Physicians’ Side Gigs

When is a physician not a physician?  When they have a second job and it doesn’t involve being a physician.  One in three Canadian physicians have a “gig” job.  And only 66% are related to medically related activities.  Male physicians are more apt to have a ‘second’ job than female physicians.  And women physicians, on average, earn 30% less than their male counterparts who have side gigs.

So, what are the main side gigs for Canadian physicians?  According to Medscape’s 2022 “Physician Revenue Streams Report”, they include:

Guest Speaking

Expert witness

Teaching (part-time)

Reviewing medical cases


Moonlighting (e.g. ER shifts)

Medical podcasting

TV/Media consultant

Some of the more interesting non-medicine related pursuits including cooking or food preparation, organic farming and even animal training.  Older physicians are more apt to be an expert witness (more time to earn additional qualifications and experience).  And one-third of side jobs involved real estate and investing.

How much time do physicians spend on their side gigs?  On average, about 20 hours a month.  Compare that to the 130 – 150 hours per month they spend practising medicine. 

Why do physicians engage in side gigs?  The primary reason is to earn additional income, while only 16% said it was to have more fun.  And 78% report that their side gig provides the same, if not more, fulfillment than their career as a physician.  There are also tax benefits of running a small business.  And even establishing passive revenue streams.  These include investments and income properties.

How do you find a side gig.  One physician finds all of hers on LinkedIn.  She searches for the category she’s interested in, sets her job interests and received email alerts when jobs become available.  There are web sites devoted just to physician side gigs, such as Physician Side Gigs.

Challenges of having a side gig include fatigue, not having a reasonable work-life balance, and even competition from colleagues.  Side gigs typically added 20 extra hours to the work week.  And most physicians had to learn new skills to implement and develop their side gigs. 

However, there are non-monetary benefits.  Part-time jobs often offer more flexibility, and passive income streams help secure financial security, especially if you become unable to practise clinical medicine or for when you retire.  It’s also a great way to meet new people and expand your network of colleagues.  And it’s something you can usually do on your own terms, that’s uniquely you.


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