How to earn more as a junior doctor

Happy junior doctor

Transitioning from medical school into the professional world is an exhilarating time for junior doctors. Amidst the thrill of starting your career, the reality of financial management and the desire to earn more comes into focus. While junior doctors still earn an income significantly higher than minimum wage in Australia and New Zealand, they are often seen at the lower end of the pay scale in the medical profession, and there are still those university bills to pay! The good news is there are several strategies to augment your income and secure a healthier financial future.

1. Consider locum work

Locum tenens positions are an excellent way to gain diverse clinical experience while earning a competitive wage. Hospitals and clinics often pay a premium for locum doctors to fill staffing gaps, especially in rural or remote areas. This flexibility not only enriches your CV but also bolsters your earnings significantly. In Australia, doctors can start locuming at PGY-2 and in New Zealand at PGY-3.

A medical recruiter like Medrecruit can help if you are considering locum work. As Australasia's largest medical recruitment agency, we simplify the job search process, offering a free career-management service for doctors. Register for more information.

2. Pursue specialisation early

Specialising early can set you on a path to higher earning potential sooner. While further training is required, specialists typically command higher salaries than their generalist counterparts. Consider areas of high demand or emerging fields with less competition and more advancement opportunities.

Locum doctors are earning up to $4000/day. How does your salary compare? Find out in our free 2024 Australian Doctor Job Market.
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3. Optimise overtime opportunities

Many healthcare facilities offer overtime to junior doctors. While it’s essential to balance work-life and avoid burnout, strategically accepting overtime shifts can substantially increase your earnings. Be mindful of burnout and ensure you adhere to work-hour regulations.

4. Upskill continuously

Investing in your education by attending workshops, acquiring new certifications, and embracing continuous learning can make you more valuable to your employer and patients. This can lead to promotions, higher pay, and opportunities in pioneering or under-served areas.

5. Network and negotiate

Building a strong professional network can open doors to opportunities not advertised publicly. Learn the art of negotiation. When the opportunity arises for a new role or promotion, being able to negotiate your salary effectively can make a significant difference in your earnings. Partnering with a medical recruitment agency, like Medrecruit, is completely free and offers you a dedicated expert in your court who will find jobs suited to your career or lifestyle needs and negotiate rates for you!

6. Explore side ventures

Consider leveraging your medical knowledge outside of clinical practice. This could involve medical writing, consulting, teaching, or even developing digital content for medical education platforms. Such ventures can provide substantial supplemental income. Again, be mindful of burnout and ensure you don't overcommit yourself. The best side hustles generate passive income (like Airbnb).

7. Financial planning and investments

Effective financial management can help you grow wealth. Consider consulting a financial advisor to make informed decisions about savings, investments, and managing student debt efficiently. If you can't afford a financial advisor there are many books that offer similar services at a fraction of the cost.

While the initial years of your medical career may not be the most lucrative, adopting a strategic approach to your career development can help you increase your earning potential as a junior doctor. Balancing clinical commitments with opportunities for specialisation, continuous learning, and entrepreneurial ventures can set the foundation for a prosperous career and financial stability.

Medrecruit Editorial Team
22 February 2024Article by Medrecruit Editorial TeamMedrecruit Editor