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There are many reasons why physician side gigs are on the rise, one reason being a need to settle student debt as soon as possible. With the average medical school debt hovering around $200,000, debt is difficult to pay off even when earning a high salary. 

Research has found that high levels of burnout, stress, and depression among doctors are causing one in five of them to consider cutting their hours or even pursuing another career altogether.

Another reason for seriously considering a side hustle, is the looming threat of automation. Some physicians are using side gigs to prepare themselves for uncertain times ahead, realizing that physicians and certain aspects of their work are not immune to automation.

For the more ambitious, side gigs are simply an obvious way to gain financial independence as soon as possible.

Whatever the reason, physician side gigs are an excellent way to work towards financial goals.

Those who have tried it, say that these endeavors don’t need to take up a lot of time. It’s enough if you can commit a few hours per week.

What is a side gig? A side gig is a secondary job to your primary job that allows you to make money on the side. Physician side gigs imply that these gigs are pursued by full-time physicians. 

Here we offer a list of side gigs suitable for physicians. While some of them can be part-time jobs for a while, others have led to a second career for some physicians.  For those with business sense as well as medical acumen, unique business opportunities are arising all the time. 

  • Telemedicine

While some physicians work full-time for telemedicine providers, it’s also possible to work as a telemedicine physician as a side hustle. This is a practical and convenient solution for both physicians and patients. Patients can get medical advice from the comfort of their home, and depending on the platform you use, you can have the flexibility to choose your consultation hours to fit in with your full-time position. 

Keep in mind that you must be licensed in the same state as the state that the patient is calling from. For a part-time hustle, a license from one state would be adequate. Obviously, more state licenses will give you access to more patients, but there is a cost involved.

  • Medical moonlighting

Medical moonlighting is common among resident physicians who earn low incomes during their time of residency. Due to the high demand for services and lack of qualified medical professionals, you can easily find good-paying shifts outside your normal working hours. 

There are two moonlighting opportunities: internal or external moonlighting.  Internal moonlighting lets you pick up extra shifts at the institution where you are already employed. With external moonlighting, you’ll be working at another institution. External moonlighting may be more lucrative, but it might require you to have your own malpractice insurance.

  • Get hired at a healthcare startup

Digital healthcare has really taken off with many health startups depending on the knowledge and skills of qualified physicians to perfect their offerings.  Healthcare and medtech companies are offering full-time and part-time jobs for doctors and internships for medical students.

While startups depend on medical expertise to develop their products, doctors and interns can gain valuable business experience while earning extra income. It’s not uncommon for doctors to get completely involved in the startup world and never return to full-time medical practice.

Consult DoctorPreneurs for opportunities.

  • Become an EHR consultant

This is really an excellent opportunity to earn an extra income as most doctors detest EHR systems. For some, it’s because they are not tech-savvy and don’t have the time to get proper training. For others, the problem lies with the platform itself, which a doctor may not find user-friendly.

But for most doctors, there’s another reason they can’t stand EHRs: the time they spend on EHRs is time away from their patients. Many doctors spend more than half of their working days on administrative tasks and it’s leading to high levels of physician dissatisfaction. People who planned to devote their lives to helping others are spending half their working lives on feeding computers and it’s frustrating them and their patients. 

Someone with both medical experience and expertise in EHRs can step in and offer much-needed support. Apart from offering training to physicians, this person could also advise medical practices on appropriate EHR systems.

  • Do MCAT tutoring

A high MCAT score can increase a student’s chances of getting into a top medical school. The MCAT is notoriously challenging and any insights and strategies that you can provide will be invaluable to a student who is looking to beat the competition. 

There are several opportunities here. You can work as a moderator for online MCAT prep courses, or you can work as an MCAT tutor for an existing test prep company.

The option that many physicians go for, is to register a profile on a tutoring platform like varsitytutors.com, or universitytutor.com. This allows them to earn an income as a tutor in time schedules that suit them.

  • Get paid to share your expert knowledge online

Platforms like GLG counsulting and Guidepoint Global Advisors make use of subject matter experts, including physicians for advice and to provide clinical insights to research firms, healthcare startups,  and biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.

If you are an expert in your field, you can create a profile on these platforms and start sharing your knowledge for a consultation fee. This is something you can do part-time and online.

  • Serve as an expert medical witness

You can also leverage your expert knowledge to become an expert medical witness. If you want to do something new but still in your field and supplement your income, becoming an expert witness might be the answer.

You can prepare by attending expert witness courses and building a network of attorney contacts. There are different earning opportunities. In addition to being paid per hour for trial testimony, you’ll also get paid per hour for the initial consultation and the deposition. You can also earn an income by doing written case reviews or giving a verbal opinion. 

This type of work can be time-consuming, with some medical record reviews and report writing taking up to 40 hours Expert witness work can be a considerable time commitment. 

Contact American Medical Experts to become a medical expert witness.

  • Offer medical school admissions consulting services

Many stressed-out medical students are so pressed for time that they are prepared to fork out money for medical school admissions consulting services.

As someone who has been through the rigorous application process yourself, you can offer advice, help with perfecting personal statements, and generally offer application assistance. 

The more comprehensive your consulting service is, the better your earning potential. Think back on your experience and work out a consulting service package that would make the process easier and help studentss get into med school. 

The application process is very taxing and applicants can really do with moral support to help them see it through. If you can build a good record of having helped your clients to get into med school, you will be in a position to make a name for yourself and earn a regular income.

  • Chart reviewing 

Many physicians seeking an additional income have traditionally done chart review jobs. These jobs suit doctors very well because doing it requires no extra training, can easily fit into an existing schedule, and provide a reliable extra income. It’s common practice for doctors to do chart reviewing on the side so it’s not difficult to find this kind of work.

There is a range of chart reviewing jobs available. 

  • Do paid medical surveys

Pharmaceutical companies and health care organizations need the insights of medical practitioners for various reasons. They obtain these through paid online surveys.  This is a great side gig that allows physicians to earn extra income from the comfort of their homes and in their own time.

There are several medical survey platforms online, some of them quite lucrative. They pay at least $1 per minute of your time. Sign up for a bunch of them to give yourself more opportunities to earn extra money.

M3 Global Research and Inspired Opinions come highly recommended.

  • Public speaking

While most people dread public speaking, working as a pharmaceutical or biotech physician speaker has become a popular side gig for physicians. Pharmaceutical companies offer good opportunities for paid speaking engagements and generally pay well. 

It’s also possible to get speaking engagements to speak to public audiences. Many doctors don’t mind speaking for free when they are sharing knowledge that they are passionate about, and it’s possible that at the beginning of your public speaking side gig you might have to do the same but it’s worth it. It’s an opportunity to network, gain experience, and build your CV.

  • Medical writing

If you enjoy writing, there are various options open to you. Market research companies often require someone with medical knowledge to write medical report summaries or other contributions to reports on medical topics. 

There are also opportunities to do freelance medical writing, which is quite well-paid. You could also try your hand at health and wellness journalism. The American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) offers support to become a medical writer and offers medical writing gigs.

  • Create a presence on the web for medical practices

This is another writing job that could earn you an extra income. If you enjoy writing and have SEO skills, you can help medical practices to have an online presence and manage their social media accounts for them. Most doctors are hopelessly overworked and don’t have the time, and many don’t have the interest, to get involved in social media practices. Yet, not having a website and a presence on social media platforms can be a missed opportunity. 

Physicians with knowledge of the healthcare industry are in an ideal position to write website and social media content for medical practices and businesses that focus on wellness. 

  • Medical device instruction

There is an opportunity for physicians to teach other doctors how to operate new medical equipment as they come on the market. Many physicians have found work as a medical device demo expert to be a lucrative opportunity.

  • Write for test preparation companies

Thousands of medical students use content provided by test preparation companies to prepare for the USMLE examinations. This creates an opportunity for those who have already passed the exam to write test questions for these companies.

These jobs are remote, so you can fit the work into your schedule. If you have good time management skills you can work on a question or two between other duties and in the odd hour or two of free time. You can apply to AMBOSS and Firecracker to write for them. 

  • Do medical consulting

You can act as a medical consultant for different industries and professions. Pharmaceutical companies, lawyers, startups, medical device manufacturers, medical app developers, and technology companies employ medical consultants. Some of these positions are full-time, but when a consultant is needed to help out on a specific project, a part-time or temporary position may become available. 

  • Start a podcast

If you have something to share, but don’t have the time or the inclination for public speaking commitments, why not start your own podcast? Podcasting is a fun side hustle that you can start from home.

You don’t need expensive equipment to start a podcast. All that’s needed to start is a headset or microphone. The know-how you can gather by searching online – there are loads of training materials 

There are ways to make money out of podcasting, but keep in mind that if that’s your aim, it won’t happen overnight. You’ll have to deliver amazing content to build a show that earns money every time you broadcast.

  • Start a business

Starting a business can be a great way to diversify income and reduce the likelihood of burnout.

While there are many things physicians do not learn in medical school, their skills are transferrable and they can make for great entrepreneurs. In addition, Dr. John Shufeldt’s book Entrepreneur Rx can help fill the gaps between being a physician and being an entrepreneur.

In Entrepreneur Rx, physician and serial entrepreneur, Dr. John Shufeldt, shares time tested insights and knowledge for building a thriving startup while still being a physician. From identifying winning business ideas to raising necessary capital, Dr. John Shufeldt offers a comprehensive insider’s view into strategies that have helped him develop and nurture a number of successful businesses (including two valued at more than $100 million.)

Final thoughts

Physician side gigs have exploded in the past few years. Reasons for this trend vary from the need to create an additional revenue stream to doctors suffering from high levels of burnout starting something on the side that might lead to a new career.

There are many reports of physicians online who have taken the step and have seen many benefits, including a better work-life balance. While one it is beneficially to start with just one side gig, many end up having multiple physician side gigs.