What Are the Different Types of Overseas Doctor Jobs?

C. Mitchell

There are three primary types of overseas doctor jobs: those based in hospitals and private practices abroad, those posted to foreign military bases, and those committed to aid work, often on a temporary basis, in oppressed or war-torn regions. Jobs in each category are markedly different, and the requirements and necessary qualifications are not usually interchangeable. As with most overseas jobs, the contours of what is required and expected are often governed by local law and custom more than any sort of uniform international code.

Doctors can find permanent overseas employment in hospitals and private medical offices.
Doctors can find permanent overseas employment in hospitals and private medical offices.

Doctors who are looking for permanent overseas employment often look for jobs in hospitals or private medical offices abroad. These overseas doctor jobs are usually very comparable to what a doctor has been trained to do in his or her home country. Persons with medical credentials and experience healing and treating the sick are in demand around the world, and postings are available in most countries on a fairly regular basis.

Qualifying for long-term overseas doctor jobs is usually where things get more complicated. In most places, the practice of medicine is tightly regulated by a series of laws and qualification requirements. Doctors must usually pass locally-approved medical board exams, and usually also take strides to prove that their education is comparable to local medical school requirements. Professionals who know that they want an international job placement often try to attend medical school overseas in the country where they wish to work as a means of lowering the initial qualification hurdle.

Overseas doctor jobs in military settings are usually structured quite differently. National militaries often employ a range of medical professionals to accompany troops on assignments throughout the world. Some assignments are combat-related, but many are to permanent posts in various countries where troops are stationed.

In most cases, foreign posts operate under national law. For example, a British Royal Navy outpost in Egypt would operate under English, not Egyptian, law. As such, a doctor qualified to work in Great Britain would also be qualified to work on a British base, no matter where located. Different militaries have different training and commitment requirements, but jurisdiction rarely ever poses a problem.

Volunteer and emergency aid medics make up another type of overseas doctor jobs. This sort of work is usually sponsored by some sort of charity group or overarching international non-profit organization with the goal of bringing critical medical help to those in places where it would not otherwise be available. A doctor job in this category is usually more of a temporary placement than an international career. Professionals usually have their own established practices at home, but donate a certain number of weeks or months a year of service to others. Emergency aid personnel are not usually required to carry anything more than certification or credentials from their home country, since their assistance is not designed to be long-term.

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