The benefits of working from home have been borne out by countless studies.
Whether running a business, freelancing or telecommuting for a full-time employer, workers who are free of the commute and the distractions of the office are reported to be happier, healthier and more productive.
Finding a work-from-position can be difficult, however. Where do you even begin to look?
In this article, we’ll explore a handful of work-from-home jobs in various industries, what they entail and what sort of training they require.Here are 10 to get you started:
1. Event Planner
What they do: Event planners are masters of logistics. They organize meetings, conferences and conventions, and their duties include things like picking locations, arranging transportation, booking flights, making hotel reservations, scheduling caterers and booking entertainment. With the rise of telecommuting technologies, many event planners work from home — though challenges can arise when it comes to things like finding storage-space for event supplies.
What you need: There are no formal requirements to become an event-planner, though there are some steep skill-requirements which might necessitate a degree in a field like business management, hospitality or communications. Those seeking a career in this field need to have strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills. They also need to be comfortable fielding a wide array of complex, business-related phone-calls and emails from clients, vendors, airports, hotels and everything in-between.
2. Graphic Designer
What they do: The Matrix of graphic design is all around you. Every website, product and device you interact with was, at some point, touched by a graphic designer — from the buttons in your software to the signs at the mall, to yes, even this very website. Graphic designers are highly-trained and specialized artists who help to ensure the visual design of a thing communicates the message it’s intended to as well as it possibly can — and many of them work from home in a freelance capacity.
What you need: While your portfolio of work is generally given more priority than your credentials, most graphic designers have a formal four-year Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university.
What they do: Okay, so you know in the gory surgical drama when the hot doctor is operating on someone, and he’s saying stuff out loud like “piercing arterial wall” or “time of death, 4:02”? He’s not talking to himself. He’s talking for the benefit of an audio record, and those records don’t just turn themselves into text. Medical transcriptionists do that. They convert jargon-laden medical audio recordings into all manner of esoteric paperwork. Due to the high volume of work, most medical organizations outsource either to private companies like Athreon, who employ telecommuting staffs, or to self-employed freelancers.
What you need: While requirements differ from one employer to the next, and some don’t require any degree at all, many colleges offer either a certificate or an associate’s degree to help job candidates achieve a competitive edge.
4. Online Adjunct
What they do: To paraphrase Yogi Berra, the future of higher education ain’t what it used to be. As a growing number of students seek the benefits of online education, colleges and universities have begun to shift away from employing tenured, on-site faculty and more toward a model that highlights digitally-commuting part-time faculty who teach multiple concurrent courses at a time.
What you need: Requirements vary by industry, but as a general rule-of-thumb, most teaching positions require a Master’s degree at the absolute least.
5. Freelance Photographer
What they do: Photographers specialize in fighting invisible ninjas and space colonization. Just kidding — they take pictures of stuff. As of 2010, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports that about 63% of professional photographers are self-employed, with some traveling to locations for shoots, and others shooting from at-home or rented studios.
What you need: To be an effective photographer, you need a camera and the knowledge needed to wield it effectively. No, seriously, that’s about it. That said, many photographers have a four-year degree, which helps them to network, gain key skills and build a strong work-portfolio.
6. Real Estate Broker
What they do: Real estate is an industry that has only recently begun to get away from the office. According to the Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook, “Advances in telecommunications and the ability to retrieve data about properties over the Internet allow many real estate brokers and sales agents to work out of their homes instead of real estate offices.” However, it also notes that brokers spend a lot of time away from their desks, doing things like analyzing and showing properties.
What you need: Like lawyers, real estate brokers are required to pass a rigorous licensing exam, covering topics such as zoning laws and property rights. To prepare for this exam, the majority of brokers either pursue an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in the field, or take a preparatory real estate exam course.
7. Remote Customer Service
What they do: Ah, remember the 90’s? Seinfeld, the Spice Girls, Go-Gurt — and way too many jokes about outsourced Indian customer service. But you may have noticed in the last few years that the agents who take your calls over the phone are beginning to shift back toward home-grown Americans. With the rise of the Internet and digital staffing solutions, call-centers were among the first industries to decentralize to home-based workers, and today, the field of home-based telephonic customer service is a booming enterprise.
What you need: Requirements for this position are generally low. You’ll typically only need some practical customer service experience, as well as the proper equipment (e.g. a high-quality headset and a fast internet connection).
8. Remote Tech Support
What they do:
Similar to at-home customer service, remote tech support offers customers the flexibility of round-the-clock service — and allows employees the ability to say things like, “Have you tried turning it off and then turning it back on?” from the comfort of their own living-room.
What you need: While requirements vary, and many employers offer or require in-house training programs, most job-applicants entering this field do so with a Bachelor’s degree in a field like computer science.
9. Telephone Triage Nurse
What they do: Also known as “telehealth representatives,” telephone triage nurses assist patients over the phone in determining the nature of a medical situation, then help to suggest the proper care regime and/or specialist.
What you need: Nursing jobs require state-level Registered Nurse (RN) certification and are typically accompanied by an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree.
10. Freelance Writer
What they do: Freelance writers are machines for turning coffee and ramen into words (and by extent, advertising revenue). While the field is wide and varied, the majority earn their living in the field of digital copywriting — creating articles like this one for content-aggregators like the site you’ve probably got open in the next tab.
What you need: To be an effective freelance writer, you’ll need a head full of ideas, a stomach made of iron and a lot of patience.
Also, you’ll probably want to go after something like an English degree — to hone your craft and make professional contacts. With telecommuting, small-business entrepreneurship and freelancing all on the rise, the options for at-home employment are more varied now than they’ve ever been. Your choices are only limited by your interests and expertise.