Introduction: Get paid to do clinical trials

Have you ever wondered how you can contribute to medical advancements and earn at the same time? Clinical trials offer that unique opportunity.

Clinical trials are research studies designed to evaluate a medical, surgical, or behavioral treatment.

Ranging from trying new wellness supplements or weight loss methods to testing new cancer treatments or even brain implants, clinical trials help medical professionals determine if new treatments are safe and effective.

Unlike many side hustles that are low-pay, clinical trials offer a chance to earn serious money, plus the satisfaction of contributing to medical science.

Participating in these trials is straightforward, and you’ll be supported by dedicated professionals ready to answer your questions and guide you through the entire process.

And if the idea of participating seems a bit scary, that’s normal. Take time to learn about the potential side effects and risks upfront to help you make a decision that’s right for you.

Who can participate in clinical trials?

Many people think clinical trials are only for scientists or those with medical backgrounds. That’s not true. Clinical trials are open to just about everyone, and no special knowledge is needed.

Most clinical trials are targeting participants with specific medical conditions, from serious diagnoses like cancer and dementia to more common concerns like acne or arthritis.

Others studies, however, might just be looking for people who have a little weight to lose, or even totally healthy people with no medical conditions at all.

There are clinical trials for young people and old people, and others for specific ethnicities or socio-economic backgrounds.

Clinical trials are also typically inclusive and provide accommodations for people with disabilities or other medical needs.

Chances are, there are multiple clinical trials for which you could qualify today.

Now that you’re familiar with what clinical trials entail and who they’re for, let’s look at some different types of clinical trials.

What types of clinical trials are there?

There are a wide variety clinical trials from the mundane to the mind-blowing. Primarily they come in three categories:

  • Drug trials, where you might get to try a new medication
  • Behavioral studies, where you might learn to meditate, exercise, or change your diet
  • Device trials, where you could be among the first to use a cutting-edge gadget

That is, of course, a very simplified list, as there are such a wide variety of studies and study methodologies it’s nearly impossible to describe them all.

Thankfully there’s detailed information about each study so you can understand exactly what type it is before you consider applying.

Ready to get started?

At this point you’re probably wondering how much can you earn? Read on and we’ll break it down.

How much can I earn from clinical trials?

Potentially earning $50 to $300 per day, clinical trials offer more than just financial compensation; they provide a way to contribute to groundbreaking medical research.

How much you’ll get paid for doing clinical trials is based on the time required, level of involvement, and risk.

  • Duration: Some studies can be as short as a few hours or days while others may last many months
  • Involvement: Studies that involve complex procedures and/or more involvement usually pay more
  • Risks: The variety and severity of risks are another key factor in determining payouts

Be sure to get detailed answers to all of your questions about payment amounts and timeframes before you agree to participate.

Next we’ll take a look at how to find clinical trials.

How do I find clinical trials near me?

With user-friendly websites and comprehensive databases at your fingertips, discovering the right clinical trial has never been simpler.

Here are a few to get you started:

  • Sunrise Trials: Once you sign up for Sunrise Trials they’ll do the hard work for you, matching you with clinical trials that pay “up to several thousand dollars” based on your ZIP code. The Sunrise database includes clinical trials for people with all types of medical conditions, plus studies for healthy people too.

  • Another website and database is from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The site lists publicly funded clinical studies from around the world along with helpful information about clinical trials and how they work.

  • Day1Trials: Day1Labs links you with cutting-edge treatments & new medications unavailable elsewhere – entirely free of charge. They make sure you don’t have to travel far – only trials that are within 30 miles of your home are shown to you.

Navigating these databases is straightforward, and you can filter trials based on your location, condition, and age to find the best matches.

If you’re willing to do a little more legwork, here are a few more ways to find clinical trials:

  • Hospitals & Universities: Keep an eye on local hospital and university websites as both are often looking to recruit participants for their studies.

  • Social Networks: Just one Google search for “clinical trials” will yield dozens of social media groups and other sites where people like you share their advice and stories.

How do earnings vary by region?

Different areas of the country can differ when it comes to clinical trials, both in terms of compensation and availability.

Regions like the Northeast and West, with larger numbers of research institutions and pharmaceutical companies, tend to offer higher compensation and more study opportunities while the Midwest and South may have fewer opportunities but still offer fair compensation.

Here’s a summary:

Region Average Compensation Availability of Studies
Northeast $200-$400 per day High
Midwest $150-$350 per day Moderate
South $100-$300 per day Moderate to High
West $150-$400 per day High

Also it might be obvious, but cities generally have more clinical trials than rural areas, so if you live in a major city, you’re likely to find more opportunities and potentially higher compensation rates.

Keep on reading to learn a bit about applying for clinical trials.

What’s the clinical trial application process like?

After you find an interesting trial you’ll have to apply and qualify. Just because you apply doesn’t guarantee you’ll be accepted.

Here’s the typical process:

  • Pre-screening: Usually online, apply to find out if you meet the basic high-level criteria. This might include age, medical history, and current health conditions and medications.
  • In-person Screening: The next step will likely be an in-person (or video chat) screening that will be even more detailed. This is how the people running the study to decide if you’re a good fit.
  • Agreement: Once you pass the screening and get accepted, you’ll have to sign an agreement regarding your participation and the payment terms.

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get accepted at first — sometimes it’s not meant to be. There will always be more clinical trials to consider.

Ready to make a difference?

How long do clinical trials last?

Clinical trials vary widely in their time commitments, though on average most last one to three months.

Some may be a one-time visit, lasting only a few hours, while others might span several months or even years, requiring regular check-ins. The longer the trial, the higher the potential compensation but also the greater the commitment.

For example, a two-week allergy medication trial with limited involvement and remote participation might pay a few hundred dollars or less.

On the flipside, a long-term study on the effects of a new cancer treatment protocol could pay thousands but require a commitment of several months and seriously impact your routine with frequent doctor visits or even overnight stays.

As you can imagine, it’s very important that you understand exactly how much time you’ll need to commit and how often before you jump in.

Curious about safety? We’ll address that next.

Are clinical trials safe?

While there are inherent risks to clinical trials, it’s important to note that stringent safety protocols and ethical standards are in place to protect participants at every stage.

The US Food & Drug Administration, along with various ethics review committees, ensure that studies follow “good clinical practice (GCP) regulations” to help keep the risk as low as they can.

“Protecting the rights, safety and welfare of people who participate in clinical trials is a critical aspect of the FDA’s mission.”

Of course some clinical trials have significant health risks, and the treatment you receive may not work at all, or might not work as well as a typical or existing treatment.

Be sure to carefully consider any clinical trial and talk to your healthcare professional before choosing to participate.

Closing Thoughts: Are clinical trials right for me?

Starting on a journey to clinical trials is not only about earning money; it’s about being part of something larger than yourself.

With trials ranging from a few days to several months, and open to people from all walks of life, the opportunity to earn while contributing to medical research has never been more accessible.

The key is to go in informed, understanding both the rewards and the risks.

If the idea of contributing to scientific breakthroughs excites you, take that first step today and start changing the world of tomorrow.

Robert Fleming
Written By
Robert Fleming

Robert Fleming is a 20-year veteran of the market research industry and now serves as co-CEO of Paid Survey Update which he co-founded in 2015. He resides in Myrtle Beach.