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The Best Non-Clinical Jobs for Doctors


Physicians who want to continue to use their medical knowledge or healthcare skills to work in a professional setting outside of patient care have a variety of options for full time work.

best non-clinical jobs physicians

There are a variety of full-time jobs in a range of healthcare related industries. And as the healthcare industry undergoes some changes, doctors are discovering opportunities outside the patient care setting. But how do doctors go about finding the best non-clinical job?

First, the physician should evaluate their individual skill set to discover which sectors outside the clinical setting will be a great fit. Second, physicians should consider if they are looking to transition out of the clinical setting entirely, or for a part-time position.

The healthcare industry needs physician leadership in the many sectors that influence patient care. Opportunities for physicians in these areas will allow them to apply their medical knowledge to not only influence patient care.

The best non-clinical job choice for any physician is one that utilizes a physician’s individual talents and skills and aligns with their professional and personal priorities.

What are the opportunities for physicians outside of the clinical setting?

Hospital Leadership

Doctors who possess strong interpersonal skills and understand the need and wants of the individuals and groups that make a hospital operate are best-suited for hospital leadership, regardless of specialty.

Being an effective physician leader requires you to listen to the concerns of others, communicate well, and work to balance financial targets with the practical aspects of running a hospital. All of this should be done while ensuring that employees and patients alike feel valued.

Pharmaceutical Industry

Physicians can also hold leadership roles in the pharmaceutical industry. Doctors who understand the many facets of patient care can help effectively drive priorities in research and development, product strategy, and external communication.

Physicians who may be well matched to successfully work in the pharmaceutical industry can assess which products or companies are most likely to safely and effectively meet the real world needs of patients.

Payer Sector

The payer sector focuses on the principles of combining cost effectiveness and value with evidence-based medicine, including updated guidelines for patient care. This sector involves a lot of problem-solving when it comes to bridging the gap between balancing options that not only make financial sense but also help the patient population.

Physicians who have a keen eye for observing the big picture, while still considering the short-term outlook, will be better-suited to work in the payer side of healthcare.

Government, Policy, and Politics

Physicians have fewer opportunities in policy and government work than in many of the non-clinical areas in healthcare. There are some positions in public health and policy, and they are usually open to people with experience volunteering or working in the government sector. If you are skilled at networking and writing regulatory documents, policy and government work may be a good fit for you.

Politics, an area in which we have seen several high-profile physicians, is right for those who can raise money, campaign tirelessly, and stay in top of many policy issues besides health and medicine.


Medical technology, particularly electronic medical records, is becoming more closely integrated with physician day-to-day work. Physicians who can program and code and who know how to adapt technology to workflow needs, should apply their skills towards making the tools more practical for healthcare providers.


Medical education includes various methods of teaching for physicians, medical students, students who are training to become healthcare providers, and for consumers. A career in medical education may be right for you if you can explain medical concepts to your audience with an approach that is accessible as well as relevant to their needs and concerns.


There are positions in non-profit industry leadership, and, as with government jobs, they are limited and often require years of preliminary volunteer-level involvement and networking. Non-profit work is heavily focused on finances, and if you are talented at raising funds, it may be a good fit for you.

Writing for Publications

Writing and editing medical content can be a good option for doctors who are dedicated to disseminating medical information and who are skilled at communication. Often, publishers rely on doctors to bring credibility and accuracy to medical and health content.

There are a number of non-clinical areas in which physicians are needed. If you are considering a non-clinical career in medicine, knowing the qualities of each type of role can help you find the best fit for your skills and personality.

Updated: October 11, 2018

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Victor J. Dzau, MD, gives expert advice
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