Throughout my recruiting career, I’ve often received many calls from physicians who are looking for jobs doing something other than practicing medicine. On average I consistently receive a few inquiries each week from physicians seeking non-clinical jobs for a variety of reasons.
Reasons Physicians Seek Non-Clinical Jobs:
Some of the physicians looking for non-clinical careers are new parents seeking better, more flexible hours, or jobs that allow them to work from home. Other physicians have years of experience in medical practice, but are looking for something new due to burnout or boredom. Many physicians are generally disenchanted with the business of practicing medicine due to managed care and declining reimbursements.
Some Examples of Non-clinical Job Options for Physicians:
Whatever the reason for seeking non-clinical jobs, physicians do have a number of options, including:
- Medical Writer
- Medical Director in medical device industry, pharmaceutical industry, or other healthcare product or service
- Hospital/Healthcare Executive
- Physician Entrepreneur - start your own business for a healthcare product or service
Job Market for Physicians Seeking Non-clinical Careers:
As a physician seeking a non-clinical job, you may find that your skills are not in as high of a demand in a non-clinical role as they are for medical practice opportunities.
Even though you have a medical degree, the competition for non-clinical jobs is greater than for medical practice positions. Therefore, you may need to be prepared to be a bit less selective in your career choices. You’ll still be in better shape than job-seekers without a medical degree, but you will not find the availability of non-clinical jobs to be as great as the variety of opportunities for clinical practice.
Resources for Physicians Seeking Non-clinical Jobs:
- HealthEcareers Job Site: HealthEcareers contains a section for administrative and executive physician careers.
- SEAK: SEAK is a company that provides professional training and development in a variety of fields, including non-clinical physician careers. I don’t know enough about their results to endorse this company, but I have spoken with several physicians who seemed satisfied with the training.
The Entrepreneurial MD: Philippa Kennealy MD, MPH, is an author offering books, classes, and blogs devoted to helping physicians to become successful entrepreneurs. Of course, I’ve not personally utilized these products or services, but I’ve been following Dr. Kennealy's updates on Twitter, and she seems to have a lot of valuable ideas and knowledge to share, including personal, first-hand experience.
Compensation for Non-Clinical Physician Careers:
Compensation is going to vary based on the role you choose. However, based on what I've seen, I'd say that, on average, the compensation will be, at best, comparable with that of a primary care physician, which is in the mid- to high $100,000s.
Therefore, if you are a surgeon or highly specialized physician who has been in practice for a number of years, the compensation for non-clinical careers may not be an option for you. However, many physicians seek the transition into non-clinical careers after they have put their kids through college and paid for their home, and may not need to earn over $200,000 any longer.
Therefore, depending on your family and financial situation, working in a non-clinical role may or may not be an option for you.