However, a medical degree isn’t quite so transferable as other scientific/biological degree qualifications. Therefore, many who get to the end of their medical training feel that all that’s available to them is the end point of becoming a doctor. That’s understandable, as undertaking a medical degree is a huge commitment, both in terms of time and finances. The quest to seek and understand options for alternative careers for doctors is becoming more and more popular.
Despite the increasing uptake, it can be a minefield and daunting when it comes to exploring alternative careers. If you’ve been single-minded and focused until now, understanding what transferable skills you can bring to another role can be difficult to work out alone.
Supporting you to explore alternative careers for doctors
I offer a career package that helps you to investigate a myriad of choices that exist as other non-clinical career options. Whilst it’s helpful to have sight of all those options, choosing one of them may not be so easy!
With my career package we will discuss your strengths, values, qualities, likes/dislikes to help you to get to know yourself again as to who you are now. Your medical training and career may have changed your outlook on your career and it’s normal that our priorities may change as we get older. We will look at which potential careers could give you the job satisfaction that you hoped you would get from becoming a doctor. Importantly, we’ll narrow down those choices until you are sure about where you want to head next and we can then focus on rebranding you for your new chosen career route. That may include a new CV/Linked in profile/cover letters, etc. My goal is to help you find balance and career fulfilment. Everyone deserves that opportunity.
You can find out more here about one of my Career Coaching packages.
Below is an A-Z list of alternative careers for doctors.
A-Z alternative careers for doctors
- Aesthetics – this is popular and fast-gowing area for clinicians as clients often feel more confident to have aesthetic procedures done with a medically-trained professional; aesthetic medicine involves the use of non-surgical procedures to change an individual’s appearance, including dermal fillers, botox and chemical peels
- Aviation/Aerospace Medicine – involves being responsible for the health and safety of crew and passengers in flight, fitness to fly, physiology of man in space, and the application of clinical medical knowledge to the practice of aviation medicine (a subspeciality of occupational medicine) www.aerosociety.com
- Armed Forced Medicine – Delivering medical support to the British Army, the Royal Navy, and the Royal Air Force (RAF). Doctors in the Army are also officers and provide medical care for soldiers and their families, within the UK or abroad. You may apply at any stage of your medical career and is possible to arrange as a short-term commitment only. www.healthcareers.nhs.uk
- Benefits Assessor – The Independent Assessment Services (delivered by ATOS) and MAXIMUS recruit doctors to carry out assessments for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). They are in place to determine a client’s entitlement to Employment and Support Allowance.
- Charity Administration – There are a number of health-related or medical research charities that would be seeking a professional with medical knowledge and experience. www.prospects.ac.uk ; www.amrc.org.uk
- Civil Service – The civil service includes a number of different departments, agencies and public bodies including the Department of Health, Healthcare Commission, Health Protection Agency, Medical Research Council. They offer separate entry routes for experienced professionals and a fast track route of entry for graduates. www.gov.uk
- Clinical academics – a doctor of any speciality whose work includes both patient care and research alongside teaching and lecturing. The integrated academic pathway offers a route into academics medics at any stage of their career. www.healthcareers.nhs.uk
- Clinical forensic medical examiner (forensic physician) – Work can range from dealing with patients in police custody to victims of sexual offences. The majority of forensic medicine is within private companies such as Mountain Healthcare, Mite, G4 and CRG. Most of these companies provide training to doctors after completion of FY2. www.forensic-science-society.org.uk
- Complementary Medicine – defined as treatments which are combined along with conventional medical treatments including, chiropractic, osteopathy, homeopathy, herbalism and acupuncture www.collegeofmedicine.org.uk
- Diving Medicine – qualified physicians whose work may involve diving research and training, diving-related injuries and “fitness to dive” medical examinations www.ddrc.org
- Expedition Medicine provide medical care to organized groups in amazing parts of the world! They would be responsible from everything from risk assessment of the environment and activities to managing those who become ill or injured and arranging emergency evacuation. www.worldextrememedicine.com
- Functional medicine – a popular area of medicine gaining a big following in recent years allowing many doctors to start their own private practice. It is based on a biology-based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease. The Institute for Functional Medicine founded in the USA provides UK training at the annual AFMCP 5 day course.
- Health Economics– studying the functioning of the healthcare system. Their objective is to obtain maximum value for money by ensuring cost-effectiveness as well as clinical effectiveness of healthcare provision. www.ohe.org
- Health Policy – the process of assessing and choosing between spending and resource alternatives which affect the healthcare system and the health of the general public. www.who.int
- Health Service Management – responsible for the provision and commissioning of local healthcare through the management of hospital, GP and community health services. The NHS also offers graduate training schemes in finance, human resources general management, health analysis, health informatics and strategy. www.healthcareers.nhs.uk
- Health Technology – health tech is a very popular growing field (Covid has further advanced progress). It can include everything from apps, record systems, machine learning and medical appliances. A good resource is The Association of British Health Tech Industries
- Healthcare Scientist – work in one of four main areas including clinical bioinformatics, life sciences, physical science and bioengineering, physiological sciences. You can work within the NHS or a private hospital, in a laboratory or at a university.
- Lifestyle Medicine – as healthcare is moving towards individual ownership of patients’ health including self-empowerment, this focuses on making better lifestyle choices. It involves educating others on making better choices on issues of diet, exercise, sleep, alcohol and good mental health. It is based on the principles of positive psychology and motivates others to make healthier lifestyle choices. The British Society of Lifestyle Medicine provides details on membership and diploma qualifications.
- Management Consultancy – Management consultants are employed by organisations to provide an objective appraisal of their company and to initiate and implement strategies for improvement and progression. A popular choice is in healthcare consultancy. This is often a lucrative career choice for those who may wish to build a portfolio career or to leave medicine altogether. www.prospects.ac.uk
- Medical Education – providing education related to becoming and developing as a doctor, either at medical school or postgraduate level. Working as a lecturer in academia usually follows a PhD and postgraduate research experience. There are many ways to get involved including, lecturing, creating and running courses, and writing exam questions.
- Medical Journalism a specific form of journalism focusing on medical subjects for a variety of media including newspapers, magazines, professional journals or TV and radio. www.mjauk.org
- Medical Politics & Ethics – a rewarding and exciting way to make a different to healthcare workers or patient care. You could have the opportunity to get involved in medical ethics, strategy development, medical defense unions, research and risk management. A good starting point could be to get involved in the BMA or other medical bodies and/or take a course in medical ethics. www.healthcarecareers.nhs.uk
- Medical Research – involves the planning and conducting of experiments to collect data to improve scientific knowledge in the medical field. It may be helpful to have research and audit experience alongside writing grant applications. Some PhD studentships will allow you to study for a PhD whilst carrying out research work. Employment opportunities could be within academia, industry, medical research charities, research institutes and hospital labs. www.healthcarecareers.nhs.uk
- Medical Translation – they would produce alternative versions of original medical materials in other languages. As you already have a good understanding of medical terminology, this provides an excellent foundation alongside your ability to speak and understand another language. www.gtstranslation.com
- Medical Tribunal Member – providing medical opinion as part of a panel to make decisions on appeals about disability benefits. The Judicial Appointments Commission provides recruitment opportunities every couple of years. If you sign up to their newsletter, you would receive updates of when they are next recruiting.
- Medical Writing (MedComms) – This is technically challenging work that requires medical knowledge and you would be expected to work to tight deadlines. MedComms aims to improve both professional and public understanding of medicine and science through clear and effective communication. www.emwa.org; www.medcommsnetworking.com
- Medical Law – Dual qualifications in medicine and law are highly sought after, particularly for senior roles in risk management for health trusts or coroners. Or Opportunities can also be found in medical defence organisations. Law firms also look out for people specializing in medical law. lawsociety.org.uk; www.sodil.co.uk
- Occupational Medicine– Occupational Health Physicians (OHP) generally work in a consultancy or advisory capacity and deals with the relationship between work and health. They aim to prevent injuries and illness that can occur as a result of work and aim to support the rehabilitation of people back into the workforce. www.som.org.uk
- Pharmaceutical Medicine (Pharma) – There many varied roles for doctors in pharma including research, clinical pharmacology, medical affairs, medical advisory and medicines safety. Patient contact is limited but still possible in clinical trials.There is also aspecialist training pathway in pharmaceutical medicine. www.abpi.org.uk
- Prison Health Service – This would involve providing a GP service to prison inmates. You would be expected to have experience in emergency medicine, primary care, communicable diseases, drug use and mental health. There is a free course available which covers all human rights and ethics. www.gov.uk
- Public health – this speciality aims to support the health of a general population rather than at an individual level. The role can vary from responding to outbreaks of a disease to the long-term planning of healthcare and health education. There is a public health speciality training pathway offered by fph.org.uk, as well as a portfolio route to being a Public Health consultant. The broad sector includes numerous other careers besides medicine.
- Sport & Exercise Medicine – doctors who are trained in the delivery of musculoskeletal and exercise medicine. There is a growing number of roles available within the NHS but most practitioners work in the private sector. Opportunities are available within sports teams such as the armed forces, football clubs and universities. www.fsem.ac.uk
- Travel Medicine – a broad interdisciplinary speciality which may involve working in infectious diseases, tropical medicine, public health, occupation medicine and primary care. The London School of Hygiene and Medicine and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine offer a range of programmes and courses (list unis)
- Voluntary Work Abroad – this can offer great opportunities to make a real difference supporting vulnerable communities whilst also expanding new skills. There are a number of opportunities to get involved in medical response teams for disasters and crises around the world, with companies synch as VSO international, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF)and REDR UK. The Apothecaries offer a Diploma in the Medical Care of Catastrophies for those who are interested in joining medical response teams
Or, of course, you may wish to choose another career which is completely non-medical such as a property investor or opening up a restaurant!
If you are seeking an alternative career as a doctor but really don’t know where to start, book in for one of my free consultations to see how I could help you. It can be a daunting prospect to consider leaving medicine but there is a huge range of exciting possibilities potentially available to you. What’s the harm in looking ….?!