Months 2 Through 4

In this solo episode, John explains how to embrace Stage 2 of the 12-Month Roadmap. It is a plan he originally designed to guide you from full-time clinical practice to chief medical officer of a hospital.

However, this comprehensive roadmap can also be adapted to other nonclinical roles, in industries such as pharma, consulting, insurance, education, and health system management.

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Navigating Your Nonclinical Career Path: A 12-Month Roadmap

Welcome back, fellow explorers! As we move ahead on our nonclinical career journey, remember that while this roadmap spans 12 months, the timing can vary based on the time you can commit and competing commitments.

Flexibility is key. Our stages overlap, and some might warrant revisiting. Do you lean towards pharma's diverse roles or health systems' intricate landscape? Perhaps insurance or benefit management intrigues you. Focusing on proven strategies will guide your way.

If you're unsure, don't fret. As we venture into Stage 2 (months 2-4), brace yourself for illuminating insights and useful tools.

Navigating Stage Two: Building Networks and Enhancing Credentials

As you embrace Stage 2, you'll seamlessly integrate into professional networks, expand your connections, and explore new certifications or degrees.

This phase is a focused and engaging three-month process, marked by strategic steps that gradually propel you toward your nonclinical career goals.

  1. Join a Professional Organization

  2. Start Networking

  3. Explore Certifications and Degrees


During this discussion, John highlights valuable resources to aid your journey. Access a comprehensive list of nonclinical jobs at 70 Nonclinical and Nontraditional Careers.  And gain insights into the services of professional organizations in this resource: Professional Organizations for Nonclinical Careers. Your nonclinical career path is just a step away.

NOTE: Look below for a transcript of today's episode. 

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Transcription PNC Podcast Episode 312

Embrace Stage 2 of the 12 Month Roadmap to a New Career

John: All right nonclinical nation, let's talk about stage 2 of the 12 month roadmap. This is a roadmap to any nonclinical career. It probably would apply to applying for clinical careers, but there's some things that are very different. This one is specifically for nonclinical jobs.

I did address stage one or phase one, which is really month one, back in a podcast episode. I think it was October or November of 2022, so it wasn't that long ago, but I've been remiss in not getting to step two or phase two.

Now, I want to tell you that the 12 months is somewhat arbitrary. With effort, the process could probably be accomplished much quicker. But on the other hand, 12 months is a nice round number and it takes into account the need to give up maybe up to six months' notice for some employment contracts for you to leave. It might be 90 days, might be one 20 or maybe even six months or longer. That kind of fits in with the 12 month timeframe.

Today I'm going to talk about, like I said, stage two, which covers months two through four of the process. Now, everything I'm going to discuss today have been discussed in other podcast episodes and sometimes other videos and courses. But I'm putting this course together in nice bite-sized pieces so that you can actually work along with the steps if you'd like. I'll put a link to the episode where we covered step one or phase one.

With that, remember too that the stages do overlap and in some cases may need to be repeated, depending on what's happening at that stage. I'll remind you that stage one included basically four tasks. Overcoming limiting beliefs, myths and misconceptions. Reviewing job descriptions more as a learning process than actually for application. Identifying mentors and starting to engage with the mentors. And then setting up your initial LinkedIn profile. It doesn't have to be complete.

However, now we're moving into stage two. You've done all that and stage two includes identifying and joining appropriate professional organizations, growing and accessing your network and exploring degrees and certifications. Let's get to my presentation right now and dig into those topics.

The other prerequisite when starting this 12 month roadmap is that you already have some idea at least what industry you want to pursue. In other words, do you want to do something in pharma? You could select that single industry because it has dozens of different types of jobs, and many of them are entry level. Or do you want to do something in health systems and hospitals? Do you want to do something in insurance company and on the benefit management side like UM or do you want to pick two or three of those and dig into it a little bit before narrowing it down? You can do that, but you have to have some idea.

If you start this process with absolutely no idea, you need to do a little bit of pre-work, I guess is what I would call it, by just learning a little bit about some of these jobs. And then you can get into more detail and narrow it down during this 12 month process.

Maybe just to give you an overview of the entire process. I've talked about stage one. Stage two we'll talk about today includes things like joining a professional organization, starting more intensive networking and exploring certificates and degrees or just coursework.

Stage three, you're going to start really searching job listings, access some of the courses you may have identified, perhaps pursue that certificate. There are certificates you can get in 10, 15, 16 weeks, whatever, three months that can help you in your job search. You can be continuing to consult regularly with your mentor, and then you can really focus on networking and finding sponsors, which I'm using that term means somebody at a company or at a recruiter's office who will stand up for you, will look at your resume and will help facilitate your transition.

And then stage four, we're getting really into the nitty gritty, resume, writing, creating your template and a cover letter that you'll customize. Update your LinkedIn profile so it really is on target. And then start making some phone calls to employers and HR departments and recruiters.

And then the next stage five is where you are selecting job opportunities. You're doing really heavy research on the places where you've been asked to do at least an introductory visit, probably online screening call, really customizing your cover letter and resume, preparing for telephone interviews and face-to-face interviews, attending the interview and then following up. And then really the sixth stage is, either start the new job or repeat the process, go to the beginning and starting over if let's say you've had two or three or four interviews and they haven't gone anywhere. That's the overview.

But let's get back to stage two here. We're really serious about moving into a nonclinical career. There are things that are just different when you're looking at a nonclinical career. That's why although there's probably parallels in maybe applying for a new job as a clinician, this would apply to physicians, nurses and anybody really who's a licensed clinician. There's a lot of similarities partly because what drives us away from clinical care and taking care of patients is pretty much the same in terms of many of us are driven to that by being overworked, being underappreciated, not really being considerate of our time and our work-life balance. Trying to keep our salaries to a minimum even though we're all extremely well educated and committed people that are doing these jobs. A lot of this applies to really anybody in healthcare making the change.

What I've put in stage two, it's some homework. And I make this about a three month process because this takes time. Meeting with a mentor, you can do that in 15 minutes, 30 minutes, and once a month really. You shouldn't overburden a mentor. Like I say, that comes in the next stage, really, although you should be doing that all along. But doing the steps in stage two do require some effort and some focus and some time.

The three major steps that I've included in that phase to try and really get you up to speed is number one, to join a professional organization, or two or three. Number two, to start networking in earnest. And then number three is explore certifications and degrees. Because by the time you get done with your month one, kind of looking through those job descriptions and looking at these organizations and learning more about a potential industry, you're going to find that there may or may not be requirements for some kind of certification and a degree or even just taking some courses.

Let's go through each of these separately. And again, I'm probably going longer than I want to, but let's just kind of go through this quickly and see what we can do. And I have resources for you too. That's the only reason I wanted to bring this up today. Many of you follow my podcast or been to my website and you probably already have these, but I have some pretty useful resources.

Joining a professional organization. Let's say that you've gone through the first phase, you've narrowed it down to an industry or two, and now maybe you even narrowed it down to a job within that industry. In hospital management, there's a pretty standard procedure. You do part-time work as a physician advisor, you might start doing part-time work as a medical director, either of a service line or quality improvement or CDI or informatics, something like that.

And then if you're really serious, you may move into a full-time position as a medical director. And in some organizations that are big, you might become a senior medical director or executive medical director or something like that. In pharma, there are different jobs in different divisions that we talk about. And there are organizations actually for each division in a sense, or at least there's more than one organization if you're working in pharma.

That brings me to the handout I was going to mention. Most people that I know are following me have already gotten the handout on 70 nonclinical and unconventional careers for a physician. That one is a basic one that has 70 plus different jobs by title described, but I mentioned it here, under joining a professional organization because it actually lists a resource for each of those jobs. And the resource is oftentimes a society or an association. And you can find that if you go to

But I have another handout that is not as well known, and I don't push it that often. And the thing about this handout is it is a list of professional organizations for nonclinical careers. The nice thing about this handout is that it tells you some of the factors for each of these associations or professional organizations. And since we're also talking about exploring certifications and degrees, some of these organizations have some type of certification or degree.

But let me mention just before I get into that, what the organizations are for some of the more common nonclinical positions. If you're thinking about looking at CDI, you would probably want to look at either the American Academy of Professional Coders or the Association of Clinical Documentation Integrity Specialists. Those are the two that can really help you prep and get ready to apply for a job in utilization management and or clinical documentation improvement or both, because the billing and the coding go hand in hand.

If you can become an expert in billing and or coding or understand how to use protocols for doing benefits management, meaning approving or not approving certain requests for procedures or for meds, then that would be really helpful. If you're looking for a job in pharma and you're thinking about becoming a medical science liaison, there is the MSL society, which is If you are looking for a job in public health with the government, the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America might be a good one to take a look at.

You can get this list, which I don't know what we've got here, 5, 10, 15 or about 20 organizations more or less, that you can access by going to That's professional organizations list. It's And it'll also show you the answer to the question, the third part of this particular step in my model, and it lists which of those organizations have certification and or certificate programs.

It also lists things like is there formal mentorship? Do they have recorded courses, do they have live courses? Do they have a newsletter? Do they have a community of peers? All these questions are answered. Yes, there's a few that, depending on what we're talking about, they might not offer, but a well-developed and mature professional organization typically has all of those things.

For example, there is certificate programs through the American Academy of Insurance and Medicine, the American Academy of Professional Coders, the American Association for Physician Leadership, the AAPL, which is the major organization, the organization, if you're working to become a leader in almost any industry, but particularly in hospital and health systems or in pharma or in the insurance company. Things like that.

Again, if you go to that, it'll give you all that information on one page and will help you to figure out whether you should pursue certification or even a degree. I usually don't promote pushing for a degree very often because you can get the degree after you're already in your first nonclinical job and it'll be more pertinent anyway to what you're doing. Let's say you decide to go to the AAPL and try to get the CPE, or you try to get an MMM from a university which is a master in medical management or whatever.

And those are relatively long, those take years to accomplish, but you can do shorter certifications, even shorter degrees, and they'll be much more applicable to what you're doing if you start doing those once you've already got your first nonclinical position. And on top of that, you will be able to get the employer to sometimes pay for that.

And the other big thing in this section is to start networking. Networking means really talking to people. And the one caveat I want to give to networking when you start doing that is, if at all possible, you want to find out if there's something you can do for your mentor, if not initially, at least along the way. In other words, it's not rude, but it's too lopsided just to look for someone that's going to teach you for free. Most mentors will mentor for free physicians, nurses, we've always done that with students.

And so, just keep that in mind. Try and connect to let's say a mentor that you don't know through someone that you do know. You can do a lot of research on LinkedIn. You can start to grow your network on LinkedIn. And on LinkedIn most people will accept almost any request to connect if it's from at least a second degree or particularly if you have an introduction from somebody else.

And then on Doximity, it's fantastic for finding people from your med school class. Remember too, that med school alumni are good. Same thing with residency. You can look for your residency class. You may have kept in touch with those people. But if you can look for your residency alumni, it really expands and you just put something out there saying, "Hey, I'm getting tired of practice and thinking of a nonclinical job." And you might be able to tell on both LinkedIn and or Doximity if they're doing one. If not, then you can always just send the note out and ask them about it and say, "Hey, contact me if you're doing a nonclinical job. I just like to know what you're doing as they start this process."

And sometimes if we're working in a hospital or in a clinic and we find that some of our colleagues have already moved away, it's sometimes good to look them up, reach out to them if you can't tell from their LinkedIn profile what they're doing and say, "Hey, you left here. Are you still practicing or are you doing something nonclinical? Or are you doing a combination of both?" And that can be very helpful.

I think that's all I want to say about the 12 month roadmap to a new career today. I hope you found that useful. I did mention some resources during the discussion where you can get a list of nonclinical jobs. That one's at And a list of professional organizations and their benefits, which can be downloaded from

You can find those links and others related to today's presentation at


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The opinions expressed here are mine and my guest’s. While the information provided on the podcast is true and accurate to the best of my knowledge, there is no express or implied guarantee that using the methods discussed here will lead to success in your career, life, or business.

The information presented on this blog and related podcast is for entertainment and/or informational purposes only. I do not provide medical, legal, tax, or emotional advice. If you take action on the information provided on the blog or podcast, it is at your own risk. Always consult an attorney, accountant, career counselor, or other professional before making any major decisions about your career.