Do you dream of never having to leave your house to go to work? There's certainly no shortage of advertisements promising jobs where you can work from home and make a very nice salary. Unfortunately, most of these jobs either don't actually exist, or don't pay anything close to what is promised.
However, working from home is a reality for many people. In fact, more than 3 million people in the U.S. considered home their primary workplace, and this number has increased by about 80% since 2005. With that fact in mind, here are five jobs you might actually be able to get that allow you to work from the comfort of your own home, and pay pretty well.
Do you speak another language?
If you're fluent in more than one language, there's a work from home opportunity to be a translator. Specifically, companies are looking for people to translate documents and files from one language to another. In fact, in the increasingly global workplace, translators are so high in demand that the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the occupation to grow by almost 50% during the next decade.
Many translators have bachelor's degrees, but it's not a requirement. And the pay can be very good. Because of the specialized skill required and the high demand, the median pay for translators is more than $45,000 per year.
Can you type fast?
Medical transcriptionists take dictation from doctors and put it into typed words. And many of them work from home.
It's tough to keep up with doctors. Many speak fast, or have accents; but this is one of the reasons that qualified medical transcriptionists are so in demand. The average hourly rate for medical transcriptionists is $16.36, and the occupation is expected to add 6,400 jobs between now and 2022.
Furthermore, the education requirements are relatively small. You can qualify to be a medical transcriptionist with a one-year certificate program, where you'll study topics like editing, proofreading, keyboarding, and medical terminology.
Help people go on vacation
This is one of the occupations where there are plenty of scams, but there are plenty of legitimate travel agents who work from home and make a successful living.
The bad news first -- the competition in this industry is intense, and many aspiring travel agents fail to make a decent living. Plus, the number of jobs is actually expected to decline during the next decade.
However, for those who learn the ropes and do well, there is some money to be made. According to one report, there are a good number of work-at-home travel agents earning six-figure salaries, but the median is a much more down to earth $34,600. And there's no formal education requirement; all that you really need are some basic computer skills and a willingness to learn.
Teach without a classroom
The concept of distance learning has taken off during the past few years, and so has the demand for virtual instructors. There are online education programs for all levels, from elementary school to doctoral programs. Many states actually have their own virtual public schools.
Pay and education requirements vary by the subject and level you decide to teach, but most K-12 schools require at least a bachelor's degree. Most college-level programs require a master's degree.
Just to give you a general idea, consider that the nation's first public high school, Florida Virtual School, employs teachers both on a full- and part-time basis. For full-time instructors on a year-round contract, pay ranges from $47,700 to $78,300 per year. Even part-time instructors can earn up to $972 biweekly.
Are you tech savvy?
Want a job with a median salary of more than $62,000 that doesn't require a bachelor's degree? You can get one as a web developer if you know how to design and build websites. According to the 2010 Census, 38% of web developers don't have a four-year degree.
Basically, web developers are so high in demand because there aren't enough qualified applicants out there. Many are self-taught, teaching themselves how to code and build websites. It's not easy, though -- it takes long hours of practice, and requires a high level of skill with math.
How to determine if a job is legit
Unfortunately, this is worth mentioning, because there are so many work from home "opportunities" out there that are just scams to make someone else money at your expense.
There are a few signs to watch for. For example, does the ad include the company's name? Is there an HR department you can talk to? Is there an application and interview process? And is the employer an established company? If the answer is "no" to any of these questions, beware.
Still, there are plenty of opportunities to work from home for people who are qualified. With a little job searching, finding a way to make money from the comfort of your home is a more realistic goal than you may have thought.