After years of hard work, you finally earned your medical degree. As a new Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathy (DO), you will enter your first year of residency and get in-depth training within your field.
During your medical residency, you’ll earn a salary. However, your income may not be enough to cover your student loan debt and living expenses. If that’s the case, you may be looking for other ways to earn money, such as moonlighting during residency or other side gigs.
If you’re considering moonlighting jobs for residents, here’s what you should know first.
What Is Moonlighting in Residency?
Residents are paid a salary. According to Medscape’s Residents Salary & Debt Report, the average resident salary was $64,000 in 2021. However, first-year residents make significantly less; the average salary for first-year residents is just $57,500.
Although that’s higher than the national average wage for all occupations, medical school graduates may have exceptional demands on their budgets. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, 73% of medical school graduates have student loan debt, with an average balance of $207,003. With such a high loan balance, the monthly required payments can eat up a significant portion of your income.
Plus, where you live and work can greatly impact your finances. If you live and work in a major city, rental prices and the cost of living can be high. Along with your debt, your resident salary may not cover all of your expenses, and residents aren’t typically eligible for overtime or hazard pay.
If your budget is stretched too thin, you may be looking for ways to boost your income. You may want to consider moonlighting jobs for residents to earn extra money.
Traditionally, moonlighting during residency meant taking on additional work as an independent physician. However, with modern technology and novel services, residents have more options to increase their earnings.
5 Ways to Make Money During Residency
Whether you want to take on extra work providing medical care or are looking for more flexible sources of income, there are many options available. If you’re wondering how to make extra money as a resident physician, here are some ideas:
1. Tutor Students
If you’re starting a residency program, you’ve successfully completed medical school. That means you have a considerable asset: your education. As a resident, you can earn money tutoring pre-med students or individuals preparing for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) or United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE).
You can tutor students privately, or you can apply to tutor through services like the Princeton Review, MedSchoolTutors, or Wyzant. Depending on the company you work with and the subject matter, tutoring rates generally range from $45 to $150 per hour.
2. Transcribe Audio Files
Transcription is a valuable skill, and if you can transcribe audio files concerning medical issues, you can earn money from insurance companies, healthcare facilities, and medical professionals. Pay is dependent on your typing speed and accuracy, but transcriptionists generally earn $15 to $30 per hour. You can find transcription jobs through Rev or Upwork.
3. Pick Up Shifts as a Temporary Physician
The most common moonlighting jobs for residents include picking up shifts as a temporary physician at urgent care clinics or hospitals.
You can take on shifts after your residency hours, and you can usually choose shifts that are five to 12 hours in length. Depending on the location and the facility, you could earn $100 to $200 per hour by moonlighting.
4. Rent Out Extra Space
If you have any extra space in your home, you can turn that space into cash. If you have an unused bedroom, you can get a roommate, rent it out to tourists or AirBnB, or offer it to travel nurses.
Travel nurses can be excellent temporary tenants. They’re in your area for a short time — typically three months or less — and need furnished accommodations for that term. Renting out a room can help you earn a significant amount of money. For example, furnished rooms in Austin, Texas go for $700 to $1,200 per month.
5. Provide Care Via Telemedicine
Telemedicine is an increasingly popular type of care. As services cater to patients who want to meet with doctors remotely, they are rapidly hiring residents. Not all accept physicians still in their residency programs, but some do. If hired, you could earn between $50 and $250 per hour. You can find telemedicine jobs on ZipRecruiter or Indeed.
Things to Consider Before Moonlighting During Residency
Although moonlighting during your residency can be an excellent way to boost your income, there are some things to consider first:
- School policies: Some programs restrict how much residents can moonlight. For example, the University of Central Florida limits moonlighting activities to no more than 48 hours per month.
- Hospital restrictions: Some hospitals don’t allow first-year residents to moonlight, so you may have to find other sources of income during your first year of residency.
- Working hour limits: Hospitals typically cap how many hours physicians can work each week to ensure patient safety. Any time you spend moonlighting may be counted toward your weekly limit on-duty hours, affecting your residency.
- Malpractice insurance: If you provide medical care, you’ll likely need to get your own malpractice insurance policy. Malpractice coverage can cost thousands of dollars, so make sure that moonlighting would be worth the expense.
Earning Extra Money During Your Residency
If your resident salary isn’t enough to cover your living expenses and student loan payments, moonlighting during residency could be a solution. You can earn extra money while gaining valuable experience, or you can take on other side gigs to increase your income.
If you need help managing your student loans while in your residency program, consider student loan refinancing. You could qualify for a lower interest rate or different loan term, making your debt more affordable. You can check your eligibility and get a rate quote without affecting your credit score with ELFI.*