Foreign or International medical graduates (IMGs) in large number try to opt for pursuing a career in medicine in the US. But it is not always possible for all of them to do so. In the case of non-availability of the core medical option, there are other options available.
Career options that are popular with international medical graduates include
- Drug Safety Physician
- Risk Management Specialist
- Drug Regulatory Affairs Specialist
- Medical Director
- Clinical Trial Manager
For any of these options, an IMG needs to complete a few years of foundational clinical training in order to be employable.
Drug Safety Physician
A drug safety professional's role involves monitoring and ensuring adequate safety levels in drugs being tested. If any drugs are found to be of an unsafe level, it is their duty to report such an event. Medical graduates from other countries may find joining core options such as becoming a physician difficult at various levels and thus can look for alternative options. Among these, becoming a drug safety physician is a lucrative option apart from being a less strenuous one compared to a conventional US physician's work. The role here involves mostly assessing the drug safety levels at various stages of clinical trials. If the person has a medical degree it is of added benefit because such graduates can grasp the concept of drug safety quite quickly and identify causes of adverse events during clinical trials.
Risk Management Specialist
When IMGs take up short term courses in risk management with respect to pharmacovigilance/drug safety, they offer a unique perspective for clinical research organizations (CROs) to recruit. Since they have a deeper understanding of the human body and its vulnerabilities to drugs in addition to their acquired knowledge in managing pharmacovigilance risks, they can prove to be an asset to CROs. Due to their multiple skill sets, they offer cost reduction for CROs in return for the same investment.
Drug Safety Regulatory Affairs Specialist
A physician who has graduated from outside the US can expect a significant remunerative advantage in becoming a drug safety regulatory affairs specialist upon gaining additional skills in regulatory affairs. Here working for and/or with government agencies is an important skill. Thus a foreign-educated medical graduate who is familiar with US regulations concerning drug safety and clinical trials will be an asset to pharmacovigilance companies and other CROs.
A medical director is involved in organizing the drug safety reports for a clinical trial. Becoming a medical director could be difficult for an IMG due to their medical education having been obtained from outside the US. But with appropriate skill bridging through training an IMG can potentially become a medical director.
Clinical Trial Manager
Being an IMG in addition to being in charge of a clinical trial can be one of the most lucrative options. The weekly work hour is less with more or less the same pay compared to a conventional physician. A clinical trial manager who can also double up as a physician will make fewer errors in various aspects of clinical trials
The common theme in all these positions is that of less strenuous work hours, higher pay and promotion possibilities, and options of having more spare time for recreational activities or hobbies.