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A Career In Medicine - How To Become A Doctor. A Guide To Medical Specialities For Those Looking To Work In Medical Care

About Alternative Careers For Doctors
So, you were all set; you did your relevant A-Levels and got your grades for a place in medical school. Well done you. Why did you want to go to medical school? Because you wanted to help people and cure them? Because you wanted to be a surgeon? Well, because everyone else in your family is a doctor so you are going to be a doctor, too.

And then, one day, you admit to yourself what you may have been thinking for sometime. This just is not for you. You don’t want to be a doctor! Now what? You’re doing a medical degree; a vocational qualification that prepares you for a career in medicine. Well, don’t panic!

The good news is, you are not alone! As with many other vocational degree courses, there will be groups of students who change their mind about their choice of career at various stages.

And the next bit of good news is, there are lots of medical degree jobs for doctors outside of medicine. These might be medical field jobs or they could be completely alternative jobs for doctors. Whatever degree you are doing, you will always develop both specific and transferable skills that can be applied to other roles. So, just because you’re at medical school doing a medical degree, that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to remain in this field.

So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the skills and traits you will have from doing a medical degree; skills that will help you choose alternative successful careers outside medicine.

What Skills Have I Got For Careers Outside Medicine?
When you applied to be a medical student, you were awarded a place not just for your qualifications but also for your personal skills and perhaps even your previous work experience in medical care. Whilst you have been doing your medical degree and perhaps even further training, you will have learned new skills and developed existing ones. These include:
  • Excellent communication skills - Lots of graduate careers require your communication skills to be top notch. Think about alternative jobs for doctors outside of medicine where you can really put your communication skills to good use.
  • Thriving in high pressured situations - You are well aware that doctors often work long hours in unpredictable environments and their decisions can be about saving the life of a patient. Whether you want to stay in medical care work or you are looking for careers completely outside of medicine, you will be able to demonstrate to other graduate employers that you can work well under pressure.
  • A high degree of empathy - Being able to put yourself in the place of others and having a level of understanding about what a patient or their family might be thinking and feeling. This is a skill that can equip you for other types of medical care work or graduate jobs where you might be dealing with vulnerable people, for example.
  • Ability to work as part of a team - It would be a tough challenge to find alternative careers for doctors that don’t ask for teamwork skills. Whilst at medical school, there will be many instances where you can give examples of where you had to work as part of a team. This could have been teamwork with fellow medical students or perhaps you have had to deal with professionals in other fields, too, in order to get the best outcome for a patient.
  • Decision making skills - Many graduate jobs out there will require decision making skills. As a medical student, you will be familiar with making decisions on a regular basis and you will be able to draw on these examples when you are considering alternative jobs for doctors.
  • Professional integrity - You will have a strong sense of professional integrity from your time as a medical student. When applying for graduate medical degree jobs in other fields, potential employers will know you have this trait.
What Are The Different Alternative Medical Degree Jobs?
So, now you have identified your skills and traits - perhaps you can think of more than the suggestions in the list above - let’s have a look at some ideas for medical jobs and non medical jobs for doctors.

Because a medical degree is vocational, you might even have an advantage over some other graduates when applying for roles - remember, you have concrete examples of where you have had to use your skills and knowledge in the workplace. Not all of your study has been in the classroom.

Hospital Administration Careers
For those still looking to do medical jobs, further alternative careers for doctors could be hospital administration roles. There is a whole range of roles within hospital administration and doctors could find that they fit easily into lead roles.

As a doctor, you know about patient care and what needs to be done to make sure patients continue to get the best care. You also need to be organised and have certain leadership qualities. All of these skills can stand you in good stead for working in hospital administration.

Career Change Advisor/Coach
If you are considering jobs for doctors outside of medicine because you want to leave the medical profession altogether, then working as a career change advisor or coach could be an option for you. You are in a good position to do this as you have made the change yourself.

As a doctor, you need good empathy skills and you can make use of these skills as a career change advisor. As someone who has taken the plunge, you will know how uncertain people might be feeling about a career change so you can guide them.

IT and Software Development Careers
As a medical student or as a doctor in the workplace, if one of your strengths or passions is for IT, then alternative careers for doctors could be in this area. Whether you are looking for medical jobs or careers outside of medicine, there could be lots of scope in this field.

Doctors could use their IT knowledge and their medical knowledge combined to develop more streamlined systems for hospitals or other medical practices. Or you could design apps that focus on people’s health or medication.

Of course, non medical jobs and careers abound in IT. Depending on the roles you apply for, you could do some short courses to boost your skills in certain areas.

Medical Law
We now live in a world of litigation where people want compensation for illnesses, diseases or injuries that they say have happened to them as a result of someone else being at fault. If you have a medical degree and have experience behind you - and you also have an interest in law - you would have to do a law degree and decide which law route to take but your medical knowledge will be sought after.

Medical Recruitment Consultant
Working in recruitment can be a high pressured role as you strive to meet or exceed targets. However, you have experience as life as a medical student and doctor and you are more than familiar with working in high pressured situations.

If you are still looking for medical jobs where you can make use of your medical knowledge, medical recruitment can be a good option. Companies need to know they are getting the best fit for their vacancies and you will have a good idea about matching people’s medical skills to relevant roles.

Freelance Writer
Freelance writers write articles for a variety of publications. As a medical student, your research skills and ability to work fast within time constraints could be applied to freelance writing work. Medical jobs could be in the form of medical journalism. This could be a tricky field to get into as articles are often written by doctors still in the profession. It is not impossible, however.

If you are looking to leave medicine altogether, then non medical jobs for doctors could be doing freelance writing in other areas. This could be articles about health, nutrition or sport and exercise where you could still draw on some of your medical knowledge.

Jobs for doctors outside of medicine could be in the teaching profession. A lot of medical students and doctors who switch careers find the transition to teaching quite natural. Doctors need to be able to explain new and difficult to comprehend information to patients and families in a clear and patient manner whilst also showing empathy. These are the skills teachers need, also.

Further education roles could be possible or you could also retrain to work at primary and secondary level. Depending on your level of medical training, you may be able to do some seminars at higher education level with undergraduates studying modules in crossover subjects.

Charity Director
Jobs for doctors outside of medicine could be working in charity as a charity director or in another senior position. You went to medical school because you wanted to become a doctor and help people. Charity is all about helping people.

Some charities that support people with particular illnesses or disabilities spend a lot of time lobbying parliament about the availability of particular drugs or treatments. As a former doctor, you may be able to provide valuable insight into this and guide a charity towards effective lobbying or medical research.

International Aid/Development worker/Charity Work Abroad
It might be that you are not really looking for careers outside of medicine. Perhaps you just feel like specialist medical jobs in hospitals or surgeries is not for you. Perhaps you really want to use your skills elsewhere.

Alternative careers for doctors could be doing charity work abroad. This might be one a volunteer basis or as a paid member of staff. You could be working for charities that react to emergency situations, creating refugee camps, for example. Or you could be based in one area working with local people to educate them about particular diseases and illnesses and how to keep them at bay.

Civil Service Careers
Alternative careers for doctors could be civil service careers. As a doctor or medical student, you were concentrating on improving the lives of others and that is also what the civil service is all about. With your medical knowledge, you could take on roles in the Department of Health or the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulations Agency).

If you are still struggling for ideas or you would like to speak with someone about what to do after your medical degree, always remember you can go and speak with your university careers advisors, too.

Explore All Possibilities
These are just some of the alternative careers for doctors or for those of you who might be in the process of doing a medical degree. There are many more opportunities out there for people with your skills and knowledge.

For example, there are doctors out there who have forged successful careers in business consultancy, areas of retail and manufacturing or sales. And you know how to talk to people; how to make them feel comfortable and build up relationships with them. Jobs for doctors outside of medicine could be roles within the hospitality industry.

The key is to give yourself time to think about what it is you really want to do.

What Salary Can You Expect For Alternative Careers For Doctors?
There is no one answer to this question. Obviously, the salary of a doctor is very attractive compared to salaries of other graduate professions. But if you are looking for other medical jobs or jobs for doctors outside of medicine, a change in salary is likely not going to be one of the determining factors for you.

Some careers for those of you with a medical degree will have attractive salaries, particularly if you need to study more for a particular role or if you are successful in an entrepreneurial capacity. At the other end of the scale, you might be volunteering or receiving a nominal sum for your efforts working abroad.

What Are The Opportunities For Career Progression With Medical Degree Jobs?
Alternative jobs for doctors are by no means dead end jobs. Just because you have decided doing a medical degree or working as a doctor is not for you, that doesn’t mean you can’t forge a successful and meaningful career either by doing different medical jobs or deciding on careers outside medicine. Graduate schemes, your qualifications and experience should see you in managerial and other senior positions within a short space of time.

Apply For Medical Jobs And Careers Outside Medicine
So, if you’ve made the decision and decided completing your medical degree is just not for you, or if you are already further into your career as a doctor and you have decided you need to change something, perhaps E4S has some suitable options for you.

Take a look at our current vacancies for work in medical care and also alternative careers for doctors. You could be on the path to a new and exciting way of life.

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