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Physician: Alternative Careers

In BC, physicians (general practitioners [GPs], family physicians) diagnose and treat people who are injured or ill.

You may find that your international training and experience as a physician are not immediately accepted in B.C. The skills you have acquired (patient care, communication, interpersonal and analytical skills, compassion and understanding) can be used in these alternative careers:

  • health care administrator (NOC 0014)
  • health policy researchers / analysts (NOC 4165)
  • public health inspectors (NOC 2263)
  • health care aides (NOC 3413)
  • medical laboratory assistant (NOC 3212) & medical laboratory technologists (NOC 3211)

Health Care Administrator (NOC 0014)

You make sure that health service centres operate efficiently and provide proper care to patients. You work in hospitals, outpatient clinics, drug abuse treatment centres, home health care agencies, and long-term care facilities.

Duties include:

  • develop policies and procedures and make sure they are followed
  • plan and coordinate departmental activities
  • handle budgeting and accounting
  • manage staff members
  • evaluate patient services and develop medical programs

Requirements:

  • post-secondary degree in relevant discipline (e.g. health care administration, health information)

Skills

  • strong communication, decision making and leadership skills

Wages:

Health Policy Researchers, Analysts (NOC 4165)

You conduct research, produce reports and administer health care policies and programs.

Duties include:

  • monitor and evaluate health care programs operated by government agencies or private organizations
  • compile and analyse statistical information provided by private and public health care institutions and organizations and produce reports
  • assist in developing government health policy and providing advice to senior managers and officials on issues such as health promotion, regulation, standards and financing

Requirements

  • post-secondary degree in health science, hospital administration or other relevant discipline

Skills

  • understand health and medical terminology
  • research and report writing
  • strong planning and leadership skills

Wages

Inspectors in Public and Environmental Health and Occupational Health and Safety (NOC 2263)

Also referred to as: public health inspector, environmental health officer, occupational health and safety officer, health standards inspector

You evaluate and monitor health and safety hazards and develop strategies to control risks in the workplace. You inspect restaurants, public facilities, industrial sites, and other workplaces to ensure compliance with government regulations regarding sanitation, pollution control, the handling and storage of hazardous substances and workplace safety.

Duties include:

  • inspect the sanitary conditions of restaurants, hotels, schools, hospitals and other public facilities or institutions
  • conduct surveys and monitor programs of the natural environment to identify sources of pollution
  • investigate health and safety related complaints, spills of hazardous chemicals, outbreaks of diseases or poisonings and workplace accidents

Requirements:

Skills

  • strong communication and problem solving skills

Wages

Health Care Assistant (HCA) OR Health Care Aides (NOC 3413)

You assist people, especially older adults, who require basic care. You also help to promote and maintain clients’ physical, emotional, and social well-being. HCAs work within a health care team in care facilities or independently within the community.

Duties include:

  • assist clients with the tasks of daily living
  • help deliver care and rehabilitation programs to people with disabilities and chronic medical conditions
  • provide for the comfort, safety and well-being of clients
  • assist with recreational activities

Requirements

  • 5-7 month post-secondary certificate program, criminal record check

Skills

  • good understanding of the conditions that lead to disability
  • demonstrate sensitivity and respect for clients’ individuality and culture
  • communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing
  • ability to work as a member of a team
  • physical ability to carry out the duties of the position
  • ability to organize work and manage time
  • ability to safely operate lifts and other equipment

Wages

Medical Laboratory Assistant (NOC 3212) & Medical Laboratory Technologists (NOC 3211)

You may also wish to investigate working as a medical laboratory technologist or medical laboratory assistant.

Certification is not mandatory, but many employers prefer you to be certified by the BC Society for Medical Laboratory Science (for medical laboratory technicians) or Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (for medical laboratory technologists).

To learn about certification see:

British Columbia Society for Medical Laboratory Science

Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS)

CSMLS Internationally Educated Technologist Certification Process

HealthMatch BC
A free health professional recruitment service for publicly funded health care facilities

For details on working in BC see WorkBC:

More opportunities to Consider:

  • Medical research
  • Occupation medicine
  • Medical and health care product sales
  • Medical managers or administrators
  • Medical advisors or counselling
  • Medical communications
  • Health and /or mental Health patient advocate
  • Government Department of Health (example: health planner or policy analyst)

Employment Outlook

Changes in the economy have little impact on the health care industry, as occupations in this industry group provide essential services. The health care industry is mainly affected by demographics and government policy.

Employment growth in hospital services will be the slowest within the health services industry, due to controlling hospital costs and increasing use of outpatient clinics and other alternative care facilities.

Source: WorkBC

Health Care Administrator (NOC 0014)
Job Openings Outlook in BC

employment outlook health care administrator
Source: http://www.workbc.ca/

Health Policy Researchers, Consultants and Program Officers (NOC 4165)
Job Openings Outlook in BC

employment outlook for health policy researchers, consultants and program officersSource: WorkBC

Inspectors in Public and Environmental Health and Occupational Health and Safety (NOC 2263)
Job Openings Outlook in BC

employment opportunities for inspectors in public and environmental health and occupational health and safetySource: WorkBC

Health Care Assistant (NOC 3413)
Job Openings Outlook in BC

employment opportunities for residential care worker or health care aideSource: WorkBC

Retraining

You may want to consider upgrading your skills to increase your employment options in this field. The following courses may improve your current skills:

Health Leadership, Advanced Certificate BCIT School of Health Sciences
2 year, part-time program offered through distance/online learning. This highly specialized program is specifically focused on developing emerging health leaders.

Medical Communications for Healthcare Professionals, BCIT
This course will help internationally educated professionals develop your oral, listening, writing and reading skills so that you may accurately communicate medical and scientific information to other medical professionals.

Thompson Rivers University (TRU) Open Learning: Medical English
Develop and strengthen your understanding of medical terminology as it is used in a Canadian health care context. Thirty week program, web-based instruction

Searching for Jobs

B.C. Health Authorities
Regional services including publicly funded hospitals and residential care facilities
(select link for each region and then go to ‘Careers’)

B.C. Provincial Health Services Authority Job Postings
Lists jobs available in specialty institutions such as BC Transplant, Women’s Hospital, BC Children’s Hospital

Providence Health Care

Indeed.ca

Neuvoo

Privately funded residential care facilities

Volunteering in the Field

Volunteering in health care facilities can help you to explore a new career and learn more about the health care system in BC. You will meet new people and build a network of contacts that can lead to information on job openings and inside connections with potential employers.

The following organizations accept volunteers in hospitals, residential care facilities, palliative care and other community settings.

Vancouver Coastal Health Authority

Fraser Health Authority

Providence Health Care

Community Care Facilities, BC Ministry of Health
Other volunteer opportunities may be available from individual care facilities across BC:

Canadian Mental Health Association

Canadian Red Cross

Helpful Resources

College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia

Doctors of BC

Health Care CAN

Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors

Canadian Home Care Association

Choose the following links for further assistance: