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January 1, 1970
September 23, 2022

Are you burned out from the stress and impacts of demanding medical work the COVID-19 pandemic created? After a couple of years of working long hours in high-stress environments and facing a poor work-life balance, many physicians are opting for a career change. 

Luckily, your medical degree allows you to keep practicing medicine (although perhaps in a new environment) or pursue alternative careers where your medical expertise will be an asset.

Nowadays, more physicians desire the freedom of having their own schedule. Whether you're nearing retirement age or suffering significant burnout, a new career can increase personal fulfillment and improve your work-life balance. Keep reading to discover ten viable alternative career paths suited for physicians.

Five Alternative Health-Related Jobs for Physicians That Don't Involve Clinical Practice

Depending on your medical degree, you may be eligible for a particular job because of your education or medical experience. Physicians interested in leaving clinical medicine have many options thanks to their expertise in the medical field. 

Alternative career options in the field include medical writing, consulting, and healthcare speaking.

Medical Education Jobs for Physicians

A physician looking to impact future medical professionals can utilize their medical expertise in educational settings. Medical schools seek experienced physicians to guide continuing education programs, teach medical students, and more.

Medical universities have higher demands for research and faculty participation. Some physicians may even teach other clinicians. Teaching undergraduate courses, such as anatomy and physiology, at a community college might also be a viable option for a burned-out physician.

Medical educators are in constant demand. While a physician may not need a teaching degree in some states, others do require it. Experience working as an educator can also open opportunities for research and development positions.

A physician has many options due to the wide variation in medical education opportunities.

Healthcare Consultant

Startups and top companies both have a high demand for physicians with a past medical career. Physicians have knowledge that's valuable to many businesses. Healthcare consultants can work publicly or partner with a private practice.

Healthcare consulting spans industries including technology, pharmaceuticals, and financials. Government agencies, private sector businesses, medical device companies, and pharmaceutical companies hire physicians to advise them on healthcare consumption, product development, and more.

Physicians interested in expanding their impact on the healthcare system may enjoy a career in healthcare consulting. Consultants at top companies have a significant influence on the medical industry. A knowledgeable physician can advise businesses on beneficial acquisitions, guide substantial transactions, and test new products. 

Medical Writer or Editor

If you're looking to avoid a traditional medical career, consider being a freelance medical writer or editor. Healthcare publications and websites need writers to create informational articles. Specialized physicians might consider writing a textbook or submitting to a medical journal.

If you seek an editing career, medical device companies need editors for technical documents. Medical editors verify the accuracy of other writers' work. Pharmaceutical companies also use editors to ensure that all scientific writing is clear and concise.

Being a medical writer is a worthwhile job for many burned-out physicians, as it provides an excellent work-life balance. Many freelance medical writers work remotely. If you want to earn at your own pace, this career path is also ideal.

Medical writers and editors require excellent command of grammar, tone, and style. An English or liberal arts degree is helpful, although having medical experience is often enough to be successful.

Corporate Physician Jobs and Insurance Medicine

Corporate jobs at hospitals include administrative positions such as medical director, which involves handling essential hospital operations. An ex-physician holds high standards for direct patient care and can improve organizational challenges with their experience.

A background in business is also beneficial for administrative positions. Physicians can take independent courses to gain the necessary education and credentials. Degrees in marketing, finance, management, sales, and operations are helpful. Some physicians may even participate in a duel MBA/MD degree program to focus their career on administrative and management opportunities.

Physicians rely heavily on past education in the corporate world. Medical insurance companies hire physicians to confirm injury claims and read charts. Other duties include creating patient care regulations and case management.

Some professionals process appeals and certify cases. Work can be remote or in-person but primarily remains behind the computer. You'll need excellent communication skills, experience with software, and ample medical knowledge for success with insurance.

Physicians in corporate pharmaceutical positions may recommend product growth paths, develop new medical equipment, test medications, or perform significant research. Additionally, they may lend experience when handling healthcare finances.

Speak at Healthcare Events

Medical degrees allow you to have diverse and unusual experiences across the medical field. Whether you worked for hospitals, ran a medical practice, or already have experience with an alternative career, healthcare professionals are in great demand. Speaking at healthcare events is another career path that can lead to significant opportunities.

Healthcare events cover emerging technology, current practices, and more. Physicians interested in a career change for something independent can lend their expertise to large-scale medical conferences and other notable forums.

You don't have to be a public speaking expert. Many events seek professional speakers to share their experiences from their medical careers. If you have specialty experience regarding patient care, you can speak at conferences, physicians' meetings, and other events.

Particularly in the last two years, virtual healthcare events have become a popular way to discuss healthcare topics. Speaking at these events can inspire other professionals, provide helpful insight, and attract funding. Investors, potential customers, and other doctors can access information from these meetings.

Healthcare events are excellent ways to expand your professional networks as a physician. Speaking at a healthcare event positions you as an authority in front of peers. Other professional opportunities can find you through increased exposure.

Five Alternative Jobs for Physicians That Involve Still Practicing Medicine

Suppose you're tired of your specific duties or healthcare facility. You don't have to leave medicine behind to find fulfilling work. A physician can find suitable clinical opportunities in telehealth, student health, and concierge medicine without leaving the field.

Contrary to popular belief, working outside a hospital or clinic does not pay less than a traditional clinical practice. Physicians can make excellent income from alternative careers while still practicing medicine. 

Freelance jobs for physicians (usually referred to as locum tenens positions) are plentiful and provide new challenges. Many alternative careers for physicians allow you to set your own hours while continuing clinical work. The following careers will give you flexibility and fulfillment if you need a change.

Student Health

Many universities offer essential student health services to encourage students' health and meet their medical needs. Physicians in student health services treat students on campus. A physician interested in treating young adults may find rewarding work in a student health office.

Student health services also promote wellness and health education. A student health physician often distributes information on safe sex practices or necessary vaccines and provides resources on tobacco and alcohol cessation programs. A physician at a small campus health center may also offer fitness and nutrition assistance.

Versatile physicians succeed in this position. A student health physician may perform the duties of a general physician, mental health counselor, phlebotomist, and more. Physicians address students' physical and emotional concerns and handle laboratory and pharmaceutical needs.

Most student health services are open 24 hours. If you enjoy working lengthy or night shifts, a student health physician career may be right for you.

Correctional Medicine

Physicians looking for a challenge in the field should consider correctional medicine. A physician in this position will oversee all care for prison inmates. The nature of these patients' backgrounds and medical history warrants extensive experience.

A correctional medicine physician must address past and current health issues. As neglect and severe health issues are common among the incarcerated, patience, thoroughness and preparedness are essential for effective healthcare. Physicians must prepare for emergencies, chronic care needs, after-hours care, and more.

The risks of being in a more hostile environment may vary depending on your position. While some physicians are suited for patient care, others see to administrative issues. 

A correctional facility physician will set standards for patient care and medical procedures. Individuals in this position must stay attuned to patients' needs, community concerns, facility security, and court records. They must balance training other staff, supervising patients, and treating individuals' medical problems.

Correctional physicians may also deal with legal situations, including transgender care, sexual abuse, and compassionate release. In other cases, a physician may fulfill court-ordered treatment or testify in court.

One benefit of correctional medicine is that many prisons and detention centers are government facilities, which may offer long-term contracts and many times accept a medical license from any state.


Traditional clinical medicine is slowly becoming a thing of the past. Thanks to technology, running a virtual practice is possible from anywhere in the world. Physicians desiring freedom can quickly transfer to telemedicine.

Telemedicine is an affordable alternative to in-person treatment. It makes medical care more accessible. A physician providing treatment through telemedicine can help more patients get the care they need.

State requirements vary regarding telemedicine. Many board-eligible physicians must meet state-specific criteria to practice telemedicine within that state.

Telemedicine's flexibility allows you to work on a freelance basis or remotely with an existing practice. Physicians starting additional endeavors can continue primary care or specialized treatment through virtual appointments.

Physicians may face challenges with the increased patient rate and communication limitations. Clear communicators with multitasking abilities will excel in a telemedicine position.

Concierge Medicine

Concierge medicine allows burned-out physicians the flexibility to set their own schedules and take on a certain number of patients. They build better relationships with their patients and provide individualized treatment. Some even offer in-home care.

A concierge physician retains clients for monthly or yearly periods. The exclusive nature of concierge treatment allows physicians to charge more for essential treatment. A physician opting for concierge medicine as their new career will primarily meet the medical challenges of wealthy individuals.

In addition to meeting basic medical needs, a concierge service provider may take labs and treat minor conditions. Self-employed professionals can choose the treatment options they offer. You can also charge for extra services, such as same-day appointments.

With the rise of both technology and the COVID-19 pandemic, telemedicine poses as an attractive option for a concierge physician. Maintaining a virtual practice offers significantly less overhead than having an office and allows you to skip in-home visits, providing concierge services directly to patients.

Patients are willing to pay more for convenience. A physician seeking a full-time salary with a fraction of the hours will find reward in offering concierge services. Direct billing makes it easy to track clients' payments.

Locum Tenens Physician

Becoming a locum tenens physician is another solution that many burned out physicians take in order to continue practicing medicine. Locum tenens physicians contract at hospitals or clinics for short periods of time, typically weeks to months but sometimes up to a year or more. 

Locum tenens physicians enjoy the flexibility that allows them to choose their work environment, location and schedule while still working in their specialty. Older physicians can use locum tenens to transition from working full-time to part-time or from working to semi-retirement. 

Some physicians use locum tenens to build their resume and evaluate options for their future. Having the ability to travel and work at new locations allows physicians to expand their personal network as well as their clinical skills.

Locum tenens providers have full control over their working experience. If you are interested in finding a locum tenens assignment, click the button below to sign up and start viewing jobs today. 

People Also Ask

What other jobs can physicians do?

In addition to the many medical jobs physicians can do, many former doctors find success in other industries. Legal careers, entrepreneurial endeavors, and many nonclinical positions are suitable for a physician. Demands for medical expertise extend to many different industries. You can find jobs in line with your hobbies, interests, and values.

A physician interested in litigation may offer services as an expert witness in personal injury settlements or disability cases. They may give their opinion on a patient or lend helpful advice to a judge. They also work alongside lawyers to improve in-court representation.

Others take advantage of entrepreneurial opportunities, including developing new products or creating startup companies. Having medical experience provides significant benefits when making early business decisions. A physician may also become an effective sales representative or inventor.

Freelance opportunities provide excellent variety. Medical coaching empowers other physicians and helps prevent burnout, while hospice work is ideal for compassionate individuals. Some may even volunteer with non-profit organizations.

What jobs can doctors do outside of medicine?

A physician isn't limited to medical careers. Medical expertise and education can be helpful in unlikely situations. Professionals with medical knowledge can take on everything from financial advising to digital marketing.

Some examples of jobs suitable for physicians outside of medicine include chief executive officers, financial advisors, software specialists, and project coordinators. You can transfer skills you developed during your medical career to most other jobs. Some call for additional experience, which you can achieve through further education on on-the-job training.

A physician's leadership and decision-making skills provide an excellent mindset for a CEO or project coordinator position. If you're familiar with the administrative needs of running a hospital, you can open your own business following similar principles. Experience with medical software and administrative challenges is also valuable.

The financial industry can also benefit from a physician's knowledge. Investors can utilize your medical knowledge to purchase shares in companies. Combined with administrative knowledge, a physician can serve as an industry authority for crucial business decisions.