Want to work from home? 5 jobs to consider
Working from home can be a rewarding and flexible career option, and you can land home-based gigs in a growing number of industries. But you might not know where to look for these opportunities if you’re new to telecommuting.
“Millions of people work from home — it’s commonplace now,” says Haley Foutch, MS, a career coach for Phoenix Career Services™ at University of Phoenix, whose job is based at her home.
While more companies and occupations are open to telecommuting, you should already have experience in your field before working from home, Foutch cautions. “Employers want to know that you have the proven ability to handle the job in the field, so you can do it independently at home,” she notes.
Here, she describes five jobs that lend themselves well to working from home:
“This is a huge area for hiring right now,” Foutch says, noting that project managers can work in a variety of industries, including IT, health care and manufacturing. Most work-from-home project management positions require you to hold Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification, or at least be working toward obtaining it, she notes.
Whether the job calls for routine bookkeeping and payroll management for a small business or more complex work for a large corporation, Foutch says, “you’re working independently, crunching numbers and submitting reports, which you can do from almost anywhere.”
Most virtual accounting positions demand a combination of education and experience to get hired, she notes. “Simple bookkeeping will usually require an associate degree in accounting at minimum, while many corporate positions require you to be a CPA [certified public accountant],” she says.
Human resource recruiter
Companies large and small use virtual recruiters to help them find top talent, according to Foutch, who notes that these human resource (HR) professionals can work for large corporations or independent staffing firms.
The jobs often entail searching online resumé databases for qualified candidates, conducting initial interviews via phone or webcam, and presenting candidates to hiring managers.
“You should have some prior HR experience, along with some sales and recruiting experience in the field before becoming a virtual recruiter,” Foutch says.
Online teacher and tutor
The rise of online public K–12 education in recent years has created new opportunities for teaching, Foutch says. “You’ll need to have the appropriate teacher certifications, as well as some prior classroom teaching experience before going online,” she adds, noting that you also may need National Board Certification, depending on where your students live.
Other virtual job options for educators include curriculum development and instructional design, either for school districts or textbook publishers. These jobs usually require a master’s degree and prior experience in the field, Foutch emphasizes.
A benefit of working as an online tutor, she notes, is that it provides an opportunity to get your foot in the door to learn how virtual teaching is done.
“If you want to get into online education but don’t know how to get the necessary experience, tutoring is a great option,” she says, adding that companies — such as Tutor.com and Smartthinking — that hire virtual tutors usually require you to prove expertise in your subject, either by taking a company exam that measures your knowledge or by submitting a sample lesson plan.
A relatively new entrant to the telecommuting world, an online counselor can offer career advice and even mental health care over the Internet, thanks to improvements in webcam technology, Foutch says. A master’s in counseling is usually required, along with certifications and licenses that can vary by state.
Many professional career counselors work virtually, Foutch notes, while behavioral counselors are also available to clients online via services like Breakthrough and Betterhelp, or their own private practices.
“A virtual counseling position,” she says, “could be a good fit for someone who wants to reach a more diverse population, serve people in multiple areas and who wants the benefit of a flexible schedule.”