Earn honorarium from paid medical surveys

Modern MedEd partners with MD for Lives to bring you paid online surveys.
Get a $20 bonus just for signing up. For medical professionals only.

Earn unlimited CME on your phone at the point-of-care

Modern MedEd partners with MDCalc to bring you no-hassle CME that you can earn on your phone at the point of care. Earn CME just for using clinical calculators. No post-test required!

Get up to 100 quick & easy category 1 CME credits

Modern MedEd partners with Board Vitals to bring you up to 100 AMA PRA Category 1™ CME Credits in over 30 specialties. Save $125 with promo code MODERN125 before your CME stipend expires!

Get Unlimited Category 1 CME credits for up to 3 years

Modern MedEd partners with VisualDx to bring you unlimited AMA PRA Category 1™ CME Credits in over a dozen specialties. Get our exclusive deal of 2 years for $999 or 3 years for $1,499 before your CME stipend expires!

PAs have repeatedly been ranked as one of the top jobs in the country. Yet, spend any time on online forums or talking with actual PAs and you’ll soon discover that many are looking for other opportunities

Career Advancement for PAs and Other Healthcare Professionals

Last Updated: March 25, 2021
PA in operating room

This post contains affiliate links. That means we may earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase through one of these links. We recommend you buy any of these products only if you feel they will help you achieve your goals.

Picture of Russel Singleton, PA

Russel Singleton, PA

Russell Singleton, PA practices family medicine and is a contributor to ThePADoctor.com.

The PA Doctor

The Best Healthcare Job in the United States

PAs (physician assistants) have been ranked repeatedly as one of the top jobs in the country. It offers excellent flexibility and earning potential with substantially less debt than other healthcare professions.

Yet, spend any time on online forums or talking with actual PAs and you’ll soon discover that many are looking for other opportunities.

Now to be fair, this sentiment is not unique to PAs. Physicians are retiring younger and in greater numbers than ever before. Medicine has changed. Patients have changed. In generations past, the practice of medicine was much more paternalistic and authoritative.

Doctors were once ubiquitously placed on a pedestal. The physician had the final say in the care of his or her patient. Things could not be more different today.

Subscribe to Modern MedEd

The Rise of Non Clinical Careers

Not all the changes in medicine are to be lamented, however. There is a greater focus on patient autonomy, and patients are generally more sophisticated than ever before. But the growing bloat of government bureaucracy and the intrusive presence of third-party payers is driving clinician burnout.

Highly educated professionals are steering their children away from healthcare as income is continually threatened, respect dwindles, and red tape abounds. This has led to a growing interest in non-clinical careers for once bright-eyed and idealistic doctors, nurses, and PAs alike.

There are not many well-established paths out of medicine, unfortunately. The old adage that says, “those that can’t do, teach” is often the first alternative that comes to mind.

Another common suggestion is working in legal or utilization review. This entails working as a freelancer or joining the ranks of the third-party payers that were once responsible for many gray hairs. Other novel career paths are less clear such as “entrepreneur” or “consultant.”

My Non Clinical Career Path

I’ve certainly had my moments. I was surprised how soon that first yearning to flee actually came. I was still a new grad working in a rural area. I was overwhelmed and underprepared. I quickly started looking for supplemental work and was eventually hired on as adjunct faculty at a private university. I dabbled in consulting and helped a few new PA grads review their employment offers.

My next grand non-clinical career idea was real estate investing. I actually did quite well with a small single-family home, and we doubled our investment in about 2 years. I’ve always been a fan of investing in general and I’m a regular contributor to indexed ETFs and REITs. I’ve even dabbled in currency trading, peer-to-peer lending, and have a small amount of Bitcoin.

Nothing really clicked for me until I was able to find something that combined my desire to develop alternative income streams with my desire to advance the PA profession.

I was planning on pursuing a clinical Doctor of Medical Science degree from Lincoln Memorial University when it occurred to me that others may be interested in how I came to this point in my career. I was also concerned about the proliferation of DMS/DMSc programs and wanted to help others see how disparate current offerings could be.

So a few colleagues and I started The PA Doctor, a blog dedicated to advocating for PAs, Optimal Team Practice, and PA doctorates.

The PA Doctor

It has been no small task to try and master everything from web hosting to SEO writing, marketing, and monetization; however, what keeps us going isn’t the $10 that we made last month, it’s doing something we enjoy. It’s doing something we believe in.

My fellow contributors and I don’t expect to ever be able to retire off of income from The PA Doctor, and as for me, I’ll always identify with and strive to be a better healer.

But a complete career change was never really the point. Medicine provides a very comfortable living. What I needed was a new challenge. New goals. What I needed was to design a life that I didn’t need to retire from. All the better if it pays a small dividend.

Russell Singleton, PA practices family medicine and is a contributor to ThePADoctor.com


* indicates required
I am interested in...
Join Our Panel of Medical Writers

Please select all the ways you would like to hear from Modern MedEd:

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.

Quickly & Easily Find CME
Based on Your Learning Preferences

(18 modailties found)

Click the icon or title to go straight to the most relevant section of the website for that particular CME format.

Audio CME Courses

Listen to your CME while pretending you've found the secret to multitasking.

Clinical Decision Support CME

Experience next level CME with AI-powered clinical decision support tools.

CME Conferences

Miss CME meetings? Take a look at some real-life (and virtual) CME events!

CME with Gift Card Rewards

CME with gift cards and other rewards to stretch your CME allowance further than ever.

Medical Calculators that Earn CME

Earn CME credits at the point of care for using the tools you already know and trust.

Medical Spanish CME Tutoring

Take your communication to the next level and increase access to care for entire communities.

CME Subscriptions

Pay once, access CME for two or three years in dozens of specialties. Updates included.

Online CME Activities

Now that you know you don't HAVE to travel for CME anymore, why would you?

Psychedelic CME

Stay ahead of the game with the latest research in psychedelic medicine. Patients will be asking.

Procedural (Hands-On) CME

Learn essential procedures from home with the same professional materials more cost-effectively.

Question Bank CME

Engaging board-style vignettes with CME credit that adds up quickly and easily.

Travel CME

Learn about essential updates from somewhere you've never been before.

Unlimited CME Credits

Earn all the CME credits you could possibly need (or want) from one CME purchase.

Wilderness CME

Enhance your medical survival skills by practicing in real-life environments with experienced instructors.

Video CME

Visual learners have more options than ever for finding quality CME that speaks to their style.


Learn stuff. Ski. Repeat.
Get paid for claiming "SKI-M-E" credit.

CME Cruises

Earn CME on a river. Or earn CME credits at sea. Don't forget to claim your "SEA"-M-E.

Augmented Reality CME

Give it a few years and it'll be cool.
Just you watch.

Our CME Values: Quality Certified

We work with independent CME providers that do not accept industry funding.

ANy CME we recommend meets the following standards:

Providers not meeting these standards may be mentioned for sake of completeness or topic relevance.
Our relationship will be clearly disclosed.