- A word about salaries
- Jobs for medical graduates without residency in a clinical setting
I’ve written previously about some really excellent nonclinical jobs for medical graduates without residency. But not every doctor without a residency wants to leave the clinical setting. For these doctors, there are very few options for practicing medicine in the US without having completed a US residency. Fortunately, the world of medicine has changed a great deal over the last few decades, resulting in a greater range of medically related jobs than ever before.
There are, however, many career options within clinical settings that are a good fit for the skills and experience of many medical graduates without residency or board certification. These don’t require an active state medical license and, therefore, don’t involve the actual practice of medicine. In addition to not requiring an active state medical license, these career options offer extensive exposure to medical education, experience, and leadership opportunities. If, later on, a doctor decides to do a US residency, these jobs will increase the appeal of the doctor’s CV significantly.
The job types detailed below are about as close as you can get to catering to the typical interests of a practicing doctor, without settling for work that is low paying, not challenging, or irrelevant to your medical degree.
A word about salaries
I’ve tried to include high-paying jobs in this list, but you’ll quickly see that the salary ranges (obtained from Glassdoor) don’t come close to the average salaries of licensed, board-certified physicians in the US. If you feel strongly about having a high compensation, consider these options:
- Look outside the healthcare delivery setting at some higher-paying nonclinical jobs
- Go back to school to earn another professional degree
- Find ways to make extra money, such as by having a side gig
That said, as a doctor, you’re likely to see significant salary increases, promotions, and higher-paying opportunities if you excel at any of the jobs described below.
Jobs for medical graduates without residency in a clinical setting
Whether you were unsuccessful in the residency match, are an IMG who doesn’t want to complete another training program, or won’t complete residency for some other reason, give these career paths some thought.
1. Program Director
Job titles similar to Program Director include Health Services Administrator and Clinical Director. In certain cases, the title Executive Director is used. Government-owned or -affiliated clinics or programs are more likely to use the title Health Services Administrator.
Possible clinical settings for this job include:
- Substance use disorder treatment center
People who have a genuine interest in working with those who struggle with substance disorders will find a position like this very rewarding and enriching.
- Hospice service
Those who care greatly for public health will find this job boosts their love of medicine.
- Correctional facility
A position at a correctional facility might be intimidating for most. However, these facilities are well-run with sufficient support to make a medical career at a correctional facility a real possibility.
- Rehab center
Some doctors feel a special need for helping those who struggle with addiction. A position at a rehab center is a great way to make a difference in the lives of those who suffer from addiction.
The Program Director oversees the operations of a clinical program or facility. Responsibilities include directing program infrastructure, staff supervision, program financial management, ensuring that policies and protocols are adhered to. As a result, there is a great range of responsibilities offering great improvement in skills.
I’ve intentionally listed this job first, as I believe it represents one of the most relevant clinical-setting jobs for medical graduates without residency that is both easily attainable and well-compensated. In addition, this position will offer extensive experience and look fantastic on any CV that medical school graduates will later produce if they choose to get a residency position. Getting such extensive exposure to all forms of medical care is more valuable than most people realize.
My experience working in outpatient addiction medicine and in various correctional settings has been that the Program Director or Health Services Administrator is closely involved with the care of patients. Since the ultimate role of the facility is to provide patient care, a lot of the director’s work is directly or tangentially related to clinical decision-making.
In this role, you can expect to work with physicians and other practitioners, ensuring that they have the support and resources needed to effectively provide patient care. It is a wonderful leadership position that will offer insight into many depths of the medical field.
Program directors earn $81,195 per year on average, with a range from $48,000 to $132,000. This salary will make it possible for those to make a dent in their student loans, should they have one, while having some cash to live on comfortably.
2. Clinical Quality Specialist
A Clinical Quality Specialist is responsible for the coordination and ongoing monitoring of quality improvement program objectives within a hospital or healthcare system. This job also involves facilitating accreditation activities as they relate to quality and ensuring that quality programs meet governing body standards. In order to ensure the best health and wellness of the public, there has to a sufficient quality control done by health workers.
This is a fitting role for someone with a medical degree, as many quality metrics are closely tied to clinical data and patient care. Data collection, abstraction, analysis, and reporting of quality measures may be a significant component of the job. These skills are invaluable and will benefit any person who later wants to secure a residency spot at a great residency training program.
The Clinical Quality Specialist often works closely with clinicians and practitioners. Having a similar background to them can assist in developing successful quality programs and effective communication. It is an advantage for doctors to be team players when they consider these positions since the ability to work well with others is essential.
Similar job titles include Clinical Quality Reviewer, Quality Performance Specialist, and variations on these. Each of the options offer unique and interesting prospects that can improve a doctor’s practical skill range significantly.
Though the average salary for a clinical quality specialist is only $42,000, with a range from $30,000 to $68,000, there is ample room to move up to higher-paying positions. Quality is a huge priority for hospitals and health systems. Most have an entire department or team dedicated to quality. There are many potential positions of varying seniority and responsibility that are of interest to doctors. These positions offer an incredible opportunity for growth, and therefore, they are fantastic options for those with long-term visions.
Another advantage is that there is little standardization with regard to credentials for professionals working in quality improvement. Your medical degree may help land you a job, and you won’t be held back by lacking other degrees or certifications. Once you have landed the job, your determination and dedication should offer incredible opportunities of growth.
3. Clinical Trial Coordinator
A Clinical Trial Coordinator or Clinical Research Coordinator plans, directs, and coordinates multiple, on-going clinical research studies with a healthcare system center or division. Doctors who possess great people skills will enjoy these positions very much.
Responsibilities can include:
- Patient recruitment
- Screening patients for trial eligibility and conducting initial patient assessments
- Providing information to study participants
- Training staff on research study processes and policies
- Analyzing patient data during study involvement
- Maintaining medical charts
- Submitting reports and study correspondence
Given the complexity of clinical trials, coordinators are crucial for successfully enrolling patients and ensuring they receive appropriate care and monitoring throughout their participation.
This job is an option for an IMG who has completed residency training in another country and would like to continue working within their area of specialty. Most clinical research coordinators work without a medical department, such as oncology or ophthalmology.
This job comes with an average salary of $57,795 and can range from $42,000 to $74,000. Yet, again, this is more than enough to cover those painful student loans, while still being able to afford a quality lifestyle.
4. Performance Improvement Consultant
Like quality improvement, performance improvement has increased in importance for hospitals and healthcare systems. Medical graduates – even without a residency – are fitting for performance improvement roles because they understand and speak the same language as the physicians and other clinicians who are the focus of performance improvement efforts. The health care field is at its best when it is constantly improving. That is why this position is important for all with medical careers.
A Performance Improvement Consultant, Specialist, or Manager, is responsible for leading services and programs that support the development of continuous performance improvement activities. The role involves collaborating with human resources, clinical, financial, IT, and other teams.
This job pays pretty well, with an average salary of $75,397 and ranges from $60,000 to $94,000.
I recently saw a job ad for a Manager of Clinical and Performance Improvement that was advertising a starting salary of over $150,000. This was with a consulting firm, rather than with a hospital, which is yet another job option for a medical graduate without a license. With so many people signing up for health & wellness services these days, a performance improvement consultant is a great advantage to any health care workforce.
5. EHR Training Specialist
An EHR Training Specialist is responsible for user training and aspects of implementation or rollout of clinical IT applications in a healthcare setting. Similar job titles include EHR Trainer, EHR Implementation Specialist, and Clinical Applications Trainer.
Many EHR trainer jobs are geared toward those with an IT background, so look for jobs that are specifically seeking someone with a clinical background.
In addition to direct training, this role may include writing training protocols, developing user manuals and reference guides for clinicians, and providing support to users after an EHR go-live.
The average salary for an EHR Training Specialist is $52,000. There is a fairly narrow salary range (from $52,000 to $76,000). Nonetheless, if you demonstrate an ability to teach and connect with other clinicians and have some amount of competence in clinical informatics, you can likely progress to roles with broader responsibility and higher pay. Medical students who long for wide exposure to various areas of the medical setting will love this position. Those who are on the lookout for medical educational leadership opportunities should consider a position as an EHR Training specialist. It has the potential to open many doors down the line.
Unmatched IMGs and other medical graduates without residency have many options when it comes to employment in a clinical setting.
Though you may not be able to directly diagnose and treat patients, you can definitely use your medical knowledge and skills in a position that impacts patient care and helps to treating clinicians do their jobs effectively.
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