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What Jobs Can a Retired Surgeon Do?

A retired surgeon can become an entrepreneur, run a clinic, work at home, or continue to work as an employee with another company. Each of these options offers different benefits and drawbacks; fortunately, they are all good choices for retirees who enjoy the work they’ve done during their careers. As you consider your options, here are some jobs that retired surgeons can do after leaving the operating room behind.

Why You Should Work While You’re Retired?

Some doctors believe that once they’ve hung up their white coats, their work lives are over—but for many of them, there’s still plenty to do. In addition to continuing to consult with colleagues, assisting at medical schools, and contributing to research projects, retired surgeons may decide that they want to pursue other careers. Many go into education, some become painters or sculptors, and others work as insurance agents.

Various Types Of Jobs A Retired Surgeon Can Do

A surgeon is trained to use his hands for cutting and precision, but that’s not all he can do with them after retirement. There are many careers suited for retired surgeons who are looking to work or stay active in retirement. Find out more about some of these careers.

1. Medical Researchers

Doctors spend their lives studying and learning about illnesses and how to cure them. If they retire, there’s no reason why they can’t keep that knowledge up-to-date and apply it to important medical research. By working for a medical research center or company, retired surgeons can use their skills to help develop new treatment options and cures for diseases such as cancer, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS. 

They may also participate in clinical trials testing new medications to make sure they are safe before doctors prescribe them to patients. Even if you don’t choose to work in research, you can still volunteer your time at medical facilities by donating blood or by serving on advisory boards focused on specific diseases.

2. Medical Educator

While retired surgeons can certainly sit around and golf, why not use their decades of experience and knowledge to educate others? After all, there’s no better way to pass on your wisdom than by teaching others. If you decide to pursue medical education as a profession after retirement, there are two paths: clinical and didactic.

Both of these careers also require an advanced degree. While you can become a clinical instructor with just an M.D., many hospitals prefer candidates with Ph. D.s in biochemistry, pharmacology, physiology, cell biology, or other related subjects. Didactic instructors are required to have at least master’s degrees in public health or education for licensure purposes.

3. Health Policy Director

This type of role would suit doctors who have an interest in and passion for healthcare, politics, and social policy. You’ll work closely with doctors, nurses, public health officials, and other healthcare providers to develop new policies—and implement existing ones—to improve healthcare services.

Many health policy directors are involved in planning for and coordinating healthcare services during public health emergencies, such as outbreaks of infectious diseases or natural disasters. They may also work with local officials to develop plans for how their communities will react in response to these events.

4. Clinical Practice Consultant

These days, many medical offices employ physicians who aren’t out in front seeing patients. Instead, they consult with existing doctors and practice management staff to improve patient care, reduce costs, and more. Not only do these consultants draw on their own experience as doctors, but also on their experiences running a successful practice—which can translate into big bucks for retired surgeons looking to share their expertise.

 Many doctors who choose to become practice consultants make about $150 an hour, according to Physician Practice. Those fees can go even higher depending on a doctor’s experience and whether they’re willing to travel for work.

5. Private Practice Surgery

When you’re thinking about your next career move, it makes sense to look for one that fits your skills. And if you’ve got some medical knowledge under your belt, consider using it as leverage for becoming an independent contractor. Private practice surgery has become common among doctors looking to work part-time or outsource their jobs while maintaining flexible hours—and enjoy some control over their working environment. If you have enough money saved up, starting your private practice is an option worth considering.

6. Counsel Surgeons

Many retired surgeons enjoy working as surgical consultants or peer reviewers. Often, retired surgeons sit on committees that review other surgeons’ work and determine whether they’re good enough to be retained by a hospital. For many retirees, reviewing another surgeon’s skills is their main source of income after their savings have dwindled.

A surgeon does not have to stop working once they retire. There are many things that they can do with their skills and training. Some may choose to assist others in their community or state. Others may find that being around other doctors is great for them, so taking part in education as a hospital volunteer may be ideal. There are tons of options out there for those who want to help others as well as continue learning about medicine and helping people even after they’ve retired from practice.


1. What is the Average age when a surgeon retires?

The average age surgeons retire is 64 years old. Most surgeons who are employed work an average of 50 hours per week.

2. Can a retired physician go back to work?

But if retirement has thrown you into a midlife crisis or left you with too much time on your hands, there are plenty of jobs for retired physicians who are looking for some extra cash or just something productive to do with their free time.

3. What other jobs can surgeons do?

When you do reach retirement age, however, don’t assume that your career as a surgeon is over. With so many other fields in medicine available today, retirees can take advantage of their well-honed skills and apply them to different settings and tasks.

4. What happens when a surgeon retires?

What happens when a surgeon retires is dependent on why they are retiring. For those who choose to retire at 65, there is time to plan and pursue other interests.

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