How Doctors Can Get Paid for Taking Surveys

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Doctor in office looking at mobile phone
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If you’ve been looking to make a little extra money but don’t quite have time for a full-on side hustle, the opportunity to take surveys for market research may be the right fit for you. Doctors who participate in these surveys point to the ability to earn cash in just a few minutes, when you’re in line for coffee or during a commercial break while watching TV. But others say they can be more trouble than they’re worth if you’re not careful. Here’s an overview of how doctors can get paid for their opinions, and some tips before you get started.

How does taking surveys work?

There are a variety of market research companies seeking feedback from doctors, from highly focused medical organizations to broader groups that conduct surveys across hundreds of topics. Depending on your specialty and experience, your point of view may be in high demand. 

You’ll typically receive invitations via email, then be directed to the company’s website or mobile app to start the survey.

Most surveys will begin with a short series of screening questions to determine if you qualify. Note that you don’t get paid for this step, which some doctors believe is often the actual information the researchers are trying to gather. So consider how much time the screening process will take, and keep in mind you may not qualify for the paid survey.

Who can qualify for a survey?

While many market researchers are looking for physicians specifically, others do offer surveys to all types of providers: pharmacists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and more. That said, certain specialists tend to be in higher demand, typically those most connected to new pharmaceutical medications, such as rheumatologists, oncologists, cardiologists, neurologists, pulmonologists and dermatologists.

How much do surveys pay?

The pay rate can vary, but generally surveys pay an average of $1/minute when you calculate the total payment divided by total time spent. This may not seem like a lot, but over the course of a year these amounts can add up. Surveys can be particularly appealing for residents or interns who welcome every extra dollar they can get.

More experienced doctors may opt only to participate in higher-paying surveys (up to $3/minute), but this can limit the number of surveys for which you qualify. 

Some surveys don’t pay cash but instead offer debit cards, Amazon gift cards, or points you can acquire toward a reward payout. You have to determine if these systems are worth your time, versus the prospect of real money in your account.

Doctors report most surveys deliver payment 4 to 6 weeks after the study closes. If you participate in several studies, you may want to keep a chart of what surveys you took and when, so you can confirm you receive what you’ve earned. Tracking your payments will also be helpful come tax time. If you earn more than $600 for the year from any specific company, you will need to file a 1099 form for that income.

How do I get started?

Looking at recommendations from a variety of physicians online, the companies below consistently receive mention as offering interesting surveys, decent payment, and an easy interface on their websites or apps.

You can sign up directly on a market research company’s website, then it can take up to 3 to 4 months for them to vet your credentials and begin inviting you to surveys. You might get anywhere from two a month to two a week, depending on your experience and qualifications.

Some top market research companies include (in alphabetical order):

As you start screening surveys and seeing the types of studies for which you quality, you can get a better sense of which ones are likely to be worth your time. If one brand consistently sends you surveys that aren’t a match, unsubscribe from membership and focus on the companies that offer the most buck for your bang, so to speak.
While taking surveys is certainly not a financial windfall, some doctors view them as an investment opportunity, turning their small amount of payment into long-term gain. Beyond offering some extra money, market research surveys can also provide a peek into new treatment developments, medical research, and pharmaceutical launches—and potentially give you a voice in how they take shape for patients, physicians, and healthcare as a whole.

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  1. Breakfast Burritos & Medical Surveys. Physician on Fire. https://www.physicianonfire.com/breakfast-burritos-medical-surveys/
  2. Another $econd Opinion on Extra Income Opportunities. Another $econd Opinion. https://www.anothersecondopinion.com/extra-income/
  3. Taking Surveys To Make Money. The White Coat Investor. https://www.whitecoatinvestor.com/taking-surveys-to-make-money/
  4. Frequently Asked Questions. Focus Group by Schlesinger. https://www.focusgroup.com/page/2
  5. Medical Market Research Firms Need You for Paid Medical Surveys. Modern Meded. https://modernmeded.com/market-research-surveys/
  6. Paying Surveys for Doctors. Ben White. https://www.benwhite.com/medicine/paying-surveys-for-doctors/
  7. The Perfect Physician Side Hustles. Financial Residency. https://financialresidency.com/side-income-with-medical-surveys-and-witness-work/
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