medical communicator in 2018 but am not currently a member of AMWA. May I participate?
Yes. To request a survey invitation, please contact

I am a member of AMWA but did not work as a medical communicator in 2018. Should I enter the survey?
You will be able to enter the survey using the link provided but will not be able to complete it as the survey collects compensation information for the 2018 calendar year. You will not be eligible to opt in for the early results summary or the gift card drawing.

I am an AMWA member but did not receive an invitation. Why?
Members listed as retired and those who have student memberships did not automatically receive invitations. If you worked for pay as a medical communicator during 2018, you should contact to receive an invitation.

It’s also possible that the invitation was filtered, so check your spam folder and ensure that is on your safe senders list.


The survey asks for personal information such as age and compensation. How will you protect my privacy?
A third-party vendor, Association Research Inc. (ARI), is conducting the survey and analyzing the data. They will provide AMWA with aggregated summaries of the results. The only personal information they will provide to AMWA is the name and email addresses of those who want to receive early results or be entered into the gift card drawing; those names and emails will not be linked to actual response data in the survey. No other third party or individual will have access to individual respondent data.

You obtained my email address in order to send me a survey invitation. What do you do with that information?
The email address to which the invitation was sent is linked only to a determination of whether the person using that address completed the survey. This allows ARI to calculate a response rate and to stop sending reminders to those who have completed the survey.


Note that there is a tab on each screen of the survey for Navigation Tips.

I worked as a medical communicator for only part of 2018. How do I answer the questions?
Good question. This would apply if you changed work status. Some examples: you retired during 2018; you graduated during 2018 and then started a full-time job or freelance work; you started a new job after a period of unemployment. You should estimate what your compensation would have been had you worked the full year at the job (or freelance) that was responsible for most of your medical communication income that year.

I do many different tasks as part of my employment. How should I approach the question asking me to choose the type of work I am primarily involved in as an employee?
Medical communicators do many things during a work day, so it can be difficult to answer this question. Try to identify your main role. For example, consider whether your position would be posted as a writer position or an editor position. Also consider what your employer considers to be your main function. If your position is primarily supervisory, select the function that you supervise. As another example, if your primary role is teaching (though you may do other types of medical communication as part of your job), select the “other” option and specify “teaching.”

I work in medical communications solely on a freelance basis and have not yet prepared my 2018 US tax return. How can I provide my total net income after taxes and expenses?
It would be optimal if you can provide accurate information in the survey. You could delay completion of the survey till you have had a chance to make your tax calculations. Or you could complete the survey now, using an estimate (for example, based on your quarterly taxes) and replace the estimate once you have completed your actual tax calculations. Be sure to make a note of your password when you start the survey so you can edit your responses later!

I work in medical communications solely on a freelance basis and file my US taxes jointly with my spouse. How can I provide my total net income after taxes and expenses when the tax is not calculated separately for my business?
If you are filing jointly, you could use the proportion of revenue your business contributes to the total income on the joint return to estimate how much of the tax is for your business alone. For example, if your business contributes 40% of the total income then you would calculate 40% of the total tax and then subtract that, along with other expenses, from your business’ total revenue to come up with net income.

What if I can’t answer a question precisely? Are estimates ok?
Please try to answer the questions, especially those about dollar amounts, as accurately as you can. For questions about percentages of your time, estimates are fine.

I am not paid in US Dollars. How do I answer the questions?
Please convert to US Dollars using the conversion rate as of December 31, 2018.


When and how will I see the results?
People who opted in to receive early results will receive a summary via email after the results have been analyzed by ARI and reviewed by the Task Force. This will likely be in mid-2019. An article summarizing the survey results in more will appear in the AMWA Journal. Results will be presented at the Medical Writing & Communication Conference in San Diego in November 2019. Note that survey participants’ individual data will be kept confidential and will not be accessible to anyone accessing reports.

Who will see the results?
AMWA members will have access to the article in the AMWA Journal and interactive content in the members-only area of the organization website (as well as the early results summary if they opted in). Nonmembers who opted in during the survey can see the early results summary and any public content on the AMWA website. Survey participants’ individual data will be kept confidential and will not be accessible to anyone accessing reports.

When will winners of the gift cards be notified?
After the survey closes in mid-April, AMWA will randomly draw three winners from the emails shared of those who opted in to participate in the drawing. AMWA will contact the winners via email.


These FAQs will be updated periodically.

If you did not see an answer to your question here, you may contact ARI directly at or 240-268-1262.

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