The “Unpopular” Fields in Medicine that Still Make Great Career Paths

by Laura C. Jones
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Some of the most popular careers in the medical field include nursing and physicians, specifically cardiologists, family medicine doctors, gynecologists, orthopedic surgeons, and physician assistants. However, the medical field is full of many options for future healthcare professionals, and there’s a need for a variety of different professionals— including all of the most popular career paths. Still, here’s a list of some “unpopular” medical careers that may interest you.

#1: Genetic Counselor

If you have an interest in genealogy, particularly in how certain traits and conditions are passed down, then consider becoming a genetic counselor. This career path allows you to study certain genetic conditions and the likelihood that they’ll be passed down to a couple’s child. You’ll also be trained as an actual counselor because some couples will have to make hard decisions about whether or not to have children.

#2: Locum Tenens Physician

A locum tenens physician is a doctor who fills in for other physicians temporarily. This type of physician position is great for those with interest in both medicine and traveling, as locum tenens physicians get to work in different states and even in different countries. You can potentially visit places you’ve always wanted to see in this career field. Just keep in mind that not all locum tenens positions will allow you to travel around the world.

#3: Medical Photographer

If you like photography, consider becoming a medical photographer. It’s not as artsy as traditional photography, but critical photography skills are needed. Medical photographers take photos and videos, record changes in conditions, and take videos of surgeries. You’ll work in clinics and hospital settings, and you don’t even have to go to medical school— you just need a degree in photography and a certificate in clinical photography.

#4: Medical Teacher

Medical teachers teach to medical students, other medical professionals, and the general public. Teaching at a college or university will also allow you to do more medical research, so this is a good option if you love researching medical topics. Even if you don’t like research and you’re still interested in teaching, you can teach at a community college.

#5: Medical Writer

If you like to write as much as you love medicine, consider a career in medical writing. Medical writers work with a variety of different companies, such as medical device companies, pharmaceutical companies, public health organizations, and journals and magazines. Keep in mind that this job will require a lot of research— as most writing jobs do. It’s a nice-paying job too: medical writers can make up to $150,000 each year with steady work.

#6: Occupational Physician

Occupational physicians deal with the health and well-being of individuals as it relates to their jobs. Basically, they help sick patients get well so they can return back to work, and they also help well workers remain in good health, so they don’t have to miss work. This is a very specialized physician position, but it’s also necessary because being in good health and being safe at work is important for having a productive work environment.

#7: Pharmacist

Pharmacists are responsible for filling and dispensing prescriptions for patients as prescribed by their primary care physicians or psychiatrists. They can also refer patients to physicians, and they’re one of the highest-paid healthcare professionals on this particular list, with an average salary of around $104,000 per year.

#8: Psychiatrist

Psychiatrists, not to be confused with psychologists, are medical professionals. Psychiatrists and psychologists both provide psychotherapy for those in need of mental health treatment, but psychiatrists are able to prescribe medication like physicians are. They formally diagnose and treat a variety of mental health disorders, such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder, and many others. Jobs in psychiatry have an average salary of $217,000 per year, with some states even paying as much as $260,000 per year.

In Summary

These are just a few examples of the “unpopular” or alternative careers in medicine that you can choose from if you’re not sure which medical path to take. Other examples include healthcare consultants, forensic medical examiners, pharmaceutical researchers, public health workers, transplant coordinators, pharmaceutical sales representatives, and aviation medical examiners.

Just because these medical jobs may be deemed unpopular, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t well-paying (as noted above) or that there’s not a demand for them. You just have to know where to look for these jobs to see which locations have the highest demand.