Do you want to make quick cash and don’t want the hassle of a minimum-wage job? Then joining paid clinical trials may be the best option for you.
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Today, you’ll learn what clinical trials are, why they may be a good source of side cash, and some things to think about before you sign up for your first clinical trial.
You can also read about the details of my experiences with clinical trials, how much I’ve been paid, and the top 3 reputable sources you should consider (plus additional ones) when looking for clinical trials near you.
Things To Know About Clinical Trials
- Inpatient vs. outpatient trials
Inpatient clinical trials require that the subject (meaning you) stay at the facility for the length of the study, sometimes even overnight. Outpatient clinical trials require that the subject appear for the initial screening and trial start and then complete several follow-up visits.
- Control vs. test group
Study participants are categorized into control and test groups. The control group is typically not administered the intervention and usually receives the placebo. Participants may also be recruited for the direct purpose of being part of the control group; for example, a study may need participants who do not have diabetes so that their responses can be compared to those participants who do have diabetes.
- Phase I, II, or III
If the clinical trial involves the development of a new drug or medical procedure, that intervention must pass through a series of tests, or phases, before being approved by the FDA. Phase I trials assess the safety of the intervention relative to placebo. Phase II trials assess intervention efficacy (i.e., does it work). Phase III trials fine-tune intervention dosing and confirm efficacy in a larger number of people.
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How Much Can You Earn for Joining Paid Clinical Trials?
The amount a clinical study pays its participants vary depending on multiple factors, including, but not limited to the following:
- Medical condition studied
- Length of the study
- Phase of the study
- Number of in-person visits required
- Duration of visits
- Inpatient or outpatient studies
- Distance and frequency of travel required
- Number of phone calls or virtual check-ins required
- Effort needed to track daily symptoms and insights in a patient diary
- Number and complexity of examinations required
To give you a better idea, interview-only studies where you’re only required to answer questions and not undergo any medical examinations pay lower than studies that require in-person studies and medical tests.
Generally, Phase I trials pay more than Phase II to IV trials, as Phase I studies demand more time and effort from patients, in terms of longer durations of visits, more detailed symptom tracking, and more sample collections and tests than the latter phases of the study.
The range of payment thus can be between $50 to $500 per day/visit.
Benefits of Paid Clinical Trials
Aside from the money, however, there are some major benefits to participating in clinical trials.
For starters, clinical trials require that the subject undergo a physical examination, often for free.
If it’s been a while since your last physical check-up, this is a good way to find out about your health. Drug trials often require more extensive examinations; you might be required to undergo an EEG, EKG, MRI, or complete blood analysis.
The findings from such normally expensive tests can be invaluable for your personal health.
Assuming you have a condition that is being studied in a clinical trial, that trial can even end up saving your life.
For instance, thousands of cancer patients sign up annually for clinical trials in the hopes that such trials will cure or at least delay their cancer.
However, even if all you have is a simple allergy, it is an annoyance at best and life-threatening at worst. Participating in a clinical trial that attempts to treat your condition can go a long way towards ridding you of this disease.
Finally, there is the humanitarian aspect of participating in clinical trials.
Without human test subjects, many currently successful treatments for HIV and AIDS would not exist.
Likewise, many vaccines on the market today owe their realization to volunteers who willingly underwent testing.
Medicine does not advance without the altruism of human test subjects.
My Personal History With Paid Clinical Trials
Back when I was a struggling graduate student at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), I sought out and participated in a number of clinical trials.
The resource I used to find out about clinical trials was the website ClinicalTrials.gov.
It’s worth mentioning that NIH clinical trials are offered all over the United States and worldwide, not just at its main campus in Bethesda, Maryland.
One of the major clinical trials that I participated in was at the National Institute for Mental Health.
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There, I underwent a series of fMRI scans as the control (or so they told me) in a gambling study.
This trial was actually quite fun because I got to gamble while lying inside of the scanner. If I placed my bets just right, I actually won money in addition to the pay I was making from the study. I made roughly $100 for every hour I spent inside of the fMRI.
By the time my gambling study was done, I’d accumulated roughly $1550, with $50 of that money coming from my winnings from gambling.
After this study closed, I was asked if I wanted to undergo a PET scan for a Parkinson’s disease drug study.
The only hitch here was that the medication was radioactive. I made sure to ask every question I could think of before agreeing to participate in this study.
When I was done, I had $500 in my pocket.
Once I graduated and moved to Madison, I looked up clinical trials at the University of Wisconsin.
I located a Phase III allergy study and qualified for it once a skin prick test confirmed that I had a ragweed allergy.
For the next six months, I took a daily sublingual dose of ragweed extract in order to desensitize my body to ragweed. I also recorded any allergy symptoms that I experienced.
For this study, I was required to show up at the lab once a month and give an update of my condition (which included an annoying pregnancy test every single time).
At each of these follow-up visits, I was paid $75. By the time the study was complete, I was $675 richer and hopefully allergy-free.
A year later, the UW allergy study coordinator informed me that I had previously been assigned to the placebo group.
This meant that I had not been taking the study medication at all. Although this sounded disappointing, it also qualified me to do the allergy study again.
I agreed to a repeat study and by the end of another 6 months had amassed another $675 (and was truly allergy-free. Maybe).
I also signed up for two clinical trials conducted by Covance (now Labcorp), a company that performs thousands of drug trials for pharmaceutical companies and other labs.
Covance pays extremely well for participation in clinical trials; however, the physical criteria for its studies can be difficult to achieve. Also, because the studies pay so well, there is an overabundance of volunteers. Some people actually earn a good living (up to $60,000/year) by participating in Covance trials.
I signed up for a $4,200 HIV drug trial with Covance and spent nearly a day there getting qualified. In the end, the techs didn’t like the results of my EKG very much and disqualified me. I still made $100 for my time, though.
The second time I showed up at Covance, it was for a $1,700 fat absorption drug study.
This time, I probably would’ve physically qualified; however, due to the large turnout of volunteers, a lottery had to be conducted. Needless to say, I didn’t win—though I did make $50 for my time.
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Things to Consider
In the United States, the FDA regulates paid clinical trials through what’s known as its principles of Good Clinical Practice (GCP) that focus on human subject protection (HSP).
However, some clinical trials still manage to slip under the FDA radar and violate basic GCP principles. Protect yourself from undue harm by doing the following:
- Always read the research protocol and ask questions. If there is something in the protocol that you don’t understand, don’t be shy about requesting more information. The study coordinator should know the answers to your questions; if not, he should know who to ask for clarification.
- You have the right to end your participation in the study at any time. If you become uncomfortable continuing with the study, then you have the right to quit it without losing the compensation you have received thus far. Furthermore, a good study coordinator should ask you at every follow-up visit if you wish to continue the study.
- Remember that not all clinical trials are safe. Clinical trials test drugs and therapies whose side effects are still unknown. Some test medications are dissolved in compounds to which you could have an allergy or other reaction. If your gut tells you that a particular study isn’t safe, don’t do it! There are plenty of other paid clinical trials through which you can participate and make money.
Where to Find Paid Clinical Trials
Trials can impact your life severely, so make sure you stick with the most reputable sources.
If you can’t find a clinical trial here, you’re unlikely to find one anywhere.
ClinicalTrials.gov houses the largest database of approved trials around the world, both privately and publicly funded.
As of this posting, there were 357,662 available studies within the database. You can search by symptom, medication, body part, location, etc. Use the search form to find a study that best suits you.
2. National Cancer Institute
NCI publishes its list of cancer-related approved trials directly on their website.
Those at risk, currently treating cancer, or those in remission are the targets for these trials.
Search by location to get the best list nearest you.
This one requires a little more work.
PhRMA.org publishes its full list of approved pharmaceutical companies. You can click through each member on that list to find available trials.
The list does include location. Your odds of finding an approved clinical trial increase by picking locations nearest you.
As I mentioned above, Labcorp, formerly Covance, executes clinical research studies on behalf of the world’s pharmaceutical and biotechnology organizations.
They conduct over 100 drug trials every year and have been involved in the development of the top 50 drugs currently on the market.
You can search for ongoing and upcoming clinical trials in the US and in the UK.
IQVIA is another clinical research company that performs paid clinical trials for various pharmaceutical and biochemistry organizations.
Their clinical trials are mostly in the US, though, so if you live outside of the US you might want to look elsewhere.
6. Syneos Health
Syneos Health is a company based in Quebec that hosts clinical trials mostly in Montreal and Quebec.
They mostly look for healthy, non-smoking volunteers, except for their Human Abuse Potential studies that require recreational drug users to participate.
A few of their studies pay up to $5,000. What’s more, if you enroll in their database and complete a study, you’ll be eligible for their referral program, which pays $100 for each new participant and $250 for new participants who meet specific enrollment criteria.
Antidote.me has a proprietary Smart Match search engine that makes the process of finding paid clinical trials easier for potential participants.
It involves answering a series of questions, including the medical condition you have, age, gender, and how far you’re willing to travel, and it will show you registered clinical trials and what phases they’re in.
Meridian Clinical Research connects participants to clinical trials to companies and clinical research organizations (CROs).
To find ongoing clinical trials near you, complete the form on their site with your information, and an enrollment specialist with Meridian will contact you so you can review studies that are the right fit for you.
If you yourself aren’t eligible to participate, you can still earn up to $25 for referring someone who is.
9. Clinical Hero
Clinical Hero works with various companies and clinics to recruit patients and volunteers for their clinical research studies.
On their search page, you can easily search for clinical studies by location. You can easily see if they need healthy volunteers or those with existing medical conditions, plus if the researcher chooses to display it, you can see how much they pay.
You can also subscribe to their mailing list to get information about paid clinical trials that you might be eligible for.
The Bottom Line
There are plenty of paid clinical trials are out there if you know where to look.
Stick with reputable sites as this is your health and well-being on the line.
I recommend checking out our guide on how to get paid to sleep. There are some interesting clinical trials described there, including NASA’s famous paid sleep study.
Have you ever participated in a paid clinical trial? If not, are you planning to? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!
40 thoughts on “How to Participate in Paid Clinical Trials in 2023”
looking for something in Northumberland county, Pennsylvania…..never did this before
Very interested in clinical trials
I would like to be in a clinical trial but I can’t seem to find one, we have a lot of Hospital’s here in Houston Texas and I am still looking.
My interest is to fully dedicate myself and the rest of my life to long Clinical Trails in the US (anywhere) or in India or in the Middle East that will help save the future generations from several health issues.
Interested in clinical studies in the Raleigh Durham NC area
I’m interested in joining trials been involved with synexis research for many years want to help and learn
i would like to be paid to try medical treatments out how do i go about this thankyou if you could send me any information about this id be very grateful
I really like making extra money on the web. instead of making nothing .I have 3 boys all day and when we get board we look for clinical trials even for kid.When it’s raining or cold we all sit by the computer and look for trials so we can, make extra vacation money. I love the fact that there are trials for kids. Very few but they are there.
I’ve been looking on http://www.clinicaltrials.gov for a while but haven’t done one yet because I haven’t figured out how to tell if you get paid. Is there a way to tell on their website if you get paid or do you have to contact each study directly.
Most studies on clinicaltrials.gov will NOT list compensation. What I have done is emailed the contact person for each trial I was remotely interested in. If I get a response, I ask for the consent forms. They will always list compensation (if there is any associated) and normally state how you will receive payment within the consent documents.
I use the advanced search and under “condition” I use HV OR Healthy Volunteer OR Healthy AND Female.
Hi I was wondering do you know any clinical trials in Georgia ? Covance doesn’t have one here
go to http://www.clinicaltrials.gov and put ‘georgia’ into the search block – all the trials with sites in Georgia will be listed.
I work in the clinical research study industry, and have for more than five years. Nearly every study requires you to pass a drug screen. It is written into the protocol. Occasionally, they do not have that requirement, and sometimes, the drug screen isn’t looking for THC, but the majority of the time, you have to pass a drug screen to participate in any clinical research trial, at least pharmaceutical trials. Every study is different, and has different inclusion and exclusion criteria, but drug screens are standard in this industry.
I am thinking of signing up for a study through Covance. Just wanted to know hoe smoking (tobacco) is tested. I have read after 3 weeks all nicotine is removed from the bofy. Some courses I have been looking at specify non smokers for 3 months. Question is, how and what would they do to determine if I had stopped smoking a month a go or 3 months ago. Surely the data would be the same?
I live in Parma OH and I am a student Monday through Thursday 6am-2am and I really need extra money…… And good ones u can reference me to
Hi Kara, Studies typically list what they pay out. If not, you can always find out during your interview/qualifier call.
How do I go about finding a clinical study near me? One that pays good!
How do you go about asking or otherwise finding out what a study is paying?
Im interested in the clinical trails.
Can we participate in trails if we are basically homebound?
This is only for your country, do you maybe know about ANY clinical trials worlwide or how to find a sponsor for a clinical study project if someone have an idea? Do you maybe know about esthetic surgery clinical trials? Physical therapy and bodybuildying issues, circulatory system, vein treatmants, hormonal therapy? I give my body for anything that can work out on me and on others so we all can be truly happy. There is cheap way and solution for anything, they just need to collect the brains. Nobary knows everything but, somebary knows something.
Hello Jacquie, Thank you very much for offering to use my name as your referral! Halina is my real name, by the way. I will let you know if Covance keeps to its word. Thank you again!
Halina, I read your article yesterday and looked up the Covance website. I noticed that Covance pays a referral fee of $200 for each referral. I’m going back to the website today to sign up as a volunteer and will list your name as a referral. Just wasn’t sure if you were using a pen name or more information will be necessary. If I’m selected it hope the referral works. Thanks for your writing and posting.
How do you know what they pay? I’ve never seen it listed? Do you ask when you call about it?
How do I go about finding the right research study?
Yes, you do pay taxes on those earnings, unless you make under $600. So that needs to be taken into consideration too.
Do you have to file taxes on the money?
Yes it does, Thanks!!! I had learned from my research that they pay with checks but didn’t know it took sometime to get the check, thought for sure they’d write it out then & there, but I guess it takes time like everything else. lol Wish me luck!
Robert, the bigger and more involved studies usually pay out in the thousands of dollars. Smaller trials, as you noted, may just not be worth your time, especially if you have to be driving out several times. Studies don’t usually pay out on the spot, though, and in some cases I’ve had to wait several weeks for my check to arrive. Although, the allergy study I did at UW paid me out about $80 every time I showed up- and I was driving maybe 5 miles. Hope this helps!
Bummer, Brian. It just may be one of the criteria that participants don’t have too many other substances in their systems. Especially THC, which has been found to treat many ailments (e.g., cancer pain) and alleviate several health conditions.
FYI, NOCCR does a full panel drug screen. I tested positive for THC and failed the screening. Bummer.
Also, are the smaller payout studies really worth the long drives to doc visits because I am not seeing a big incentive to drive if the studies offer $300 over different doc visits. I’m trying to determine if they add up or are just a waste? Please let me know. Thanks.
Have been researching clinical trials for over a month now & find a handful disqualify for smoking Cigarettes-marijuana, but the length between the last time you smoked anything varies in between studies. My question is how long does it typically take to start making decent money from studies?
Wow, Marcus, that’s a lot of money! But I know what you mean about the marks- at Covance, I saw several volunteers with actual “railroad tracks” on their arms. Employers might give you funny looks when you show up with arm marks.
I have personally done 107 clinical trials over 22 yrs and have made over $200,000 with hardly any side effects.
I do have marks from catheters and needles after all these years but I find other than that no problems whatsoever.
I find it is a great way to supplement income as well as helping forward research that may one day even help me in the end.
Hi Brian, Thanks for commenting. I’ve never heard of drug/alcohol use disqualifying a person from doing a study. However, I’m wondering if the screen is being done here to remove individuals who might have suppressed immune systems due to drugs/alcohol. Not that I’d consider marijuana to compromise an immune system. But that might be reason. Overall, I wouldn’t worry about marijuana; I think they’re looking for heavier stuff. Good luck!
I have signed up for a clinical trial with noccr knoxville. They informed me that I would have to pass a drug and alcohol screen. I have smoked marijuana infrequently recently, up until yesterday. My appointment is friday. Would that disqualify me? It is for an anti malarial drug.
This post was written by Halina! She’s an article writer here at I’ve Tried That. I really need to get her to write an introduction post…
And after ALL this time, I thought you had just recently finished undergrad school at Penn State. Grad work at NIH?? I’m impressed, Steve. Outstanding academic credentials!! Just lends still more credence (not that it’s needed…) to your website.
These trials are a great way to make extra money. I did a couple in Knoxville thru NOCCR, one for 3 weeks and rec’d $3400. The nurses and volunteers were all great and would do it again.