Working from home promises big benefits: extra income, flexible hours and a dress code of slippers and sweatpants. The trick, of course, is finding legitimate, well-paid positions because work-at-home scams abound.
To assemble our list of top work-at-home jobs, we combed through employment data to identify occupations with good hourly wages and promising growth prospects. We then researched actual companies that hire home-based workers as well as career Web sites that strive to post legit work-at-home job openings.
To weed out scammers, we checked out companies with the Better Business Bureau and other professional associations. While we can’t guarantee that you’ll get hired for one of these work-from-home jobs, at least you can have confidence that none of these employment opportunities is too good to be true.
Web Search Evaluator
Average Pay: $14/hour
Education: High school
Essential Skill: Going gaga for Google
Web search evaluators test the accuracy of online search results, examining different search terms and the Web sites they turn up. You’ll need a computer and fast Internet connection. The job involves a lot of analytical thinking, so applicants must pass a test before companies such as Appen and Leapforce will hire them as independent contractors. (Appen also hires social media evaluators.) Web search evaluators generally choose their own hours. Look for openings on the Appen and Leapforce Web sites, and browse a career site such as FlexJobs.com for other work-at-home evaluator positions.
Average Pay: $17/hour
Education: Associate’s degree or one-year certification program
Essential Skill: Following doctors’ orders
Home-based transcription predates the Internet, making it, in some ways, the quintessential work-at-home job. Medical transcriptionists type doctors’ dictated notes and use them to prepare memos and reports. A good transcriptionist is more than a typist. Increasingly, medical firms want their employees to have associate’s degrees or vocational certificates, as well as an advanced understanding of medical terminology. Amphion Medical Solutions requires experience but promises flexible hours and a full range of benefits. Precyse, a large health information management firm, also hires experienced home-based transcriptionists.
Customer Service Representative
Average Pay: $10/hour
Education: High school (college degree for some employers)
Essential Skill: The gift of gab
When you dial a company’s help line, the call typically goes to a large call center in the U.S. or abroad. But increasingly, customer service calls also route to home-based agents, who answer questions, help customers place orders and maintain accounts through their computers. Hours are flexible and few firms require specific education or experience. Training (usually paid) is provided, and you will be expected to have phone and Internet service that meet minimum standards. Also expect to undergo a credit or background check. SYKES Home Powered by Alpine Access, Convergys and West Corporation rank among the prominent employers. All three are highly rated by the Better Business Bureau, usually hire reps as employees rather than contractors, and offer benefits such as paid vacation and medical insurance to full-time workers.
Computer Support Specialist
Average Pay: $24/hour
Education: Associate or bachelor’s degree
Essential Skill: A knack for tech
Computer geeks can make solid salaries as computer support specialists, where demand is high and hours flexible. Working out of home offices, many computer support specialists are hired on a contract basis by tech support firms to provide assistance to a range of businesses. Duties typically include testing, evaluating and troubleshooting computer network problems and providing assistance to computer users. Find work-at-home job listings on sites such as CareerBuilder.com, FlexJobs.com and Upwork.com. Major corporations from Apple to Xerox also hire workers to provide tech support from home.
Average Pay: $15/hour
Education: High school
Essential Skill: Ability to juggle calls and clients
A virtual assistant does everything a traditional assistant might do: scheduling appointments, managing digital files, helping prepare presentations and making travel plans. That means administrative experience is necessary. Most VAs are contractors , not employees, and they operate out of their homes as independent businesses with multiple clients. Newcomers can market themselves to potential clients through local business groups, social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter, or join the International Virtual Assistants Association to take advantage of its job board. You also can find listings for virtual assistant jobs on career sites such as FlexJobs.com and Indeed.com.