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Non-Clinical Job Alternatives For Physicians

non clinical jobs for physician

Let’s face it, doing a clinical 9-to-5 gets more than a little stale for physicians out there.

That’s not to say that the job isn’t rewarding. But there’s a reason why you’re all on this website, and 95% of it is because you want to retire, at least, from the clinical part of it all. But what does a doctor do if not practice?

Well, it turns out? A bunch of things.

The days of the usual med-grad to consultant era are over. There are plenty of reasons for physicians to leave the clinical life behind, from health issues and burnout to simply wanting to try new things. 

But there are so many other directions your career can take that aren’t just about sitting at a desk at a clinic somewhere. Those alternative paths can be equally rewarding.

As someone who specifically left their clinical life behind because of how exhausted it got them, trust me, you don’t have to stay in patient care forever. It isn’t like you’re leaving your medical life behind either, just applying the same knowledge to a different skill set. 

So today, let’s get into some of the best alternative careers for the physician who wants more and why:

  • Why are more physicians opting for non-clinical jobs
  • The types of non-clinical jobs available
  • Non-clinical jobs VS clinical practice

Read More:

Why Go For Non-Clinical Jobs?

As doctors, we are honor-bound to practice right out of graduation. And for a lot of us? It works. There are plenty of physicians out there who enjoy patient care and working more actively in the field. But because of how hectic it can be, it’s easy to feel burnt out after a while.


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And really, that’s okay. Sometimes, we can’t continue doing what was routine for us before. There are physicians out there who want a career change that allows them to be more flexible with their time and induce less stress.

Some of us simply want to be more involved with our families. Other times, there might be extraneous circumstances that prevent us from pursuing an active clinical job.

Whatever the case, it doesn’t mean we should hang our coats up. 

Rather, it’s time to switch things up. Non-clinical jobs mean we can still utilize everything we’ve learned, but in a different format. And there are a surprising amount of non-clinical jobs out there that could prove to be fulfilling alternative careers for a physician currently feeling burnt out.

Types Of Non-Clinical Jobs

You’ll be looking at a variety of job prospects. Some of them might feel like full time work, whereas others offer more flexibility.

Insurance Medicine

Insurance Medicine is one of the most common alternative career options for most physicians. And in America, where medical insurance thrives? It’s easy to understand why physicians choose to transition from a traditional clinical job to it.

Insurance medicine does require you to have certification from the Medical Insurance Board and a good handle on risk management. But beyond that, it’s smooth sailings, more akin to an office 9-to-5.


Hear me out, telemedicine is not the same as having a clinical job. Does it still mean tending to patients? Yes, but the remote aspect of it means a lot more flexibility. With telemedicine, you don’t have to commute to a clinic; you can simply queue in the next patient from the comfort of your home.

For a lot of us, it isn’t that we hate seeing patients. We just want to spend more time with family while continuing our career in medicine. And telemedicine makes that so much more accessible.

Medical Research

The great thing about medical research is just how many different fields it encompasses. There are various medical research projects going on, ranging from investigating lesser-explored illnesses to working on potential cures for incurable diseases. 

Of course, it does mean learning data entry and other skills relevant to research work, which might not be the most exciting. But that doesn’t mean medical research itself isn’t interesting.

Hospital Management And Administration

Maybe you don’t enjoy taking patients but do have an interest in what it takes to run a healthcare facility. In that case, hospital management and administration might just be the non-clinical job for you.

It’s more of a leadership role, where you have to look after everything that makes a hospital run seamlessly. From patient registration to staff management, it’s all hands on deck, so make sure you have the bandwidth for something like that.


Medical education is a great alternative career for anyone looking to quit their clinical job for something more relaxed.

The thing about medical education is that it’s diverse, meaning you can either be a guest lecturer or take a more involved approach. 

But this way, you get to play a bigger part in helping a new generation of medical students become physicians, which can be incredibly rewarding in its own way.

Medical Review

Honestly, I can see people leaving their clinical jobs for medical review jobs. Even if medical reviewing does sound mundane, considering it basically means you just review medical records for accuracy. 

But sometimes, that is exactly what an ex-physician might be looking for. A job that doesn’t require being hands-on with patients and is more about keeping their records straight.

Physician Director/Consultant

This is another alternative career that is more of an umbrella term for a whole host of different jobs. However, the basic job description of a medical director in a company is to take on a role that is similar to a consultant or an advisor. 

It could comprise managing trials for a pharmaceutical company by offering a medical opinion, or even advocacy and representation of a company at medical conferences.


Pharmacovigilance is a fairly new field, but it is ever-evolving. Because it is so underrated, there is a lot of scope in it for any physician wanting to quit their clinical job and find a new career in drug safety.

Known as safety physicians, the job requires you to detect and asses any risks when it comes to administering healthcare, such as certain vaccines and drugs.  

Medical Technology

This one is self-explanatory. Medical technology usually requires a completely separate degree, but certain jobs within the medical tech industry employ physicians. Physicians come into the field by creating an idea for medical tech that can answer some unmet needs in patient care. 

Of course, having an idea and outright inventing new medical technology are two very different things. But it is a start within an industry that welcomes innovation.

Medical Writing

If you ever wanted proof that medical writing could be a viable career option? Well, you’re looking at it. Medical writing can be of many different varieties, from medical journalism to corporate medical writing. 

This also includes working with different medical companies to curate documentation such as brochures or instruction manuals. Plus, it often means remote work, which is rarely a con.

Expert Physician Witness

Basically, an expert physician witness is employed when a legal case needs a physician to verify medical facts. 

And while those cases are usually just some medical liability lawsuits, the pay is actually not too shabby and you get to decide on how much time and energy you want to spend on each case.

Public Health

Jobs in Public Health are always a safe bet because they usually involve government initiatives to help health-related outreach programs. There are actually many job titles a physician can have under the public health umbrella.

However, the main goal of public health jobs is to assist in monitoring and preventing outbreaks in communities by educating the masses and giving them the resources to help curb disease.

Health Informatics And Innovation

If you’re a doctor with a secret love affair for all things computer-related, look no further than health informatics. With health informatics, you marry both medicine and computer science to create a field that focuses on how best to innovate healthcare using information technology.

Since it’s still a very up-and-coming field, there are tons of resources going into streamlining it. Which means a lot more job opportunities for your local geeky physician.

Non-Clinical Jobs VS Clinical Jobs: It’s Not A Competition!

There is a lot of conversation about whether doing a clinical job is better than shifting to a non-clinical job. But the truth is that the answer is going to be different for everybody, because of a variety of reasons.

Some physicians thrive in medicine, finding a lot of purpose in helping patients by healing them. But then, others are just as passionate about helping the community by using unique means. This could mean updating the medical system itself or working in a way that makes healthcare accessible even in the most remote of places.

That doesn’t mean that non-clinical physician workers are any less passionate than practicing doctors. They just choose to do things differently, allowing them to have a different perspective and new opportunities.

There is no right or wrong answer here. What might work for one physician, might be detrimental to another. 


There are various options for physicians wanting to do something new or get into a field that they feel fulfilled in. So, it’s better to take on jobs that help you excel and be the best version of yourself. Sounds cliche, but we all work our best when our needs are met.

And that won’t happen if we’re all burnout doctors by age 32, wishing for an escape!


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