I created this list to help those of you who are in the process of losing your medical license or those of you who are burnt out from medicine. The main message is that just because your medical career is ending, it doesn’t mean that you can’t earn good money and be a productive member of society.
Alternative Career Income
It’s wrong to compare the income you make as a physician to income from other careers. Being a physician is expensive – in many ways. For some of us medicine isn’t worth practicing unless you’re paying us damn near half a million.
Also, in these alternative careers, the income you make initially isn’t the income you will end with. Some careers start off with shitty pay but end in 6-figure salaries with bonuses.
The following list is mostly focusing on income you can earn north of $100k without having to start your own business or get another degree. Most of these are employment positions with a low barrier to entry.
1. Private Tutoring
This is the only one on the list that requires you to start your own business. But I included it because it’s really easy finding clients: your fellow doctors.
Doctors have kids and their kids need tutoring. The difference is that most physicians appreciate the value of education and are willing to pay a lot for it.
2. Healthcare Administrator
Many hate the word administrator and those who have done it might be equally put off by it. But if you are running a sustainable surgery center or dialysis center, you might feel as though you’re making a difference.
Some insurance companies and medical groups can be great places for a physician to establish a career. Not all such companies are evil or exist purely for the sake of profit.
One issue with this is that you might have to have an active medicine license in certain states to perform admin work as a physician. But it’s still a familiar alternative career for physicians.
3. Office Manager
Don’t poo-poo this. I knew an RN who was an office manager for an urgent care in which she eventually bought into. It sold for millions of dollars and she was handsomely rewarded.
Running a busy medical or dental practice can be rewarding but it can also feel dry and administrative; depends on your personality type.
The best office managers I’ve known have been previous nurses. Being an office manager as an alternative career in medicine makes the most sense to me. Most of us have worked with physicians and know how yo deal with staff.
And don’t forget, some clinics exist mostly online. In the future some of us might be office managers for a telemedicine company.
Whether you teach at a college level or graduate level, the income is usually decent. The work is predictable and with current teaching software, the work is much easier than it used to be.
You don’t have to be a traditional professor. Maybe you’ll train healthcare staff on new technology for a software or device company.
5. Clinical Research Coordinator
This might sound clinical but it’s mostly administrative. Having a background in medicine makes us great candidates for this. The work involves mostly project management.
Drug and device manufacturers pay good money to those who can oversee a clinical research protocol. It’s heavy on multitasking but the work will definitely be easier than clinical medicine.
6. Human Resources
HR might sound like a 4-letter word but the income can be impressive and the work doesn’t have to be terrible. Compensation managers, for example, are mostly in charge of overseeing teams.
The reason I added this one is because a lot of medical groups and hospital systems have complicated benefit packages for their physicians. Who better to deal with those type-A’s than another doctor.
7. Public Relations
Yeap, PR. Don’t think about the person who manages a movie star. Think about the face of any company or organization. From the Red Cross to a pharmacy chain.
To be good at Public Relations you have to be able to communicate well with other professionals. You will likely write a lot of communiqué and oversee public outreach projects.
8. Health Information Technology
This field is broad. A health informaticist deals with the intersection of healthcare and technology. And healthcare has been in the dark ages for several decades – which makes this a potentially popular career choice in the future.
From implementing a new EHR to securing HPI. From building machine learning algorithms to gathering population data. Though there are degrees you can get in HIT, many physicians who work in this space transitioned into the jobs without previous training.
“When I retire, I want to buy a big plot of land and have my own farm.” I’ve heard this line from several doctors. I think it’s in our blood to cultivate shit. Don’t think that farming is a piece of shit career.
With urban farming and permaculture science, there are innovative ways for small-scale farming to be lucrative. You’re not growing 10 different crops and spraying pesticide everywhere. Most high-income, small-scale farmers specialize in 2-3 crops and grow them for quality rather than quantity.
10. Wellness Coordinator
If you’re into personal health and fitness then you can earn a 6-figure salary directing a wellness program for a large company.
You’re mostly in charge of creating wellness curriculums and engaging employees. It’s great for the bubbly personality type who can oversee such programs.
“Employee Health” is a popular phrase these days.
11. Lab Coordinator
I’m not talking about large commercial laboratories which we’re familiar with. Instead, there are many new companies which are coming up with specialized lab testing.
These will look for lab coordinators and managers with strong clinical backgrounds. The work can feel a bit like “sales” from my research but you’ll also be doing a lot of administrative work.
12. Personal Finance
If you’ve been around a lot of money and managed a lot of debt then you understand personal finance. You might even have some interest in working with individual clients to manage their financial lives.
Because of their high income, many financial advisors focus on physician clients. For this and other reasons you can find physicians who have transitioned to work in the personal finance space.
3 replies on “Alternative Careers Outside of Medicine”
You forgot Medical Board Investigator.
It pays quite well. If you have 10 years of experience practicing medicine, you can make $240,000 a year along with amazing benefits working for a medical board as the lead physician for the medical board. The investigators themselves are usually previous cops or military people – they have experience in “getting information out of people”, usually through subtle intimidation tactics.
I actually believe that a lot of good can be done by having good-hearted and well-intentioned doctors representing us. But think about it, a doctor who loves what they do, namely seeing patients, they aren’t going to take on a position to investigate other doctors! Even then, they have to answer to the attorney general and they’ll have to go through audits every 3 years…. so you can imagine the kinda docs who are gonna go after those kinds of jobs.
Clinical Research Coordinator is probably the best alternative career outside of medicine. It’s far the most relevant one.