The demand for people to join paid research studies is high, especially individuals who have relatively clean health histories. Opportunities range from single visits to studies taking place over months. Given the control group and placebo requirements for such projects, you can't guarantee that you'll be receiving groundbreaking medicine, but you can rest assured that you'll be making a contribution to the greater good. It's important, however, to know what you'll be getting into.
There are five phases of human drug trials, ranging from zero to four. The most common types conducted are Phase II and III trials, intended to respectively assess drug safety and efficacy. Phase I trials are conducted solely on healthy volunteers to see what doses accomplish what effects.
The oddities in the system are Phase 0 and IV. A Phase 0 trial is a specifically expedited form of review intended to provide small doses to only a few patients to see if anything happens. Phase IV trials are conducted using drugs that have received FDA approval to confirm that safety and efficacy are performing as expected in larger numbers of people.
When entering into a study, try to be as upfront as possible about your medical history. Especially when dealing with drug trials, people with predispositions, genetic or otherwise, can throw the data off significantly. Also, failing to disclose a known medical problem in a paid medical research trial may increase your risk.
Regulatory oversight tends to limit the amount of risk that subjects might face, but even a completely safe procedure may be more invasive that you're comfortable with. The more invasive a trial is, such as performing a medical implant or drawing fluid from your spine, generally the better it pays. The expectation of higher pay also applies when doing trials involving drugs.
Non-invasive paid research covers a wide range of topics, but it's especially popular in the fields of psychology and cognition. There are also some types of bodily fluid donation, such as providing sperm for cryogenic experiments, that are considered non-invasive.
The clinic conducting paid research makes all the decisions about pay. Non-invasive, one-time studies typically pay upon completion of tasks. Others may only pay upon completion of a lengthy study, although most will pay a prorated amount to people who have credible reasons for dropping out. Pay typically ranges from $20 to $5,000, depending on study length.