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Side Gigs for Residents and Fellows

While we’re big believers that the focus of training should be on perfecting your craft as a clinician, we understand that residency and fellowship are a time of significant financial stress. Many training programs are in high cost of living cities, and many trainees have started families and may be the sole source of income on a limited budget. Add to that the pressure of student loans and possible accumulating credit card debt, and we often see residents and fellows on our physician communities asking about opportunities for side gigs to help address their expenses and mounting debt.

Fortunately, there are several side gigs that residents and fellows can do that offer both flexibility and the ability to earn an amount of income that could help bolster your personal finances during this final stretch of training. While medical side gigs are more limited for this group of physicians, there are still plenty of great opportunities to explore as we continue our unique side gigs by speciality series. In case you missed it, make sure to follow the series on our Instagram account as well for ideas as you transition into your chosen speciality.

Unique side gigs for residents and fellows

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While certain specialites are more amenable to this than others, many programs or nearby institutions may offer opportunities for moonlighting. This is probably one of the most lucrative ways to earn money assuming that you feel competent to perform the duties that are asked of you. Each opportunity will likely list certain qualificaitons such as a certain number of years of training you should have completed or whether you need to have a license to practice, and each state has different rules about when you can acquire a license. If you are accepting a position outside of your institution, make sure that you are given adequate malpractice insurance. Also, make sure that your program allows moonlighting.

Many fellowships and even residency programs have opportunities for internal moonlighting, so check and see if the other residents and fellows are engaging in any of these. Some residents are able to moonlight at urgent care centers or take call at outside hospitals providing basic services.

We do feel compelled to say that as this money is likely your first taste of "attending income," it can feel very enticing and some trainees will overdo it and max out as many shifts as they can. Remember that you do need time for rest and relaxation, and that overdoing it can contribute to burnout as well as detract from your education. Figure out what your earnings needs are, and then set boundaries for yourself. Training is a long game!

Medical Surveys (For Fellows, Not Usually for Residents)

Paid medical surveys are a favorite among our physician community members as many can be completed in a few minutes while you’re waiting for dinner to finish cooking or in the evenings before bed.

While opportunities for residents are extremely limited these days, if you are a fellow, you may be able to qualify for opportunities using your primary board certification. As a heads up, many medical surveys will ask how many years of experience you have outside of residency, so don’t be surprised if you screen out of the survey depending on the objectives of the company conducting the research. The screening process is our most frequent complaint for this side gig.  Some companies offer a small honorarium or points toward something if you are screened out, but unfortunately, you usually won’t be paid for your time doing the screener if this happens.

If you’re interested in the opportunity, it’s worth exploring opportunities for paid medical surveys with a few different companies to see if you have better luck with one than others. Make a mental note of which surveys you tend to get selected for, and target those for your future applications.


Tutoring can be quite lucrative, with the added benefit of flexibility and depending on the subject matter, the ability to help you expand your knowledge base and hone your teaching skills.

Several tutoring options exist, depending on your interests and local setting. You could tutor

  • Elementary and middle school students in fundamentals you enjoy

  • High school students with math and science courses

  • Pre-med college students with related courses

  • Pre-med students studying for the MCAT or USMLE

  • Medical school students

Online tutoring websites can help connect you to students looking for tutoring in your local area and virtually. These sites typically take a percentage of your tutoring fees, so you may have more financial success reaching out locally, depending on the amount of time you have available to market your side gig as a tutor. If you find niche audiences, we’ve seen members charging between $75-150/hour.

While tutoring offers a lot of flexibility in scheduling, most students will want ongoing support for at least a semester, so factor your availability and current workload before signing up new students.

Medical Writing and Board Review Content Creation

Medical writing is another popular side gig for our physician members, and residents and fellows can get creative with this side gig. Some ideas include:

  • Questions for board review question banks

  • Content for board review prep study guides

  • Peer review editing to prepare for publication

  • Health blogs (see our influencer section below)

  • Content for consumer health sites

As you are still acutely familiar with standardized testing and board review preparations, you can offer quite a bit of value here that attending physicians may be too far removed from. It’s a great way to turn your notes from your endless hours of studying into a potential side gig by creating board review or MCAT content or questions. 

Editing Medical School & Residency Essays

Similar to side gigs such as board review content and study guides for the MCAT, editing medical school and residency essays is another great opportunity to leverage your recent experience and turn it into an income stream.

This side gig can be more flexible than tutoring as your clients don’t typically require a long-term relationship. This can, however, make it more difficult to find steady work, depending on how much time you want to invest in your side gig and how much additional income you hope to make.

Tutoring sites may cover essay review as a provided service, allowing you to market on their platforms. You can also sign up on platforms such as Fiverr and Upwork to advertise.

Networking at your alma mater or creating a relevant blog, podcast, or social media account with content related to medical school or residency admissions are other great ways to make connections and market your services.

Med School or Residency Admissions Advising

If you’re passionate about helping others reach their dreams of becoming a physician but don’t enjoy writing or editing or remembering the Krebs’ cycle, consider advising pre-med students. This allows you to leverage your experience and expertise to help others avoid pitfalls you either encountered yourself or witnessed with colleagues.

Depending on who you are advising and what their specific needs are, this side gig can be a short-term or long-commitment for each client. Balance your pre-existing commitments and get clearly defined goals from your potential clients before agreeing to work with them to help manage expectations on both sides.

Similar to essay editing, networking at your alma mater or creating relevant content about medical school or residency admissions is a great way to introduce your side gig and market your services.

Influencer Gig

If you want to take advising from one-on-one to a global scale, consider becoming a physician content creator and influencer. While becoming an influencer takes a steady build up of content creation and time, it’s a side gig that can be adjusted to fit your schedule. Googling “confessions of a medical resident” brings up plenty of content to scroll for relevant examples.

Find a topic that you’re comfortable talking about in length and build a niche or give it a new voice to make it unique, and you’re well on your way.

If you’re looking for additional income quickly, this might not be the best side hustle for you as becoming an influencer requires building a rather significant following before you’re able to monetize your efforts. The upside is that this side gig has almost unlimited potential to scale, and can be monetized in many different ways going forward. It can also open up networking opportunities when you begin your job search for your first attending position. Just be mindful that future employers will likely see your content during the interviewing process, so make sure your brand aligns with the personal and professional persona you want to project.

Monitoring for Contrast or Allergic Reactions

As outpatient facilities for healthcare services increase, there’s an increasing need to have a physician on site to manage complications should the rare adverse reaction occur. It’s hard for many of these facilities to justify having a full-time attending physician available, particularly in places where services continue after hours, like imaging centers. In these cases, local radiology groups or other groups administering services where they want a physician on site may hire physicians who want extra cash to be on standby.

As someone that likely has their ACLS and BCLS certifications up to date, you can likely competently address any acute issues until emergency services arrive. Of course, make sure that you feel comfortable with this as you will in fact be practicing in your capacity as a physician. If you are doing this within your home institution, you should already have liability coverage that covers you. If doing it for another institution, make sure that you have liability coverage.

You can find these opportunities through your training program or by networking within your local medical community and organizations. Check with:

  • Your training program institution

  • Medical research institutions

  • Urgent care centers

  • Hospitals in your area (universities, VA, private, etc.)

  • Local outpatient imaging centers

  • Other practices that offer services where monitoring for reactions is necessary (allergy testing, etc)

Gig Economy Jobs

In addition to being a doctor, you are a person, and can do any gig job that anyone else in the general public is qualified for. Options include:

  • Rideshare such as Uber and Lyft

  • Grocery delivery services such as DoorDash, Instacart, and Uber Eats

  • Dog walking and/or pet sitting for people you know or through services such as Rover and Wag

  • Bartending

  • Childcare such as nannying and babysitting

  • Virtual assistant

Gig economy jobs can offer great flexibility depending on the gig, allowing you to work one (or three!) around a demanding residency or fellowship schedule. Even a few hours throughout the month can help pay bills and reduce the risk of racking up credit card debt.

Rideshare and delivery services may have requirements on the age and condition of your vehicle. Check their terms and conditions.

While these can be quite lucrative and really add up, make sure to resist the urge to keep taking on more work. You do need to rest and study and spend time with loved ones, and it’s a slippery slope to have the unlimited ability to take on shifts. Set an earnings target that says when enough is enough to address the needs in your budget so that you still have time for the other things in your life.

Additional Resources for Side Gigs for Residents and Fellows

While we’ve outlined above some common side gig ideas for residents and fellows, there’s always room for creativity. If there’s something you’re passionate about and good at, look for ways to monetize it.

We have a host of other resources for residents and fellows throughout our website. Dive deeper into some of the side gigs featured above, including:

You can also explore the following to learn more about our:

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