Searching for jobs, particularly home-based work, used to be a matter of scanning the Sunday classifieds for offers to get rich quick by stuffing envelopes. Now, working from home is easier than before because exposure to at-home opportunities has multiplied.
A growing number of employers appears to believe telecommuting is a good arrangement for them, as well. It cuts overhead costs, allows access to talented workers who may not be available locally, provides off-hours support and helps retain employees.
Consider these 10 jobs — some rather traditional and others unexpected — for engaging at-home work and good (if competitive) prospects.
This is a job with much potential, in part because the title description covers many things. You can fit your offerings to what you know how to do. One can own a virtual assistant business or work from home for a company that makes you available to other employers or clients. Small businesses hire virtual assistants to help when they can’t justify a permanent employee.
Being a medical transcriptionist is a demanding job, and nearly every company seeks applicants with experience and/or training from certain schools. The work involves listening to and typing up dictation from doctors — some of whom have thick accents, slur words, and even “eat, drink, chew gum (and) talk to other people in the room” while dictating. But hearing about medical matters can be interesting, and good transcriptionists are in very high demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2015 data, the median hourly rate for transcriptionists is $17.17.
People with fluency in more than one language translate audio files or documents, not just word for word, but often with cultural differences in mind. Companies can access home-based translators with hard-to-find language skills without being held back by geographic location.
Information technology is the sector where most of the home-based hiring is being done. Terri Orlowski, a virtual assistant and Web developer based in Pittsburgh, offers services such as custom website design, template modification and redesigns, code updates, hosting and usability reviews. She previously held administrative positions in a variety of industries and makes a higher per-hour rate now. Out of the many new monthly work-from-home job postings on Upwork.com, Web developers are in high demand.
Call center representative
When you phone to order something from a catalog or infomercial, a big office with rows of cubicles may come to mind. But the person on the other end of the line is likely to be sitting in a home office. It’s a huge and growing industry of companies that hire independent contractors to take calls from home. Home-shore movement started in response to complaints about the many companies that looked offshore for workers. While some websites such as Sykes Home actually hire representatives, most use subcontractors. Just be aware that the pay may be by the minute rather than by the hour, so you may not be paid for time you spend waiting by the phone.
Tech support specialist
Call centers also hire technical support specialists to work remotely. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, jobs for computer support specialists (on-site and remote combined) were expected to increase by 12 percent from 2014 to 2024 — faster than the average for all occupations — with 88,800 new jobs.
Scams abound in the travel industry — particularly organizations that charge for information on how to break into the field. But operating a home-based travel agency can be an excellent business. Real home-based travel agents have experienced robust growth over the last decade, and there are probably 40,000-plus of them and growing. A growing (although small) number of people earn $100,000 or more a year. A solid business concept and plan focused on profitability will take you a long way to achieving your monetary goals. There’s also the joy of helping others enjoy their leisure time.
From postsecondary education to elementary schools, there are opportunities for students to learn virtually. Along with that comes opportunities to teach (and tutor) virtually. While distance learning is not new, advanced technology, collaborative multimedia software designed for schools and high-speed Internet connections have created more opportunities for teachers and students to work together from afar. You can learn how to become a teacher in PA, while income depends on how many hours you’re applying to it and the type of classes you’re teaching.
Yes, the print publishing industry has been suffering, but there are frequent listings these days for writing, editing and proofreading, particularly for the internet. Even those without writing experience can join the blogosphere. Not only can blogging be lots of fun but also there’s money to be earned blogging for someone else’s site, getting paid to post on your own blog or through revenue-sharing arrangements.
It’s a no-brainer: Owning a business can be the road to at-home work. For an initial investment, franchises may offer a ready-made business with brand awareness, a system and a territory. Consider businesses that target the over-50 crowd or the self-employed, involve health and wellness, relate to the “green” movement, or involve electronic or online devices (i.e., accessories, applications).