If you are studying allopathic medicine, and are on the track to become an MD, it is essential to pass the USMLE in order to demonstrate the appropriate qualification for licensure. When you take the various steps of the USMLE, your results are sent to the corresponding licensing authorities and you are subsequently granted the license to practice medicine.
After passing your tests, like the MCAT, you are closer than ever to starting your medical career. Just because you go to medical school doesn’t mean you are committed to being a doctor or a surgeon. There are numerous careers in the medical field that utilize your medical knowledge. If you are not sure that you want to perform surgeries or run your own practice, there are many paths you can take, from medical scientist to physician assistant.
Here are six alternative options if you do not want to be a doctor
1. Medical Science Liaison
If you are someone with excellent communication skills on top of your medical knowledge and understanding, you might be a great match for a career as a medical science liaison. You would act as a bridge between physicians and healthcare companies.
Operating as a scientific professional you would provide insight and information about your employer’s products, including new drugs, treatments, or medical devices. Occasionally known as a “key opinion leader”, you might find work in fields such as pharmaceuticals, biotech companies, and even consumer market products like cosmetics.
2. Medical Consulting
After passing the USMLE, you may want to work in a capacity that does not have you working directly with patients. If this sounds like a good option for you, a promising career may be had as a medical consultant. You would address business-related issues for medical facilities of various types, and all forms of healthcare providers.
Medical consultants can often find work in all areas of the healthcare industry. You may choose to help hospitals meet regulatory requirements, consult on insurance and safety compliance, or even give information on hazardous waste handling at the facility level. Medical consultants can also give advice and suggestions on how to lower the likelihood of dealing with malpractice lawsuits and how to handle them if they should come about.
3. Physician Assistant
Are you the type of person that loves caring for patients but aren’t interested in running a clinic of their own? You may want to consider taking the steps to become a physician assistant. As a PA, you work under the supervision of a doctor, providing examinations, order diagnostic tests, and prescribing medications to patients.
As a PA, you can work in a wide range of specialties, from surgical and pediatric to family medicine or dermatology. Physician assistants are an essential member of the team because they allow the doctors to step back and focus on management of the team and of patient care.
4. Post-Secondary Medical Instruction
For those that have a passion for both providing medical care and teaching others, a career as a medical instructor could be the perfect niche for you. As a post-secondary medical instructor, you will be responsible for providing education and training to future medical professionals, such as doctors, nurses, and surgical assistants. A few of your duties would include preparing lesson plans, providing feedback about your students’ performance, and teaching classes. In order to get your foot in the door as a medical instructor, you will need a master’s or doctoral degree.
5. Health Insurance
If you decide that you are not interested in working on the clinical side of the medical industry, consider a career as a health insurance specialist. As an insurance specialist, you can work as a medical coder, claims examiner, or insurance biller. With a background as a medical student, you have the advantage of having knowledge of medical terms and specifics of procedures, which can help your career greatly. Health insurance specialists use the electronic health records of patients to examine insurance claims and for coding medical procedures.
6. Medical Research Scientist
Are you the type of person that wants to know how things work and why things work the way that they do? If so, the right career path for you may be as a medical research scientist. Medical scientists are the people that figure out how and why diseases work the way they do. As a medical scientist, you can specialize in several areas, from molecular genetics and immunology to hematology.
Some of the tasks you could be responsible for include:
- Interpreting data from clinical trials.
- Conduct health risk assessments of medical devices.
- Manage presentations and peer-reviewed publications at scientific conferences.
- Provide healthcare professionals with scientific and clinical presentations