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Top 10 Jobs That Allow You to Work From Home

Author: Andrew Smith

You know those days when you don't feel like leaving the house to start your daily trip to work? Well, thanks to an increasingly telecommuter-friendly economy, you may be able to kiss your dreaded commute good-bye.

Whether or not you're a candidate for working from home depends very much on your industry and the type of work you do. Obviously there are some jobs, such as massage therapist or ballet dancer, that will never be done remotely. Many other kinds of work, however, can be done just as effectively – or more so – from a home office. And not being tied to a specific locale vastly multiples your options for job hunting. As the advocacy group the Telework Coalition states, Work is something you do, not someplace you go.

Where the Jobs Are

1. Health and Medical Services

FlexJobs, a flexible-job-hunting website that vets its listings for legitimacy, conducts an annual survey of where the growth in telecommuting is. Its 2015 survey found that health and medical services is not just the No. 1 work-at-home employer, but also the fastest growing field. Overall, FlexJobs found a 26% increase in listings in home-based jobs from the previous year, suggesting that companies are increasingly open to employees who telecommute. In fact, a survey by the London Business School and Deloitte showed that business experts expect that by 2020 half of the workforce will be virtual workers.

In the health and medical area, the leading companies with work-at-home employment were healthcare giants Aetna, Broadspire, Covance, Forest Laboratories, Humana, Parexel and UnitedHealth Group. The job titles they sought to fill included computer- or phone-based jobs such as account manager, actuarial consultant, business-intelligence manager, case manager, medical writer, patient-education or case advocates, revenue-integrity director and sales representative.

2. Customer Service and Support

Ranking second in the FlexJobs survey of virtual-employment opportunities is customer service and support. Employers looking for telecommuters to assist their customers by phone included Amazon, Apple, Convergys, Language Line Services, Teletech, West Corporation and Xerox.

3. Education

Some of the more surprising opportunities FlexJobs found are in fields you might typically think of as requiring face-to-face contact. Education, for instance, ranked sixth in its survey. The growth of online learning companies like InstaEDU, K12, Connections Academy, Kaplan and Tutor.com has led to more listings for freelance and part-time positions like curriculum writer, parent mentor, SAT instructor, science teacher, student-services coordinator and tutor.

4. Government

Government jobs is another category where you might expect a face-to-face presence would be needed. But in the federal government, for instance, the U.S. Department of the Interior posted jobs for ecologists and geographers who could work remotely.

5. Tech

6. Sales

Less surprising work-at-home categories were technology (No. 4), which is known for its progressive approach to virtual offices, and sales (No. 3). Some employers, such as IBM, First Data, Infor, Overland Solutions, Red Hat and SAP, fell into both categories with job listings in high-tech sales. Other job titles tech companies sought to fill included technical support positions such as project manager, retail-solution architect, software developer or engineer and technical writer.

7. Administrative jobs

8. Marketing

Also making the top-10 list for telecommuting employment are administrative and marketing roles. Administrative titles include assistants and schedulers, while marketing runs the gamut.

9. Translators

10. Interpreters and bilingual speakers

And, last, there are translators interpreters and bilingual speakers, who typically work as independent contractors for companies like Appen, which evaluates and translates communications for international clients, or Asurion, which offers multilingual customer support for electronics companies' product insurance plans.

Benefits for Employers, Too

As appealing as telecommuting is to employees, it wouldn't be such a strong trend if employers didn't also recognize benefits from their side of the desk. Companies that have implemented virtual workplaces appreciate the cost savings on office facilities (estimated by the Telework Coalition to be as much as $10,000 a year per employee); greater employee productivity; fewer missed work days due to illness or commuting problems and a much bigger pool of candidates. And, in the event of a natural or manmade disaster, a distributed workforce is in a better position to keep operations running even if some of the group goes offline. (For more examples of work-at-home jobs, see Top 4 Financial Jobs You Can Do From Home.)

The Bottom Line

The types of legitimate professional roles mentioned above, with the possible exception of customer service reps, generally require a college degree or higher. They are associated with large employers and pay salaries and offer benefits comparable to those of onsite workers and are, for the most part, listed in the Jobs section of the companies' websites.

It is worth noting, however, that work-at-home/get-rich-quick scams are legion and even predate the Internet. Many decades ago, you could find questionable ads touting Make money stuffing envelopes in the classified sections of newspapers and magazines. If a prospective work-at-home opportunity requires you to pay a fee up front or buy a start-up kit or other supplies, steer clear. (For more, read Working From Home Scams: How to Avoid Them.) You will, however, most likely need to invest in a fast, stable Internet connection if you don't already have one and a high-quality phone headset.

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