A medical degree, no matter where you get it, is expensive. But you can make money online during medical school to ease the burden. From freelancing, vlogging, blogging, teaching and more, the opportunities are out there. The only thing you need to make it work? Time and a little research.
Take it from someone who’s been working online (in different capacities) for the last decade; it’s a useful side hustle. And one you can get going for yourself with commitment and dedication.
As for ways to do this? Here are ten I see as being fairly accessible:
- Application/CV Writing
- Question Submissions
- General Freelancing
- Digital Products
What Are the Benefits of Making Money Online During Medical School?
The benefits of these are that they allow medical students to work on their own terms. Outside, in between classes or even on the weekends. All you need is a reliable internet connection.
Another plus? You’re not limited by geography or in-country laws either. Meaning if you study abroad (like me) – and can’t find work in your country of study – all this is available to you.
Interested? Let’s explore more.
Survey sites are one of the easiest ways to earn a little extra dollar on the side. You’re not going to get rich of course, but you don’t need any real skills to get started either.
Look around online and you’ll see a whole bunch of sites of this calibre. Offering you the chance to fill out surveys or watch paid-ads in videos; you give your time and they give you money. A simple exchange.
Of course not all survey sites are equal in terms of what they offer. And each have their own pros and cons.
For medical students looking to make a quick buck though? They deserve a place on this list. Even if your downtime, I’d argue, is much better leveraged picking something else (more on this later).
- Easy access; no particular skills needed
- Money while you work (you could do surveys open in your browser while you’re in class/lectures etc)
- Very low pay (think minimum wage (or less))
- Not complimentary to your future career in any way
If you’re still interested I recommend checking out sites like Respondent and SurveyJunkie. I’ve researched a lot of these independently during my work with eBizFacts; and these are the ones you’ll get the best out of. Best pay outs, more available surveys to complete etc.
If you really can do “the best” out of a survey site that is.
Also; r/beermoney is a good place to go if you’re interested in seeing the make-money perspective outside of med school. Many people review, recommend and warn about the limitations of these paid survey sites here.
Start a Blog
Obviously I’m a big fan of starting a blog with an eye to make money. But that’s not only the reason! Here’s 8 more I recommend for starting a medical student blog.
Starting a blog, in my opinion, is a much more valuable use of your time than other options on this list. Sure it’s a long, hard slog. And success isn’t guaranteed. But the benefits of discussing your thoughts, detailing your education and connecting with others has value beyond the concept of simply making money.
So that’s why I continue to do what I do!
Sure it’s not easy as popping onto a survey site and signing up. You’re going to need to invest much more time than that. But the skills you’ll learn can definitely help you with a future in healthcare. Especially if you plan on working in the private sector (as I recommend). And building and scaling a company of your own.
Building a blog will help you learn to market yourself. You’ll get better at writing too.
- Improves a wide array of skills (writing, marketing, design, user experience)
- Opens the door to further money-making opportunities (freelancing – more on this later)
- Low cost of entry (compared to other examples on this list)
- Takes a lot of time (and luck) to generate any significant amount of money
- Requires a small upfront investment (domain name and hosting)
- Involves a lot of discipline and effort to make it work
If you’re interested in blogging and looking for help with ways to start, take a look at my article “how to start a medical student blog“.
Start a YouTube Channel
Readers of this site will know I like to link to a lot of popular medical student/doctor-related YouTube channels. What they might not know? All these channels generate income from YouTube ads – as well as any products they link out to as affiliate sales.
For busy medical students who know their way around a 4K smartphone and video editing software, starting a YouTube channel can be a smart choice. Not to mention lucrative.
One of the best things about starting a vlogging career is that it’s relatively scalable – something we talked about as one of the primary reasons not to study medicine. You make a video once. You upload it. You generate cash from it far into the future.
Especially if that particular video turns out to be a hit and generates a lot of clicks!
Of course there are a few issues with going down this route of making money online during med school. It can conflict with the rules of your institution. Or breach confidentiality laws should you film the more intricate parts of learning medicine. So it’s not for everyone.
It also depends entirely on how comfortable you feel in front of camera too.
- Lucrative (a lot of money can be made from a big audience)
- Immediate (make a string of hits and you’ll start earning money quickly – not like blogs)
- Creative outlet (you can take a vlog in many directions)
- Production/start-up costs are more expensive than starting a blog
- Success is largely dependent on personality, scripting ideas etc
- Very difficult to gain traction and grow a substantial audience
- Privacy concerns could cause conflict with a future career in medicine
There are many ways to get started in YouTube. If you’re starting from scratch though it’s a very good idea to make a small investment in an online course. That way you can learn what it takes to make a high quality video and hopefully get earning money quickly during your time in med school.
On point with starting a blog or vlog are other popular ways of earning online like eBay. Sure this method is very country-specific and involves handling inventory but that’s not to say it’s worth discrediting. Especially for medical students who have interesting hobbies or expertise in other areas.
Flipping products you know a lot about is one way to do it. As is making and selling products yourself – like you can do on Etsy for example.
It’s not the preferred option for me, living out in Bulgaria with the post is a bit erratic. But it could work for you if you have a niche interest that you think you could profit from. Medical notes and posters, for example, are one particular way I could see this working.
One of my professors does this with 3D-printing. Building anatomical models, shaping them into all types of interesting things and shipping them around the world.
- Well-suited if you like building or making things that you know can sell at profit
- Earning capacities can range from medium to high depending on what you decide to make/re-sell
- Dependent on reliable post and delivery services
- Overheads (cost of production) might not make it worth it
For inspiration check out Sarah Clifford. She used her art and illustration skills to turn her medicine study notes into books and posters she sold through Etsy and then her own online store.
A nice way I’ve found work online during my time in medicine – aside from freelancing (more on that later) – is video transcription. I have a gig on Fiverr advertising exactly this.
A lot of long-form YouTube content, especially academic discussions or interviews, require text transcriptions from search engine optimisation (SEO) purposes. Watching these videos and typing them up is exactly what this involves.
You can also do this in a variety of languages. I cover English (my native language in this), but in the past have also done rough translation work in Spanish. The more languages you speak obviously opens you up to more opportunity.
Podcasts and voice recordings are both rich media that many producers look to get transcribed. If you can link your knowledge in medicine to the field too, you can even raise your prices as a specialist – saving you time looking up complex terminology etc that other transcribers might miss.
- Low barrier to entry; only involves access to a computer or laptop
- Can fit work around your schedule
- Difficult to find gigs (easy to be out-competed by lower priced competitors)
- Not scalable (trade time for money)
- Not as lucrative as other suggestions on this list
You can get started with transcription by offering your services on freelancing sites like Fiverr and Upwork. Or by contacting YouTube influencers (who might be interested in transcription) directly.
We all know how competitive it is to get into medicine. We also know how lengthy and complicated the application process can be. As well as the amount of stress it can cause future students!
One way to counteract this then is to offer your own experience applying for medical school as a potential side-line for cash. You help fine-tune these applications. Students pay you for your help as a result.
The same method can be applied to CV or resumes. Especially if a student is trying to get into an area of research or medicine that you know a lot about. Helping them re-write and re-target their resumes based on your own knowledge can help solve important problems. The types people are often willing to pay to resolve.
A good way to get started is to reach out to students on social media. Tell them what you do, how you can help and what you’ve done for others. Or start a blog (as already suggested) and write about what you feel makes a good application/resume. Then let them find you.
- Help others improve their future using your expertise and knowledge
- Potential opportunity outside of med school with healthcare recruitment etc
- Difficult to find clients
- Tricky finding regular work (seasonal around application dates)
Look around the web and you’ll see many agencies and companies doing just this. There’s nothing stopping you from going out on your own and doing the same.
Using question banks are one of the best ways to study medicine more effectively. Writing questions too though, as many students can attest, is another incredibly useful way of making money while in med school.
Obviously you’ll need to know a lot about the subject you plan on writing questions for. But for those of us passing from course to course, penning MCQ-style questions based on our notes, can be a fairly straightforward way to generate cash. You just need to find an outlet that’ll accept the questions you write.
If google around you’ll find many of the online medicine question portals actually pay for submissions. Others – although not stating directly – probably do also. So it pays to reach out to course creators directly and relay your interest.
Speaking from personal experience, writing medicine-based questions is one of the more career-specific skills you can learn on this list. Doing so can help better your own understanding of core concepts. As well as help you work toward future teaching opportunities.
- Pairs well with medicine as a career
- Furthers your own understanding of core medical concepts
- Requires finding an online question bank to submit regularly to
- Can get your questions rejected (your work might not always be compensated)
A good way to work around the cons of course is to start your own question bank as an online product. That way you own the platform and can get students to buy-in and pay for your work. As well as bettering everyone’s education.
Next on the list is general freelancing. Meaning using a skill-set you’ve developed to work in an online capacity around your medical studies.
For many medical students – particularly those coming straight out of high school – this might not be the most effective way of generating a side-income. For people with a little more experience though it certainly can work.
Some of the best skills that lend themselves well to online freelancing include writing, coding, graphic design and any kind of marketing or sales. The good thing with a lot of these is that they can be learned fairly quickly too (except maybe coding).
A lot of the time you just need to know a little more about a specific skill than the people reaching out to hire you. Taking free online courses, with the likes of Coursera and Udemy for example, can give you trajectory here. As long as you dedicate and find the time to do so in and around your medical school schedule.
One interesting thing about freelancing is just how broad it is. Gaming is a particularly interesting area that might not be that obvious at first glance. But a lot of money can be made coaching new players to your favourite games – as well as in vlogging, writing and streaming (Twitch) too.
- Super broad (everyone has something that can make money online doing)
- Requires finding a platform to find paid gigs
- Might need to develop a more in-demand skill-set to make better money
Language teaching is something I’ve done a lot of before I began my journey in medicine. Since then, times have changed quite dramatically. And a lot of language learning is taking place online.
I remember using iTalki.com a lot several years ago to better my Spanish skills. I’m hardly surprised now then that the platform is a huge earner for language teachers across the world. Not just native English speakers catering to the Asian market (although that does make up a large percentage of the language learning world).
I think this is potentially a great fit for medical students to earn money because it can be nicely scheduled around classes. Of course there’s a potential to earn more with a teaching qualification (I have the CELTA, for example), but there’s still a lot of opportunity for those without too.
This is also something that can spill over from the online to the real world too. Should you find the demand. Otherwise all you need is stable internet connection and decent enough microphone – something every laptop should have!
- Easy to get started
- Time zones make it something you can easily work around classes/lectures
- Limited by the demand to the learn the language you know
- Rates can be low for the unqualified
Interest in language teaching? I recommend checking out iTalki.com as a good place to start.
Create Your Own Digital Product
The last option on this list requires a lot of up-front work. It’s also potentially risky to give all your energy to if you’re unsure about what is your offering. That’s why I’d recommend working up to this through one of the many options discussed before.
Digital products though can be a great way to make money online during medical school. They are passive; meaning you can earn from them while you study or sleep. And they are scalable; meaning there’s no limit to the amount of units you can sell.
Things that work well here include books, guides, software programs – the types of things that can be easily replicated but provide a lot of value to the user.
These can be sold on your own platform (a blog or YouTube channel for example) or through others. The best way involves a bit of research but if you can successfully build a following before launch that’ll help.
Success in this area is all about value. The best digital products provide a solution to a problem or information about a set of questions that isn’t freely available anywhere else.
- Scalable and passive
- High potential earnings
- Require a solid skill-set to build from
- Need a good audience or marketing skills to really make it work
- Risky; what you build might not necessarily sell well
Digital products are not something I’m experienced with as a creator personally. That said, I see plenty of people doing well from them off the back of establishing some kind of following. For medical students who are able to leverage their downtime to make this work? They might be a good option.
There are many ways to make money during med school. You just have to be careful how much time you give it. Full time work isn’t sustainable.
The most effective methods? Freelancing with an in-demand skill, starting a blog or YouTube channel and helping other students prepare for their education with application and resume writing services. Those are the ones with the lowest barriers to entry.
One last thing; although working online has many great benefits don’t let that limit you. Sometimes there are just many great opportunities going on locally too. So reach out to people around you.
Born and raised in the UK, Will went into medicine late (31) after a career in digital marketing and journalism. He’s into football (soccer), learned Spanish after 5 years in Spain, and has had his work published all over the web. Read more.