12 Ways to Earn Extra Income From Medical Activities

Leigh Page


December 17, 2013

In This Article

New Opportunities That Tap Your Expertise

1. Teach Students for For-Profit Educators

Physicians can choose from a variety of part-time teaching opportunities at for-profit educational companies. For example, they can teach advanced nursing students at the University of Phoenix, or prepare candidates for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) at Kaplan Test Prep.

The University of Phoenix is looking for physicians to teach in its master of science in nursing (MSN) program for nurses who want to become family medicine nurse practitioners. "Physicians help us out a lot," said Mary De Nicola, RN, campus college chair for nursing for the university's Southern California campus.

De Nicola said part-time physicians teach students in classrooms and within their own practices. For many years, she said, a physician has been teaching a classroom course on pathophysiology, and physicians can also teach minor surgery in the course's procedures lab. Within their own practices, physicians teach students one-on-one as preceptors, much like they teach medical students in clinical clerkships. De Nicola said the student comes in several times a week for 4-8 hours over the course of 12-30 weeks.

She said physicians who are willing to teach regularly have very good chances of finding a paid faculty position at the University of Phoenix, but that payment varies widely, based on such factors as the length of the course and seniority.

At Kaplan, part-time positions are more competitive. The MCAT sector hires 1 in 10 applicants, while the USMLE sector hires only a few new instructors each year. Applicants need to be passionate, engaging, and invested in students' improvement, company representatives said.

"We hire some MDs, both part-time and full-time, and some are retired," said Mari Kent, director of faculty recruitment for MCAT.

For an MCAT position, Kent said the applicant's score on the exam has to be in the top 10%. She said the demand for MCAT classes is robust, because the test format will change in 2015 and pre-med students are rushing to take the current version.

Erika Blumenthal, PhD, executive director of medical programs for Kaplan Medical, which runs the USMLE program, said applicants must have experience teaching medical students or working with the exam. "Before they start, we want them to go through a mentoring program, where they are paired with seasoned faculty," she said. The MCAT program has a similar process, Kent said.

New instructors are expected to teach at Kaplan locations across the country, but they may be able to run online classes from their homes later on. Dr. Blumenthal said part-timers in the USMLE program work for a week or two at least 3-4 times a year. She said the busy season is the spring and summer.

Kent said the MCAT sector generally pays first-time instructors $1500-$2000 per course, and payment can rise, based partly on students' ratings of the instructor. Blumenthal declined to give a pay range, saying it varies widely.

Pros: Teaching a new generation of caregivers can be rewarding. The pay is competitive and you'll have a chance to use your clinical skills.

Cons: At the University of Phoenix, precepting physicians must be willing to host students several days a week within their practices. At Kaplan, positions are very competitive, and physicians must travel several times a year.


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