Working at home has a lot to recommend it. You don’t have to brave the traffic to get to work; you spend close to zero time commuting to the office and you can wear comfortable clothes to work. Not every job translates well into a work-at-home career, but many do. Below are a few good choices if you’re considering a work-at-home career:
1. Commercial/graphic artist
If you’re skilled at designing book covers, logos and advertising designs, you can work from virtually any computer. These artists engage in the expression of ideas and their feelings.
Commercial artists hold a variety of job titles in a wide range of industries, including publishing, broadcasting, film, digital design, advertising and marketing. According to the BLS, commercial designers work in manufacturing, for large corporations and for independent studios.
A commercial artist’s education may fit one of the many job classifications within the field, such as art director, medical and scientific textbook illustrator, and police sketch artist or multi-media designer. Students in 4-year university programs will take art history and studio art as well as core subjects such as English and natural sciences.
Or they may study at independent design institutes, but they need to have a proper education. Computer training is widely available in both types of programs, according to the BLS.
Commercial designers, according to the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), usually need to complete a degree. In order to land this kind of job online, you need to provide the employer with your best work in a portfolio, so basically, you need to have experience in the field.
In 26 states, these workers must be licensed. In some states, it is illegal to call oneself a designer without having a certain level of education from an accredited institution. Many states also require taking an exam given by the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ).
2. Web designer
Similar to graphic design, setting up and organizing new websites for companies is a career that can be done easily via any computer with an Internet connection.
A web designer or developer is responsible for the design, layout and coding of a website. They are involved with the technical and graphical aspects of a website.
They need to know how the site works and how it looks. They can also be involved with the maintenance and update of an existing site.
After establishing the target audience for a website and identifying the type of content it will host, a web designer/developer will write the programming code, either from scratch or by adapting existing website software and graphics packages to meet business requirements, test the website and identify any technical problems, upload the site onto a server and register it with different search engines. All this can be done from the comfort of your own home.
A web designer/developer usually works between 37 and 40 hours a week, when working in a company. If you freelance, you can work on your own schedule, so this is a plus.Salaries range from about $22,000 to $45,000 or more.
Web designers/developers are employed across all industry sectors from finance and retail to public organizations. They may be employed directly by IT consultancies, software houses, web design agencies or work in an organization’s IT department.
3. Freelance writer
Writers are by nature solitary folks, so working at home is a natural for them. Work abounds for those skilled at writing web content, advertising copy, press releases and eBooks.
For some who pursue a career in journalism or writing, their goal is to work full time for a single publication, or as an author writing their own series of books and articles.
However, increasingly more and more writers and journalists are freelance writing.
They are also referred to as ‘stringers’ in the news industry, and are their own bosses and write for a variety of publications and media sources. It’s like having a gig, basically.
Typically a writer is specialized in a particular niche, such as news, arts and entertainment or technology. Some branch out and cover many different subjects and fill different roles, from columnist and magazine feature writer to ghost writer and web content copywriter.
Determination, hard work, discipline and openness to constantly refining one’s craft are needed for a successful freelance writing career. However, it is extremely good for a freelance writer to complete a journalism or communications degree.
Not only do such programs allow students to learn and practice essential skills required for their future profession and participate in experiential internships, but having a journalism degree will also help you stand out amongst other writers when editors are going through the piles of pitches they receive daily. Often a communications or journalism degree program will also offer a freelance writing course.
If you’re a teacher looking for extra work or skilled in a particular subject, you might want to consider working as a virtual tutor. You connect with your students via a webcam and messaging services like Skype.
Online tutors provide instruction to students on a variety of subjects using a distance-learning format. Because training programs for online tutoring are extremely rare, online tutors typically learn as in-person tutors or classroom instructors.
Online tutors provide individual or group instruction in a virtual learning environment (VLE). VLEs typically provide the tutor with the ability to communicate with students verbally and visually, use a whiteboard, administer tests, post homework assignments, and share resources, such as course material or lecture notes, in a secure and controlled fashion.
They teach at all levels, from entry level to foundation degrees and professional qualifications. Courses may lead to general, vocational, or academic qualifications which prepare students for work or higher education (HE), or may support personal interest, e.g. hobby or leisure subjects.
Although FE lecturers work mainly with post-16 and/or adult learners, they are increasingly expected to work with those aged 14-19 who are studying vocational subjects. There are many VLE applications available, some of which are free of charge.
According to PayScale.com in October 2013, the middle half of tutors earned salaries ranging from $18,562 to $81,746. Salaries earned can vary dramatically, depending on the subject matter taught and whether the position is full- or part-time.
However, a tutor can work on his own schedule with his learners, which makes it a great, educational and interesting job. It’s also becoming more popular.
5. Freelance photographer
Like freelance writers, photographers are needed to illustrate web content, for corporate reports and brochures and for marketing pieces.
Photographers create permanent visual images for an exceptionally wide range of creative, technical and documentary purposes.
A professional photographer usually works to a brief set by the client or employer. Most professional photographers specialize in one area, such as fine art, fashion, advertising, editorial or social photography. Around half of all professional photographers are self-employed.
The remainder work for a wide range of employers, including creative businesses, publishers and photographic agencies, or in the education or public sector. Professional photographers take pictures of people, events, places and objects.
The majority work in general practice, which involves work such as taking pictures of weddings and family portraits, which is the most popular, while others may specialize in a particular field such as fashion, advertising or clinical photography.
They often work alone, but some may employ an assistant, and also work with models, lighting technicians and journalists. Some say this is a dream job.
Working hours can be unsociable and irregular, and photographers can work anywhere from a modern studio to outdoors in all weathers, depending on the pictures they need to take.
They may spend time travelling locally or on assignments abroad. Salaries for photographers may range from around $15,000 to $55,000 or even more a year.
6. Virtual assistant
Virtual assistants are secretaries who work remotely from home, answering calls and email, typing reports and helping with administrative details. One assistant may work with just one person or divide their time among several employers.
By the definition, a virtual office assistant is an independent contract worker who provides administrative, creative or technical services.
That often means handling the same types of tasks as an office secretary or manager, but doing those from a home office, using the virtual assistant’s own computer equipment, software, phone and Internet connection.
For this type of work, you can expect to be paid $20 to $45 per hour. Businesses may commit to paying a monthly retainer for 10 or 20 hours of the virtual assistant’s time, or they may buy hourly blocks of time, leaving the assistant free to work for more than one client at a time. The virtual assistant generally sets his own fee, based on the complexity of the work and the time spent on given projects. Rush jobs cost more than those with regular turnaround.
Depending on the industry, payment may be set up differently. One real estate agent, for instance, pays his virtual assistant a commission based on the number of closings each month, rather than a salary.
His assistant, who lives several states away, handles advertising, design and website management for him while he focuses on selling and listing houses. The only problem here is that you must work when your boss says.
Translation services are in high demand in this increasingly global economy. Those skilled in Chinese, Russian and Spanish can find plenty of work online.
Translators basically convert written material from one or more ‘source languages’ into the ‘target language’, ensuring that the translated version conveys the meaning of the original as clearly as possible. The target language is normally the translator’s mother tongue.
Transcreating may also be part of the job and is a mix of translation, localization and copywriting, where the text is culturally and linguistically adapted to suit the reader.
Translators usually need an excellent command of two or more languages. The languages most in demand are the official languages of the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN).
Many translators are self-employed or freelance, paid per word according to language so earnings can depend on translation speeds.
Specialist translation companies and agencies often prefer experienced staff. Advertisements appear in newspapers and publications such as The Official Journal of the European Community and The Linguist.
Directories and members lists published by the Institute of Linguists and the Institute of Translation and Interpreting can provide useful contact information for networking and speculative applications.
A language degree is usually the minimum academic requirement for entry. For graduates without a relevant background, or for language graduates whose studies did not include translation, a postgraduate translation qualification is necessary.
There is also a recognized Diploma in Translation offered by the Institute of Linguists. Areas of expertise, such as scientific, technical or legal knowledge can be beneficial. Practical translation work, an EU stage or any other commercial or administrative experience is useful.
8. Computer software engineer
Designing new software programs to help solve corporate needs is another lucrative at-home job. New cloud-based apps allow such workers to work even when they are in different locations.
Most employers prefer graduates with a degree in a relevant subject such as computation, software engineering, physics, mathematics or electronics.
For graduates without computing experience or an appropriate qualification, a postgraduate IT conversion course can be very useful. Relevant programming knowledge is usually also required, and many employers expect candidates to meet very high standards in programming aptitude tests. Programming experience gained during placements and vacation work can also be of benefit.
With high demand, software developer is projected to remain one of the fastest-growing careers through the end of this decade. U.S. News & World Report ranked the job No. 2 on its list of the best jobs of 2012, emphasizing high demand as well as good job satisfaction and salary.
Software developers are needed across most private industries, as well as in government and the military. Basically, if an organization has a computer system, it needs a developer, sometimes called a software engineer. They are needed to design, implement and manage the system.
Software developers write the computer programs used for everything from the systems that allow computers to run properly to the latest software applications for mobile devices.
It’s an expanding field that requires creative minds who want to be on the cutting edge of finding new uses for technology.And it can all be done from your home office, as this is one of the solitary jobs.
9. ESL teacher
Teaching English as a second language is an increasingly in-demand skill. Teaching remotely allows you to connect with students who may not be available during traditional class hours. Teaching is done via a webcam and online tutorials.
Teachers that specialize in ESL, or teaching English as a second language, teach English to students who speak foreign languages, like Spanish, French, Japanese or Russian. They teach students how to speak, read and write in English and how to comprehend spoken English.
They can be found in English-speaking countries helping immigrants understand their new language or in non-English speaking countries working as English as a foreign language (EFL) teachers.
ESL teachers can work at the elementary, secondary and post-secondary levels or as adult education instructors providing English instruction to classes or individual students. ESL teachers may require extra training to learn the special needs of adult and child learners.
ESL teachers may develop a curriculum that takes an overall approach to English study or they may focus on a specific aspect of language use, such as life skills, literacy, or vocational and workplace English. Both approaches involve teaching students basic English skills, such as listening, reading, writing and speaking.
Classroom work can consist of rote pronunciation techniques, quizzes, textbooks, videos and computer lessons. Teachers often combine basic studies with real-life interactions involving language use in different situations, such as shopping, schooling, job hunting or working with English-speaking coworkers.
Most ESL teachers may be required to be fluent in another language besides English, in order to communicate with the students. ESL teachers need to be knowledgeable of their students’ culture and recognize differences that may affect a student’s ability to acclimate to an English-speaking environment.
10. Travel agent
Travel agents used to sit across a desk from you and help you plan your vacation.
Today’s travel agent is more likely to be at home in front of a computer, connecting with you via email or instant messaging. It saves time both for them and you.
Being a travel agent can help you to start a good home based business or find a work at home job, depending on what kind of travel agent you would like to be.
There are numerous Internet travel agencies that offer training, certifications and the opportunity to own your own travel agency. If you have an entrepreneur within, this may be the prefect opportunity.
Online travel agents’ job functions can vary, from assisting with booking and selling reservations to referring customers to travel booking sites, where you receive a portion of the commission.
The following steps can help you become a travel agent online.
As with most other careers, a successful travel agent career is dependent on a good education. Anybody that tells you that you can become a travel agent without a good up-front travel agent training is lying to you.
They are probably trying to sell you something and are only concerned about getting your money. Please be very careful and do your research before you make a decision. Do your homework before you start your home based business.
11. Customer service representative
Many corporations are getting away from expensive call centers in favor of using at-home workers. Calls to the company are routed to available workers, just as with a call center.
These workers just don’t happen to be located in the same place.
Customer Service representatives are employed by many different companies to serve as the direct point of contact for customers, providing them with an adequate level of service or help with their questions or concerns.
Customer Service representatives interact with customers to provide information and support in response to inquiries about products or services and to handle and resolve complaints.
Common job titles for Customer Service Representative include Customer Care Associate, Contact Center Agent, Technical or Customer Support, and Client Service Representative. If you are looking for a Customer Service telecommuting job, there are many contract, independent, part-time and full-time opportunities to explore.
These professionals serve as an intermediary between a company and its customers, answering consumer questions and helping resolve issues with a product or service. Customer service reps must be willing and able to help customers and exercise patience, even when dealing with people who may be angry or frustrated.
These people must be gentle and great in communicating. They may work with customers in person, over the phone or via computer, so this makes another perfect home based job.
12. Direct sales
Working at home doesn’t have to mean slaving away at a computer by yourself. Direct sales, for companies like Mary Kay, Party Lite and Tupperware, can be lucrative, if you are self-motivated and are able to put together a good team.
Direct sales refers to selling products or services online directly from your business website. Any business that offers physical products that have broad market demand should consider direct online sales to increase market reach and gain new revenue opportunities.
Direct online sales is a natural fit for electronic products that can be downloaded by customers after purchase and avoiding the need to ship physical versions, such as DVD media, for example.Customers visit the vendor business website to browse and buy products or services. Selling directly to clients requires a website, online shopping features such as a shopping cart or store, payment system, etc. (see the online sales plan page for more).
Business can sell products or services through a website. It is less complex to set up than affiliate or indirect channel development involving third parties.
This job is best for products and services that have well-defined features and benefits and clear market demand, products that do not require a complex sales approach or require a high degree of customization to customer requirements.
Virtually any product or service can be sold directly online in some fashion. Well-defined products that allow customers to easily make their purchase decision from information provided on your website can simply make their selection and complete the purchase transaction without any assistance.
13. Online teacher
Like ESL teachers, many traditional schools and universities are offering online courses. Most of these require you to be available via Skype or a similar service during set hours and review coursework.Teaching online can be very different from teaching in a traditional classroom.
An instructor who accepts employment teaching online must be prepared to help students learn without face-to-face interaction and live discussion, which can be hard sometimes. Teaching online certainly isn’t for everyone.
However, many instructors enjoy the freedom of virtual instruction and the opportunity to interact with students from around the nation.
In order to qualify for a position teaching online, applicants must meet the same requirements as traditional teachers.
At the high school level, online teachers must have a bachelor’s degree and a teaching license. At the community college level, a master’s degree is the minimum requirement for teaching online. At the university level, a doctorate is generally required.
There are many advantages to teaching online. Virtual instructors are often able to work from anywhere they choose. You could get a job teaching online for a prestigious school in another state and not have to worry about relocating. Since many e-courses are taught asynchronously, instructors are often able to set their own hours while teaching online.
Additionally, instructors who make a living teaching online are able to interact with pupils from around the nation.