Non-clinical career options for MDs

February 1, 2016

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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Working as a doctor may provide a lifetime of rewards and excitement, but it can also be stressful and challenging. Being involved in difficult life and death decisions and working very long hours is a lot to cope with. There may be instances where doctors find themselves wanting a break from the clinical duties of the job. In some cases, doctors who have worked in the field for a while may need a new challenge. In others, new physicians may start to realize that clinical medicine is not the best fit for their personality.

Luckily, there are plenty of options for doctors to utilize their medical degree and knowledge without being involved in clinical care. Consider the following options:

Informational technology

Most hospitals are implementing electric medical records. Doctors can play a role in developing software applications, implementing systems in hospitals and troubleshooting software problems. Working in information technology is a chance for a doctor to use their medical knowledge while also do something completely different.

Hospital administration

Hospital administrators handle the overall operation of a hospital or healthcare facility. Although working in administration may not be for everyone, it can be an interesting career path for some doctors; especially those who don’t want to provide direct patient care, but still wish to make a difference. Being on the other side of things can offer a new challenge, and an opportunity to improve the system. Doctors with a business degree may have the advantage when looking for administrator positions.

Working with a pharmaceutical company

Pharmaceutical companies hire doctors to work in various capacities. Physicians may be needed to research the effectiveness of certain drugs and conduct clinical trials. Doctors may also be involved in the marketing and sales of medications. Physicians who are looking for a job outside a healthcare facility may enjoy working in the corporate world.

Medical writing

For doctors who enjoy writing, there are a lot of opportunities for medical writers. For example, doctors are often hired to write textbooks, articles and marketing material. There are opportunities for editing and writing in various industries, such as pharmaceutical companies, medical publications and news outlets. Doctors are also hired to be expert advisors for health and medical websites as well as medical publications. Some medical writers are freelancers, which may be an appealing option for some. It is also something that can be pursued on the side while making the transition away from clinical work.


Teaching may be an obvious option for doctors who want to move away from clinical work but still use their medical expertise. Teaching jobs are available at universities and medical schools. Since doctors often do a lot of education in their jobs, such as teaching residents and patients, the transition may be easy for many physicians. Preparing the next generation of physicians can be a rewarding and enjoyable career for doctors who are looking to do something different.

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Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives, dentists and physician assistants – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.