'I've Had It With Medicine!' 16 Options for Second Careers

Leigh Page

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July 10, 2014

In This Article

14. Produce CME Presentations

Doctors can help organize and write presentations for companies that host CME for doctors and other health professionals, an industry that generates more than $2 billion in annual sales.

These companies must meet a demanding set of requirements from the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), such as documenting their target audience, stating course objectives, explaining how the course fills gaps in knowledge, and testing participants afterwards.

Talented doctors can rise fast in the CME industry. For example, Dr. Kim joined MCM Education, a small CME company in Pennsylvania, in 2006 and is now President, making an income similar to that of physicians in clinical practice.

Dr. Kim said he brought skills in both writing and computer software to the company. As an MIT undergraduate, he wanted to combine his interest in technology with population-based health, so he enrolled in medical school and trained in internal medicine but didn't go into practice.

"I just felt I could apply my skill set better somewhere else," he said. So he went to work at a consumer health company, where he helped build some computer-based education modules. But he preferred writing for doctors, which brought him to CME. He's currently studying for an MBA. "A lot of doctors have to learn executive skills to be successful in business," he said.

According to the ACCME's 2012 Annual Report, the latest available, the total income for accredited CME providers exceeded $2.4 billion in 2012, a 5% increase over 2011. Accredited CME providers differentiate themselves from medical communications companies that work with pharmaceutical companies to provide seminars to doctors. Although CME companies still derive some income from pharma companies, the ACCME report said those payments fell by more than 10% in 2012.

Pluses: Physicians with writing and computer skills can thrive at CME companies.

Minuses: The production process is often cumbersome, because it must meet a variety of accreditation requirements.

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