If you live in an isolated area, or can't commute to a typical nine-to-five job for other reasons, you don't have to sacrifice a successful career. The following ten jobs offer freelance and work-at-home options that allow you--with the right career training--to succeed from a home office.
1. Management analyst (average salary in 2009: $84,650)
An expert in a given industry or business area may earn a living advising other companies as a management analyst (or management consultant). These consultants work on a project basis and may work from a home office or commute to client sites. Management analysts often have a bachelor's degree and extensive experience in a particular field.
2. Web developer (average salary in 2009: $70,930)
Web developers can create Web sites and Internet applications from any computer with the appropriate software, so they often perform project-based client work from home. Most Web developers have a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field, but an associate's degree or certificate can also be sufficient.
3. Technical writer (average salary in 2009: $65,610)
Technical writers are communication specialists who translate technical subject matter into common, easy-to-follow language. They often write how-to guides, instruction manuals, and medical brochures. Many technical writers work from home offices, and they often hold a bachelor's degree in English, journalism, or another communications field.
4. Public relations specialist (average salary in 2009: $59,370)
Public relations specialists help companies and organizations build a positive relationship with the public--they write press releases, address media inquiries, and communicate with interest groups. A bachelor's degree in public relations, communications, journalism, or a related field is required for entry-level public relations positions.
5. Interior designer (average salary in 2009: $51,990)
Interior designers combine principles of art, architecture, and spatial planning to design building interiors that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Many interior designers are self employed and work from home offices on a project basis. Before working on their own, interior designers generally earn an associate's degree or bachelor's degree in interior design and complete a design internship.
6. Graphic designer (average salary in 2009: $47,820)
Graphic designers use computer design applications to create advertisements, brochures, logos, and other communications materials for clients. A bachelor's degree in graphic design is the most common way to become a graphic designer, although associate's degree and certificate programs are also available.
7. Caterer (average salary in 2009: $44,240 [includes all chefs and head cooks])
As an alternative to busy restaurant life, some chefs become caterers and prepare food for special events. Caterers need well-equipped kitchens and efficient staff to prepare food for large parties, but they can often run the business and planning side of catering from a home office. Many successful caterers have prior restaurant experience and an associate's degree in culinary arts.
8. Mental health counselor (average salary in 2009: $41,710)
Mental health counselors use therapeutic techniques to treat patients suffering from depression, anxiety, stress, addiction, and other mental health disorders. Some self-employed mental health counselors hold counseling sessions in their home. To become a mental health counselor, you must earn a master's degree in mental health or clinical counseling and become licensed by your state.
9. Massage therapist (average salary in 2009: $39,780)
Massage therapists help clients reduce stress, relax overworked muscles, and recover from injury using a variety of massage techniques. Many massage therapists are self-employed and can schedule appointments to fit their lifestyle. Most states require massage therapists to become licensed by completing an accredited massage therapy program.
10. Customer service representative (average salary in 2009: $32,410)
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a growing number of companies are hiring customer service representatives who telecommute and answer customers' calls from home. Not all customer service jobs require postsecondary education, but some companies prefer to hire people with a bachelor's degree in communications, business administration, or a related field.
Career training for a home-based career
Whatever your current job or education level, you can work towards a rewarding, home-based career with the proper career training and degree. Online degree programs are especially convenient for working students, so you can continue your education and reach your professional goals.
Jessica Hanley is a writer pursuing a graduate degree in creative writing. Her previous experience includes marketing for the Penguin Young Readers Group and teaching writing to students of all ages. Jessica received a BA in English from Stanford University.
Source: All salary data was reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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