Alternate Career Paths For Healthcare Professionals

Finding a career that offers a work-life balance with an attractive salary can be an ideal prospect for anyone. But unfortunately, work-life balance can be a far-fetched concept for most people working in healthcare professions. Witnessing trauma and death is an inevitable part of their job. Therefore, stress and hectic work routines can have ripple effects and cause burnout in healthcare professionals. According to a 2020 Medscape report, 42% of physicians report burnout, which is quite alarming. 

In the absence of job satisfaction, burnout is causing physicians and nurses to look for alternative career opportunities. Dispensing duties in a state of burnout is detrimental to healthcare professionals and their patients. Feeling of self-doubt, lack of empathy, low self-esteem, and impersonal attitude toward patients can increase the error rate and reduce patient satisfaction. In such a situation switching to other fields seems like a wise decision. But what options do physicians and those with a medical background have? If you find yourself in this quandary, look at the career options below. 


One of the prospective alternative careers for healthcare professionals is to work as a counselor. With a master’s in counseling degree, you can work in healthcare facilities, educational institutions, and social work organizations. The study involves an advanced study of counseling and therapy techniques to help people with mental health issues. You can help students with learning difficulties, family issues, and school bullying.

In social work organizations, counselors provide complete help to their clients by making them realize their predicament and improving their circumstances. Counselors working in social work organizations also rally for policy changes and tabling the agendas of marginalized communities. 

Healthcare professionals can enroll in on-campus and online counseling degree programs depending on their commitments and work schedule. Formal education with the required certification is essential to becoming a practicing counselor. 

Healthcare consultant

Being a healthcare consultant is another well-paying career for healthcare professionals. Consultants can work in government agencies, medical facilities, medical device firms, and non-profit organizations, to mention a few. 

You can choose to be one of the many types of consultants. If you are inclined towards the administrative side, you can be a management consultant in a hospital. Your job is to identify the strengths and weaknesses, provide an objective overview of the company, and develop progressive strategies for the facility. 

On the contrary, if your interest lies in becoming a healthcare consultant, you can advise about technology integration, merger and acquisitions, healthcare consumption, and product development and research. In the US, the average salary of a healthcare consultant is $79,614. The highest earners can enjoy a salary of $123k. 


Another way to be part of healthcare but not related to patient care is becoming a pharmacist—another high-paying career. The main job of a pharmacist is to provide the medications doctors prescribe to their patients. The job requires you to be vigilant, pay attention to detail, understand the dosage prescribed on the prescription and provide the right medication.

Besides dispensing medications, pharmacists play a more significant role in developing a link between healthcare and the public. They can provide over-the-counter medicines to patients and assess undiagnosed conditions. Often pharmacists refer patients to suitable doctors relieving pressure on the healthcare. It is worth noting that a healthcare degree is not enough to become a pharmacist, and you will still need a master’s degree. The average salary of a pharmacist is $128,570, while the highest earners can get $164,590. 


Entrepreneurship is not limited to business graduates only; it is common in doctors as well. Many doctors are shifting to starting their businesses, developing hospitals, or starting their private clinics and practice. Creating an IT startup competing in making medical devices and applications can also be an option. The opportunities and ideas are endless, but developing an entrepreneurial venture requires you to be bold in decision-making and take a risk. If you recognize these traits, being a doctorpreneur might take your career to new heights. 

Medical photographer

This is one of the less mainstream professions. These photographers work in less visible settings, unlike doctors and nurses. However, their work is significant for healthcare as they record patients’ conditions before, during, and after surgery. Medical photographers also record equipment used in the procedure and autopsy results. 

Medical photography holds immense significance for academia too. These photos appear in journals, books, newsletters, and other teaching material. You need to be the best in your job and take pictures that are neither misleading nor open to interpretation. As medical photographers record procedures, they need to be adept in videography, editing, and production. They must be able to record medically correct and educationally meaningful content.

Medical photographers work in hospitals and clinics alongside doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals. You need to have a formal degree in photography apart from an inclination towards this career because only interest might not justify your suitability for such a position. Medical photographers also earn a good salary. Usually, it is about $53,693, with the top 10 percent making more than $142,000 per year. 


A person equipped with healthcare education is open to countless opportunities. Even if they opt for changing their career domain at some point during their career, they will find no dearth of well-paying options. So, even if you’ve decided not to deal with patients anymore, you can still make use of your medical degree and take another path. 

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