By James J. Mangraviti, Jr. 

Understanding Non-Clinical Career Compensation For Physicians 

Physicians are often (rightly) concerned about the financial hit they may take when switching to a non-clinical career.  The fact is that physicians working non-clinically can make a healthy salary.  There are also often bonuses, stock options and room for advancement and income growth.   

It is also not fair in many cases to compare clinical pay with non-clinical compensation for physicians.  In essence you would be comparing apples to oranges.  Non-clinical physicians mostly work regular hours with no call or weekends. Non-clinical physicians often get to work remotely as well.  So when evaluating non-clinical career compensation for physicians one should keep in mind the fact that non-clinical jobs often involve less stress, no call,  regular hours, and work from home.  In terms of pay per hour, non-clinical jobs for physicians often come out on top. 

How much of a financial hit (if any) a physician takes when transitioning to a non-clinical role will depend upon both how much money the physician was earning clinically and in their new non-clinical career.  The purpose of this post is to give some idea as to the types of non-clinical career compensation for physicians that can be expected (your mileage will of course vary).  

The information below are based on a small minority of the presentations made at SEAK’s two most recent annual Non-Clinical Careers for Physicians conferences where physicians learn what’s out there, how to get it and how much it pays. 

Examples of Non-Clinical Career Compensation For Physicians 

Non-Clinical Compensation for Physicians in Clinical Informatics.  A recent speaker of ours is a hospitalist at a major academic medical center.  He worked 50% clinically and 50% in informatics and was compensated the same for both roles. 

Non-Clinical Compensation for Physicians with Clinical Research Organizations (CROs). A recent speaker at our conference stated a range of $210-$275K, plus bonus and long-term incentives and that “earning potential over time is substantial.” 

Non-Clinical Compensation for Physicians in Pharma.  This was cited by our most recent speaker on non-clinical careers in pharma as typically $250-$350K to start as an associate medical director. 

Non-Clinical Compensation for Physicians working with the federal government (FDA, CMS, CDC, etc).  This was reported as starting at GS14 or GS15, which translates to a range of $130k to $175K in the Boston area for GS 14.  Keep in mind that many federal jobs are remote and they also position physicians very well to move into the more lucrative private sector. 

Non-Clinical Compensation for Physicians as a Medical Science Liaison (MSL).  Reported in 2022 as $155K + bonus and other incentives (which can be substantial). 

Non-Clinical Compensation for Physicians as a Physician Advisor.  Our 2023 speaker on opportunities as a physician advisor cited a 2023 salary survey conducted by the American College of Physician Advisors.  The majority of the salaries were $250-$300k. 

Conclusion: Non-Clinical Career Compensation For Physicians 

Physicians working non-clinically are fairly compensated.  There is often room for growth that creates an earning potential that exceeds clinical medicine.  Physicians working non-clinically also commonly work far few hours, have no call or weekends, are often able to work from home most or all of the time, and often receive bonuses, stock options and the like.   

If you are thinking about transitioning to a non-clinical career, the finances will probably work out – especially over time as you prove yourself and earn promotions.  In any event, you are most likely going to be working a lot less hard for the money you make with less wear and tear on your body and soul and more time for your family and other interests. 

James J. Mangraviti, Jr. is the co-founder of SEAK, Inc.’s annual Non-Clinical Careers for Physicians Conference, held each year in Chicago.  SEAK’s Non-Clinical Careers for Physicians Conference features a faculty of dozens of physicians who have experience in non-clinical and alternative careers.  Many of our faculty are SEAK alumni.  SEAK’s Non-Clinical Careers for Physicians conference also includes free 1-1 peer mentoring, the opportunity to interview with employers and recruiters, and a robust networking experience.  Jim can be reached at 508-457-1111 or