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Alternative Career Option Resources for MDs


MD’s may choose to pursue careers other than clinical medicine for a variety of personal and professional reasons, and they may do so at different times in their training or careers. Alternative paths might occur directly out of medical school, out of internship once a license is earned, after residency, or after years of practicing clinical medicine. At any of these stages a dual degree may be useful, including PhD, MBA, JD, MPH, MHA, etc. The career options for which an MD degree is beneficial are vast, so the career search is best tailored to each individual’s interests and goals. Specific job descriptions and salaries also vary by region and by education and experience of each individual. Therefore, this website is meant to provide a sampling of websites for interested medical students to learn about alternative options and begin exploring education and career paths tailored to his/her specific interests.

General websites and resources A consortium of universities providing a career center dedicated to expanding professional options for life science PhDs and MDs. Includes links to self-assessment tests to further define a good fit for each individual, as well as links to information and articles about a variety of alternative fields. Association of American Medical Colleges Careers in Medicine site includes a section on Alternatives to Traditional Clinical Practice under the Exploring Options tab that provides information about what the careers involve, useful strengths, preparation, and links to related sites. A token provided by the office of student affairs is required to access this site. International association offering professional and personal support for women from premed to physician level. It includes educational information, career and family advice, job listings, discussion forums, medical news and articles all tailored to women in medicine. Organization in Cape Cod, MA that offers non-clinical career conferences and training for physicians. Also provides medical writing seminars and resources for expert witnesses and workers' compensation professionals. This is a for profit organization and we do not endorse their programs, but rather provide this resource as an example of the types of programs that are available.

Balagot, M., Ingebretsen, M, and Fraker, S. Leaving the Bedside: The Search for a Non clinical Medical Career. American Medical Association, 1998. Book put out by the American Medical Association that provides a step-by-step approach to making a change in occupation, including aids for examining individual goals and steps to achieving those goals. It also includes extensive lists of a wide variety of career options.

General Health Care and Research Collaboration of national foundations, professional associations, health career advisors, and educational institutions that is useful as an encyclopedia of the array of health professions. It includes information about working conditions and preparation for each field. Educational resource providing descriptions of careers in a variety of areas of healthcare, including descriptions of training required, daily duties, and salary ranges. National Institute of Health Loan Repayment Programs website offers information about the types of research and various degrees for which they offer loan repayment, as well as details of the application process.

Karni, Karen. Opportunities in Clinical Laboratory Science Careers. McGraw-Hill; 2002. Book offering information about a variety of careers available in clinical labs. It includes training requirements, salary statistics, and professional and internet resources.

Public Health Association of Schools of Public Health website includes information about what public health is, what training involves, career opportunities, and links to other associations and resources. Colorado School of Public Health website includes information about various degrees in public health, as well as research opportunities.

Health Administration Association of University Programs in Health Administration website offers information on what health administration is, what kind of training it requires, career opportunities, and links to other associations and resources.

UC Denver Health Adminstration UC Denver website for MS in Health Administration provides information about their program, as well as links to the MBA in Health Administration program, and links to additional health administration association websites.

Medical Writing American Medical Writers Association provides educational resources for medical writers and editors who work in a variety of capacities through such organizations as hospitals, health science centers, nonprofit associations, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, and news organizations. This website provides services that include educational programs, publications, job opportunities, and networking opportunities. Online Toolkit for New Medical Writers provided by the Delaware Valley Chapter of the American Medical Writers Association includes information about opportunities in medical writing, how to get started in medical writing, compares employee and freelance writing, and provides links to other resources.

Business/Biotechnology/Pharmaceuticals National association for MD/MBA students that provides information about the dual degree. It includes information about education, internship, and career opportunities, as well as serving as a place to network.

MBA/MD degree Provides information about the MD/MBA program offered through UC Denver, including requirements, timing, and a link to the business school website for more details about the MBA program geared towards medical students. International database of pharmaceutical company profiles, including detailed descriptions of their products and services. National database of biotechnology company profiles, including areas of interest, products, employees, and locations.

Alternative Residency Paths

MD’s interested in practicing clinical medicine might want to explore options for alternative residency paths, also for a variety of personal and professional reasons. Alternatives such as shared or part-time residencies are not generally advertised, but programs are often willing to work with individuals. Therefore the responsibility lies with the resident to research the requirements of the residency program and of the licensing board for the specialty and propose a plan that works for him/her as well as for the residency program.

Robin Yasui, currently a part-time Internist in Geriatrics at Denver Health, is an example of a physician who has been through this process as a resident. She completed her internship year, took a one year leave of absence with her baby, and then worked with her residency program to design an individual plan that was part-time and largely outpatient that worked for her family and for the residency program. She has kindly offered her email as a contact for students who would like to speak with her in more detail about her experience and advice.

About the author of this resource

Roaxanne Baca compiled these resources as an independent project with the office of student affairs as a 4th year student. She did not pursue residency, but rather planned to work part-time utilizing her MD in some capacity so that she can spend more time as a mother. Roxanne completed this project to aid in her own career search, as well as to provide other students with some useful information that is not often readily available to medical students. Roxanne welcomes questions and would also appreciate input from anyone who has some knowledge about or experience in this area. Please email the Office of Student Affairs.