Medical school is one of the most strenuous endeavors a student can undertake. However, at the end of the four years of schooling, it’s important to think about and be prepared for what comes next. For some, it will be attending residency and for others, it will be going on for further education or finding employment. Therefore, here’s how you can get hired after medical school, and the steps to take to find a great job.

Internships

For those looking to take their next steps after medical school, you might want to think about bolstering your skillset with an internship. Internships allow you to gain valuable experience that will not only look great on your resume, but also help you figure out where you want to take your career. Internships can take place during your school year, or during the summer months. Some may be paid, or unpaid, depending on the field or the employer.

Work experience

In the United Kingdom, all medical school applicants are expected to have some work experience “in a caring or serving role either paid or voluntarily, in health or related field, as well as direct observation healthcare” prior to even applying. Therefore, it’s safe to assume that having work experience upon graduation will only set you apart from other applicants. During medical school, it may be wise to attempt to get some employment history. You can do this by reaching out to local physicians to ask to work in their practice, utilizing your network to see if you know anyone who would be willing to hire you, or work with your career counselor at school to determine what opportunities may be available.

6 jobs without residency

While residency isn’t for everyone, that doesn’t mean a medical degree isn’t a valuable course of action to pursue. In fact, there are many viable, interesting, and well-paying jobs available for those who completed medical school. Some of these jobs include:

  • Medical/Technical Writing. In this role you will “create documents to communicate complex medical information more easily.” You may be writing medical product safety inserts, grants, manuals, how-to guides, preparing clinical trial reports, or journal articles. The average pay for this role is about $71,850 per year.

  • Medical research scientist. These scientists work on new research projects in “clinical trial stage as part of a pharmaceutical company’s research and development department.” The average pay in this role is $84,810 per year.

  • Health insurance. Those who have graduated medical school may find a home in the health insurance industry. They may help create or change new or existing policies, or analyze data to help better serve clients. Those in this role can anticipate an average annual salary of $69,380 per year.

  • Medical And Health Services Management. Medical students who took on extra leadership or management courses during medical school can work as “program director, compliance officer or even a CEO in medical facilities.” Odds are, you’ll have the advantage over a candidate who doesn’t have any experience in the healthcare industry. These jobs pay an average of $99,730 per year.

  • Physician assistant. If you would like to eventually go on to complete more certifications, or to find out if working in patient care is right for you, you might qualify to work as a physician’s assistant (PA). There are specific requirements per state, so you’ll need to look into what licenses are needed where you plan to live or work. PAs can expect to earn an average of $108,610 per year. 

  • Medical Consulting. For those who would like to continue to change the lives of those utilizing the healthcare industry you could work for companies as a medical consultant. You can use your medical experience to help create better products and services for clients. This type of role pays about $86,916 per year.

What if you decide to go to residency?

After working in the medical industry, you might find yourself wondering if residency is the right thing for you, or if going on to work as a doctor is something you would like to explore. If so, that’s completely ok. In the United Kingdom, students usually begin applying for their first doctor positions in their last year of medical school. However, “Medical students also have the option of not applying for a job, changing career, taking a career break or applying abroad.” For those who want to go right into working as a doctor, they can apply to work for the National Health Service (NHS) and go into the Foundation Programme. In the Foundation Programme, “doctors can apply for further training towards becoming a GP or a medical or surgical consultant.”

In the United States, you will need to apply for and match with a residency program. Depending on the residency program, it can take new doctors an additional three to seven years to complete. This means doctors in the United States can expect to spend upwards of 10 to 13 years before they become fully licensed doctors, but they earn money during their residency. 

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), “When you ask resident physicians whether they consider themselves students or employees, many say that they are employees. After all, there is a distinct difference between the environments of medical school and residency. Unlike students, residents receive paychecks and have employment contracts and job descriptions with assigned responsibilities and duties. Their training institution receives financial compensation for the work they do. In exchange, they receive education and training vital to the development of their career.”

There is no age limit for those who are interested in pursuing a medical degree. While the average age of those attending medical school is 24, there are also those who begin the process later in life and still find success in the field. If you’re thinking about pursuing a residency program to qualify as a doctor, there is no age limit to chase after your goals.

While medical school is a great undertaking and commitment, it doesn’t mean you have to become a doctor after graduation. As you can see, there are lots of opportunities available for those with a medical degree, experience, and background in patient care. Take your time, get the necessary experience, and find the career path that’s right for you.