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Hi, I'm a practicing small animal veterinarian. I'm interested in pursuing a career in medical editing or proofreading. Can someone help guide me toward additional courses/degree I would need or how to break into this field. My degreees are in science only. Thanks! Joan

Hi Joan,

I'm assuming you are referring to copy editing. There is a field called Scientific, technical, and medical (STM) editing that is pretty specialized. You would need training.

Here are some of the things a STM copy editor is required to know:

  • Good working practice
  • The principles behind scientific conventions and units
  • Maths - the conventions
  • Analysing some mark-up problems
  • Tables - creation and make-up
  • Language and style
  • Illustrations and copyrights
  • Mark-up and adapting existing material
  • When can a diagram be treated as text?
  • Graphs- types and mark-up
  • Structuring material
  • Generic and specific mark-up
  • The roles of design and editorial
  • Reference materials - where to find them and how to use them
  • References and bibliographies - conventions and mark-up
  • The future - on- screen editing, DTP, on-line publications

The following links will get you further in touch with this field. The first two links should be helpful, the others have information that may educate you more about it.


A decent college, with extensive scientific, technical programs will have a class or two in STM copy editing. The other thing to look for are copy editing associations or societies in your area that will have workshops, etc.

It's a good field to be in. There is a lot of call for STM copy editors because so many technical journals are converting to digital publishing.

Good luck in your pursuits!

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