10 Alternative Careers for Physicians and Med Students

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Jul 3, 2018

Jul 3, 2018 • by Rebecca Smith

What do you do when you know you want to pursue a career in the medical field, but you don't want to become a doctor? Or, what about if you're tired of being a doctor and you want to switch careers, but stay in the medical field?

You start looking at alternative careers for physicians, of course.

We know what you're thinking. "What possible careers in medicine could I go into and make a lot of money if I don't want to be a doctor?"

The truth of the matter is, there are quite a few alternatives to being a doctor that makes great money, without the stress that a doctor can sometimes be under.

So, what are these well-paying, non-doctor jobs you ask? Keep reading and find out!

10 Alternative Careers for Physicians

We want to clarify that you will not find entry-level healthcare jobs in this section. Instead, you are going to find careers that are higher up the ladder, so to speak.

Now, let's get on with the options!

1. Hospital Administration

Who better to have a hand in how a hospital or healthcare facility runs than an experienced doctor? The experienced physician has a better understanding of how a hospital runs. By joining the healthcare management career, doctors can make necessary changes within healthcare.

To get in this field, you'll have to get a master's degree in either:

  • health services administration
  • public administration
  • business administration

2. Pharmaceutical Medicine

More and more doctors are turning to pharmaceuticals - and it's not to fill prescriptions. Doctors (or even someone considering various careers after medical school) could work in:

  • medical advertisement
  • medical advisory panels
  • research and development
  • drug trials

3. Health Journalist

Journalism is a very competitive field to get into to. Yes, most people going into this career path will have an art or social science background. But, you can use your years of experience and scientific credentials to set you apart.

In this field, your role will be to translate medical breakthroughs in a way that's easy to understand.

This is a great choice for people want to be in alternative medical careers where they can be creative.

4. Medical Translator

Doctors also have the option of becoming a medical translator. With the knowledge from medical school, doctors can translate documents into other languages. Of course, it's worth noting that you have to be fluent in that foreign language.

If you can't find open positions anywhere, you can set up alerts from job boards to let you notify you of openings.

5. Clinical Forensic Medical Examiner

When you were growing up, did you ever dream that you'd work in the law enforcement field? Even though you may have completed medical school, you can still work in that field.

How? By becoming a clinical forensic medical examiner. But, unlike forensic pathologists, you will examine the living.

In this career, you will need a bachelor's degree in the natural sciences on top of your medical degree. Also, you'll need to have completed your residency and have a medical license. With that said, this is the perfect career move for an experienced physician.

6. Medical Photographer

Are you tired of being by the book and want to have a career where you can be more creative? You do have health journalism, but there's also the career of a medical photographer.

Medical photographers are an essential part of the healthcare team. Their photographs measure and analyze diseases and injuries. The photos are also included in medical or scientific reports, and research papers.

To become a medical photographer, you'll need specialized photography skills and equipment. With these tools, you'll take photographs of complex situations that call for:

  • micrography
  • macrography
  • thermal imaging
  • time-lapse cinematography
  • endoscopy

7. Sports and Exercise Medicine

As of 2005, sports and exercise medicine (SEM) is a specialized practice. This practice specializes in sports-related injuries and common conditions. They also work to reduce and prevent non-communicable diseases.

In this role, your daily functions can include:

  • diagnose and treat musculoskeletal injuries
  • oversee and put in place a rehab program
  • use your expertise to consult with other healthcare professionals
  • develop and set public health policies for physical activity
  • work with health authorities and the public to promote a healthy lifestyle

8. Teacher

The work of a doctor also involves some teaching on some level. Think back to your residency. As you're learning your craft, you're learning it all from a practicing doctor.

At some point in your career, whether as a resident or an attending physician, you'll have to give lectures. These lectures will have to be informative and instructional. So, if you're going to be teaching to some degree as a doctor, why not become a teacher?

As a teacher, you'll be able to shape the minds of physician hopefuls. You'll be able to expand their understanding and knowledge of the medical field. With your expertise, you can shape the next generation of medical professionals!

9. Veterinarian

If you love animals as much as you love helping people, becoming a veterinarian is a no-brainer. In this field, you will be focusing on the health and well-being of animals instead of people.

To get into this line of work, you'll have to enroll in veterinary school and get a degree in veterinary medicine. Even after, you'll still need to get licensed for veterinary medicine.

Yes, it's true that becoming a vet is almost as intense as becoming a doctor, but this career field is as rewarding!

10. Medical Legal Advisor

As a medical-legal advisor, you get to lend your expertise to the legal system. You'll be responsible for managing legal cases that fall within your specialty. You may even have to appear on the stand in court cases.

If you're looking for an exciting career where no two days are the same, this is perfect!

Final Thoughts on Alternative Careers for Physicians

There's no denying that becoming a doctor is hard work and takes a lot of time. But, with all that time and effort, it's rewarding when you can make a difference in someone's life.

With these career alternatives, you'll still be able to help people. You'll still be able to make an impact. You'll still be able to use your medical knowledge but in a different capacity.

Leave a comment below and tell us what career alternative sounds most appealing to you!