Posted October 03, 2013 by

5 of the top careers for working at home

Man working from home in office, using computer and telephone

Man working from home in office, using computer and telephone. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

A life without rush hour traffic, obnoxious coworkers and helicopter bosses may seem like an unattainable dream for many Americans. However, that may be changing. Today’s computers, smart phones and digital devices mean more and more people are able to spend their work days at home rather than stuck in a stuffy cubicle.

If you are hoping to join the ranks of those working from home, you first need to get the right education and skills. While there is no guarantee any degree will land you a job, let alone a work-at-home job, it seems like a degree may improve your odds of living the good life. The Bureau of Labor Statistics noted among workers older than age 25, those with a bachelor’s degree were more likely to work from home compared to individuals with less education.

In fact, in 2012, the BLS found 38 percent of those with a four-year degree worked from home at least part of the time. Only 5 percent of those with less than a high school diploma could say the same.

To increase your chances of landing that coveted work-at-home job, consider one of these degree fields which lend themselves well to telecommuting.

Computer engineering

In a world that can practically be run from a smart phone, you don’t need to be a computer scientist to know a degree in IT can lead to careers with great salary and growth potential. In addition, tech jobs can often be done remotely.

For example, get a degree in computer software engineering and you could be in line for a job as a developer, an occupation the BLS estimates will see 30 percent job growth from 2010 to 2020. It may also allow you to rise through the ranks while still staying at home. According to a report published earlier this year by Forbes and PayScale.com, 26 percent of IT senior project managers work from home.

Marketing

If tech isn’t your thing, you may want to try your hand at marketing. Online marketing jobs such as managing social media sites and optimizing sales websites are obvious choices for work-at-home jobs. However, even more traditional public relations positions may lend themselves well to working outside of the office.

Aside from the possibility of working from home, a degree in marketing may be a best smart move simply because the field is expected to see tremendous growth in the coming years. From 2010 to 2020, the BLS estimates jobs for marketing research analysts and marketing specialists will increase 41.2 percent, making it the 17th fastest growing occupation in the nation.

Health care

You may be surprised to learn degrees in health care can land you a job at home. Thanks to explosive growth in telehealth, medical professionals from coders to nurses and even physicians can work from home. A 2013 report from market research firm Kalorama Information found revenues in telemedicine – meaning the use of audio, video or other similar means to remotely monitor a patient — increased 237 percent from 2007 to 2012. Meanwhile, analytics firm IHS Inc. estimates 1.8 million patients will receive care via telehealth by 2017.

Telehealth careers are varied, and the education needed to tap into this job market will depend on the type of work you pursue. Anna Maria College notes popular telehealth job options include working as a telehealth registered nurse, medical writer, medical coder, case manager or a home-based physician.

Accounting

Crunching numbers isn’t necessarily something that has to happen within the confines of an office building, and jobs such as those of actuaries and accountants may be prime candidates for telecommuting. The Forbes/PayScale study found 93 percent of actuaries say they have a flexible work schedule.

To pursue a career in numbers, students may want to consider a degree in accounting, finance or business. As for job outlook, the BLS says accountants will see average job growth while positions for actuaries should increase 27 percent from 2010 to 2020 which is faster than average.

Graphic Design

A degree in graphic design can offer all sorts of potential to work from home. With the right skills and marketing finesse, graphic designers can cultivate successful freelance businesses, and the BLS notes 29 percent of graphic designers were self-employed in 2010. Other designers may work out telecommuting arrangements with their employers.

Working at home as a graphic designer may require an investment in some technology and software tools, but once an individual has those, graphic design work is something that can be done in a variety of settings.

Of course, with a plan and a good sales pitch to back it up, professionals in virtually all fields can make a case for telecommuting at least part time. However, those who really want to work at home may want to swing the odds in their favor by focusing on one of these degrees that seem made for flexible employment arrangements.

By: Maryalene LaPonsie

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