Working During Medical School: Jobs for Medical Students

If you’re in medical school and looking for a way to pay off some of your student debts, earn some side income, or gain work experience, there are several jobs available to you. Some of these include being a home health aide, medical records tech, medical transcriptionist, pharmacy tech, phlebotomist, and physical therapist aide. Besides income, you’ll also gain clinical experience in these positions. The next best option for medical students is to find an on-campus job. There are some restrictions on working while in medical school, though they generally only apply to residents. Below, we outline the work restrictions that apply to medical residents and provide the list of the best jobs available for medical students.

Can You Work While in Medical School?

Different rules apply to medical students in different stages of their study, so it’s important to understand which med students are affected by which rules. When you hear the phrase “medical student,” it generally refers to someone who already has a bachelor’s degree and is enrolled in but hasn’t yet completed the four-year medical school degree. In contrast, “resident” refers to someone who has completed a bachelor’s degree as well as a four-year medical school degree and is now pursuing additional mandatory training.

While doing their residency, which usually lasts three to seven years, residents cannot work more than 80 hours per week. This is for the well-being of the residents as well as the safety of the patients. So, if you’re a resident or coming up on residency, you should take the following rules into consideration when searching for additional work.

While there are no rules in place surrounding medical student work hours, many medical schools choose to adhere to the same guidelines that apply to resident work hours. So, if you are attending or are interested in attending medical school, check with your school or potential schools for any work hour restrictions. Note that most work hour restrictions center around clinical hours or hours spent treating patients. If you have a part-time job outside of the medical field, then there may not be any restrictions on your work hours, though it is always best to check with your school first.

The biggest question you should ask yourself is if you will still have time for your school work. Medical school goes far beyond attending classes. You need to allow yourself time to study, complete assignments, and get a healthy amount of sleep in order to be successful and work safely. If you have financial concerns, you can talk with your school about financial aid options and/or visit the Association of American Medical Colleges website for some tips on budgeting while in medical school.

For even more information about what to do after medical school, our article explains how to deal with significant college debt (financially, emotionally, etc.).

We’ve Done the Comparing for You — Here’s What We Recommend

When you need a job that allows you to get the most practical medical care experience while you’re in school, being a home health aide or personal care aide is likely your best option. You will have flexibility with your time commitment, and you can make a decent wage. For opportunities to earn a bit more money — but with less hands-on experience — you may want to consider a role as a medical transcriptionist or records technician.

If you prefer an on-campus job during medical school, consider working in your university’s library or as a research assistant. You can earn money or credit with the convenience of being near your classes and professors.

Jobs for Medical Students

The ideal job to have during medical school is one in which you can gain some kind of clinical experience while earning money. So, any kind of work environment that involves doctors, patients, the elderly, or the disabled is a good goal to keep in mind while job hunting. Below, we’ve compiled the list of jobs to help get you started on your search.

Off-Campus Jobs

If you aren’t limited to on-campus employment, then your opportunities to find jobs that offer clinical experience and hands-on training in the medical field are numerous. We list these opportunities below, starting with the best options in terms of experience, compensation, time commitment, and overall satisfaction.

1. Home Health Aide/Personal Care Aide

  • Expected compensation: Around $12 to $17 per hour
  • How to find jobs: Inquire locally, advertise yourself in local papers and job boards, and perform an online search.
  • Time commitment: 15 to 40 hours per week
  • Part time or full time? Either
  • Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

2. Medical Transcriptionist

  • Expected compensation: $14 to $20 per hour
  • How to find jobs: Inquire with local hospitals and physicians’ offices or perform an online search for job openings in your area.
  • Time commitment: 20 to 40 hours per week
  • Part time or full time? Either
  • Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

3. Medical Records Technician

  • Expected compensation: $10 to $20 per hour
  • How to find jobs: Inquire with local hospitals or physicians’ offices or perform an online search for job openings in your area
  • Time commitment: 20 to 40 hrs per week
  • Part time or full time? Either
  • Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

4. Physical Therapist Aide

  • Expected compensation: $10 to $20 per hour
  • How to find jobs: Inquire with local hospitals or physical therapists’ offices or perform an online search
  • Time commitment: 15 to 40 hours per week
  • Part time or full time? Part time or full time
  • Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

5. Pharmacy Technician

  • Expected compensation: $12 to $15 per hour
  • How to find jobs: Inquire with local pharmacies, hospitals, and stores with in-store pharmacies like Target, Walmart, and grocery stores.
  • Time commitment: 15 to 40 hours per week
  • Part time or full time? Either
  • Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

6. Phlebotomist

  • Expected compensation: $15 to $25 per hour
  • How to find jobs: Inquire with local laboratory facilities and blood donation centers or perform an online search
  • Time commitment: 30 to 40 hours per week
  • Part time or full time? Full time
  • Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

On-Campus Jobs

On-campus jobs are convenient — they’ll save you a commute because you’ll already be on campus for school, and if you live on campus, they’ll be nearby. Most of these jobs will only be available to students at your university, so there will be less competition for spots than there would be for jobs elsewhere in the community. Another benefit of working on campus is that you’ll be off work during the same times you’re off from classes, making holiday travel easier.

The downside to working on campus is that your chances of finding work with clinical experience will be more limited. But, you still have opportunities to make some extra cash while attending school, earn work experience, and gain potential references for future job applications. As above, we’ve ordered these jobs starting with the best overall options.

7. Library Assistant

  • Expected compensation: Starting around $14 per hour and increasing from there
  • How to find jobs: Inquire at your campus library with your resume
  • Time commitment: 10 to 20 hrs per week
  • Part time or full time? Part time
  • Source: Indeed.com

8. Professor or Research Assistant

  • Expected compensation: Varies, though payment may often be a standard graduate student rate set by your university; sometimes, payment is made in the form of credit hours
  • How to find jobs: Inquire around campus and check campus job posting boards and websites. If there is a particular research project you’d like to work on, inquire with the professor in charge. Try to develop relationships with your professors, as they’ll often go to specific students they know and trust with research job opportunities, rather than posting the opening.
  • Time commitment: 10 to 20 hours per week
  • Part time or full time? Part time
  • Source: Indeed.com

9. Tutor

  • Expected compensation: Starting around $10 per hour and increasing from there based on experience
  • How to find jobs: If your school has a tutoring center, inquire there with your resume. If you want to tutor in a particular subject, then inquire with that department or with a professor in that department who can point you in the right direction. You can also check job boards to find students seeking a tutor, your school website, and spread the word among your friends and classmates that you’re available for tutoring.
  • Time commitment: 10 to 20 hours per week
  • Part time or full time? Part time
  • Source: Indeed.com

Other Ways to Make Money While in Medical School

If your schedule or your school doesn’t allow you to take on a full- or part-time job, you can still earn money in other ways. Here’s how to make money while in medical school with minimal time commitment.

Donate Blood/Plasma

Many places that accept blood and plasma donations will pay you for your donation. To find out who is eligible to donate, where to go to donate, and how much you can make, see our article about donating blood for money (as much as $500/month).

Participate in Paid Studies

Many universities, hospitals, and private businesses conduct clinical studies to learn about health and wellness, and sometimes they pay people to participate in these studies. Studies can be related to specific health issues and diseases like sleep disorders, fertility issues, or cancer, or they can focus more broadly on overall health, wellness, and lifespan. Studies might also research topics like education, learning style, perception of politics and biases, or other topics.

To find a study near you, check your school’s website for a section dedicated to current and upcoming studies, or do a Google search for the name of your university and “paid studies.” At Northwestern University, for example, there is a paid participant registry maintained by the Department of Psychology. You’ll receive emails when there are paid studies available. At UCLA, you can register to participate in studies held by the Behavioral Lab at the business school. You can also search for studies by country, condition, or disease, or find out more about clinical trials from the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Sell Your Textbooks

You can make money by selling your textbooks to other students. You will be able to get more money if the textbooks are in better condition — cover intact, limited markings and highlighting of the text, and no missing pages. Popular sites for selling used textbooks include Amazon marketplace, BookScouter, and eBay. For more options, see our article on what to do with old textbooks.

Drive for Uber, Lyft, etc.

Uber, Lyft, and similar companies allow people to use their own vehicles to drive customers to their destinations while paying less than they would for a traditional taxi. If you have a driver’s license, reasonable driving history, and a car that meets company specifications, you can set your own schedule and earn extra money by driving for Uber or Lyft during your nights, weekends, or other time off from school.

Scholarships

Many schools and states offer a variety of scholarships to help students pay their tuition. Scholarship criteria can include good grades, essay writing, and areas of interest. Search your state and school websites for a list of scholarship offerings and eligibility requirements.

In Summary

Working during medical school is possible, though restrictions may apply. National restrictions apply to residents, and many schools apply their own restrictions for medical students. If you are allowed to work a job while in medical school, the ideal positions are ones that provide some kind of clinical experience. These include jobs in which you will work and interact with doctors, patients, the elderly, or the disabled. Hospitals, doctors’ offices, and nursing home facilities are great places to gain hands-on experience and first-hand knowledge that may be beneficial to your medical education and career. If you aren’t able to find a job in the medical field, you have other options like finding on-campus work as a library assistant, tutor, or research assistant. Additionally — if you can’t commit to a part- or full-time job — you may be able to earn some financial freedom by donating blood, participating in clinical studies, earning a scholarship, selling your old textbooks, or working as an Uber or Lyft driver.

If you need to work while in medical school, check out our article about options for earning a medical degree part-time or at night.