Changing careers can be a daunting prospect for anyone, let alone someone who has invested years of hard work and dedication to a certain goal, such as medical students and working physicians. After all, when studying for a medical degree, the end goal is usually a medical career involving clinical practice as a licensed physician. 

However, there are many other, potentially lucrative, career options aside from clinical medicine that require the specialized skills and knowledge acquired by studying medicine. 

For AUAMED students nearing the end of their education, and for working physicians alike, career paths are not set in stone, and it is never too late for a career change. If you are curious about some potential, non-clinical applications for a medical degree, the following list includes some of the most popular alternative career choices for doctors.

Alternative Careers for Physicians and Med Students

physician holding list of career ideas


university lecture for medical students students

For physicians who want to share their medical education and expertise, teaching can be a wonderfully rewarding career choice. 

Universities, colleges and vocational schools are always on the lookout for experienced physicians to help train the next generation. Also, jobs in educational settings often open new doors, as major universities offer interesting research opportunities, while smaller educational institutions often seek out experienced physicians for part-time or occasional teaching roles with significant flexibility. 

A career shift towards a role in the field of education can help physicians pursue matters of intellectual interest while making new contacts and making a real difference in the lives of aspiring medical professionals. Working in the education field also opens up a whole new set of opportunities related to schedule and lifestyle. 

Medical / Hospital Administration

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Experienced doctors are uniquely qualified for administrative roles in hospitals and health organizations. Delivering medical care to patients gives doctors an intimate understanding of the issues involved in administering and managing quality care in clinical settings, which can open doors to a successful career as an administrator or manager of medical services. 

Although many managerial roles require training in the fields of business or administration, applicants can get their foot in the door thanks to their medical degree because it serves as a testament to their intellect and drive. 

For some doctors, an administrative role offers a great way to transition to roles in government or private sector businesses, while others find that helping improve the quality of care through carefully crafted policies makes for an incredibly rewarding career path in its own right. 

Corporate Sector – Insurance & Pharmaceutical Companies

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Pharmaceutical and insurance companies are always in need of skilled professionals with medical training and experience. 

Within the pharmaceutical sector, research doctors are essential for new product development, and their experience is often called on for broader strategic decision making, creating lots of roles to fill for trained physicians. 

For the insurance industry, doctors are needed for their input of matters of medical specialty, such as guidelines for patient care in particular circumstances or reviewing case files and claims. 

For pharmaceutical and insurance industry employers, the medical expertise that an experienced doctor can provide is of the utmost value, as it is of central importance to the business models of both industries. 

Healthcare Consulting for IT Companies and Law Firms

legal books statue and globe on a desk

Healthcare consultants with pertinent medical experience have valuable roles to play in many industries. 

The role of doctors in the legal field is long established, with both prosecutors and defense attorneys relying on doctors as expert witnesses or for advisory roles with a larger legal team. 

The demand for doctors in the information technology field is somewhat of a new development. With the rise of telemedicine, the proliferation of health monitoring apps and the use of integrated IT systems in healthcare settings, the demand for doctors in technology fields is at an all time high. 

The growth in this field has been driven by established industry players, as well as many under-the-radar startups, giving doctors in search of new career paths many viable options. 

Medical Writing

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Many doctors make a gradual shift towards medical writing, starting out with an occasional or part-time commitment alongside their medical practice. For many, it never becomes more than a sideline, but there is more than enough work to be had for a doctor to transition into a full-time freelance writer. 

The medical expertise and experience doctors possess is essential for textbook development, peer-reviewed journals and popular publications. And there are many interesting niches available to doctors who speak multiple languages because qualified medical translators are few and far between. In any of these roles, doctors can often work remotely on a freelance basis, giving them a great balance of intellectual stimulation and professional flexibility.