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

Leigh Page

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July 10, 2014

In This Article

15. Become a Teacher

Many doctors dream of becoming teachers, and for a lot of them, it's a good fit in many ways. Physicians know how to talk to patients about complicated medical concepts in simple terms, and they have had to speak in front of small groups. However, opportunities are limited to part-time work at colleges, and the pay doesn't match what can be made in clinical care.

Despite the financial drawbacks, doctors have a surprisingly strong interest in teaching. In the 2011 Medscape Physician Compensation Report,[12] physicians who wanted to drop clinical medicine chose teaching as one of their top three alternatives. Indeed, teaching is regarded as a relatively stable refuge from the disruptive modern workplace. Among 14 categories in the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index,[13] teachers rank second.

Dr. Moawad was satisfied with the move from her UR job to working as a college science teacher. After 4 years in the job, "I'm really, really happy," she said. The work draws on her skills dealing with patients. "Doctors are used to talking to people who don't know about the subject matter and have a limited interest in wanting to learn more about it," she said.

She's an adjunct professor at John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio, teaching two courses on human physiology and global health. The hourly pay is about the same as in clinical practice, but she works just 10-25 hours a week. Only full-time professors get 40 hours, she said, adding that fewer hours are a good fit for physicians raising a family or in semi-retirement. Her work schedule also puts her in sync with her school-age kids' vacation schedules.

"College teaching is the best teaching opportunity," Dr. Moawad said. Teaching high school science pays too little, and medical school also isn't an option, she said. Dr. Moawad, who served on the faculty at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, said there aren't any nonclinical teaching jobs for physicians who are not full-time faculty.

Pluses: A good fit for physicians raising families or entering retirement.

Minuses: Opportunities are limited to part-time, relatively low-paying positions at colleges.

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