Let’s start with this: the term “medical school dropout” has an awful ring to it. However, a large number of smart and success-oriented individuals are discovering – wisely and pragmatically – that spending the next several years in medical school, amassing hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loan debt, and then devoting the next four or five (or maybe six) decades juggling a fast-paced career with excessive continuing medical education courses just isn’t for them.
If you’re in this boat, then be assured that you aren’t alone. The web is riddled with tales of medical school woe from both current students, and those who graduated – and swore that if they could go back in time, that they’d choose another career path.
What’s more, there’s no reason why you should wave goodbye to your dreams of having a successful, meaningful and lucrative career in the health care space. No, you may not be on your way to becoming an emergency room doctor, neurologist or orthopedic surgeon. But yes, can still make a positive difference and earn well over 6 (and possibly 7) figures a year.
To that inspiring end, here are 3 lucrative career paths and business ideas for medical school dropouts:
- Digital Health Specialist
If you’re interested and intrigued by health care, but aren’t too excited about spending most of your days interacting with patients who aren’t always considerate (to put it mildly) of your time or skill, then exploring a career as a digital health specialist might be the perfect fit. Demand for professionals in this area is skyrocketing, thanks to a combination of an aging population, the unprecedented availability of population health and other data, and the need for payors (namely governments, insurance companies, businesses and individual patients) to get more and better health care for less cost.
- Non-Clinical Health Professional
One of the biggest complaints that doctors have – particularly if they’re specialists – is that they don’t spend nearly as much time as they’d like providing hands-on treatment. Instead, the bulk of their time is spent looking at charts and records, and of course, earning CME credits (the need for which never ends!). If you’re driven and motivated to take a more hands-on health care role, then looking at non-clinical occupations could be optimal career solution. For example, you can pursue a career as a naturopathic doctor, chiropractor, massage therapist, hypnotherapist and so on. And don’t fear that these occupations will leave you struggling to make ends meet. Many non-clinical health professionals earn a very good living; especially if they are in areas that are covered by workplace insurance plans.
- Medical Writer
Pharmaceutical companies, health networks, insurance companies, digital health startups and many other businesses are constantly searching for qualified medical writers, which are professionals who combine a talent for prose with an understanding of medical terms and scientific principles. If you have a knack for communication and a way with words, then dropping out of medical school and entering the profitable world of medical writing could be the answer to your vocational prayers. You can work directly for an organization, get assignments and jobs through an agency, or launch your own business. Regardless of your path, if you have a flair for this type of work you can expect to earn anywhere from $70,000 to well over $100,000 a year doing something that you enjoy, and that ultimately makes a positive difference.
The Bottom Line
If medical school isn’t for you – with some insiders even warning that medical school can ruin your life if you aren’t careful – then don’t assume that your career in health care is over. On the contrary, it may a sign that you need to so something else in the field, and it could be the start of a business journey that is highly rewarding: both personally and professionally!