Ready to skip your daily commute? If so, a work from home job may be worth considering. Work from home jobs, also known as remote or virtual jobs, offer flexibility because you can work from home or other locations as long as you have the necessary technical equipment.
We’ll guide you through salaries and job growth and tips to help you find virtual jobs.
Main Takeaways: Getting a Work From Home Job
- Work from home jobs fall into different fields. As working remotely becomes more commonplace, many industries are expanding their policies to include work from home careers.
- You may need a degree for this work. It all depends on the type of work you're doing. Something like data entry may not require education, but a more technical career could.
- Salaries range widely for these jobs. We take a look at some of the most common positions from different salary ranges below.
What Does a Work From Home Job Entail?
There are 2 main categories of work from home jobs:
- Mainstream jobs with remote options: Software engineers, marketing managers and financial advisors are often given the option to work remotely from a home office. You’ll likely receive benefits and paid time off — the only difference is that you’ll communicate with colleagues via Skype, email and web conferences and deliver your work electronically.
- Totally remote jobs: These jobs entail working 100% from home and are sometimes performed by independent contractors who don’t receive benefits or other traditional perks. Work at home jobs like these could include customer service, data entry, tutoring or virtual assistant positions. Small business owners frequently have companies that are home-based.
Do I Need a Degree to Work in this Field?
There are thousands of different types of work from home jobs available with varying educational requirements. Many entry-level jobs don’t require a degree, but employers hiring for corporate jobs will likely require at least a bachelor’s degree. You won’t need a specific type of degree for a work from home job — it depends on the job you’re targeting.
For example, if you’re pursuing a work from home IT job, a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field is a must. Senior or executive-level work from home jobs might require a master’s degree.
Some work from home positions, including graphic designers, virtual assistants and writers, require less stringent educational requirements. A solid work history, professional references and a strong online portfolio should suffice in lieu of traditional education credentials.
Types of Work From Home Jobs and Titles
Let’s take a look at the different types of work from home jobs and various job titles.
Entry-Level Work From Home Jobs
Entry-level work from home jobs, such as customer service representative, survey taker or remote customer service associate, usually don’t require a college degree. Furthermore, most offer on-the-job training.
Tasks for these types of jobs are simple and can involve answering phone calls or emails.
Virtual Assistant Jobs
Virtual assistant jobs, such as a virtual personal assistant or remote assistant, are usually clerical positions that involve performing typical receptionist duties such as drafting correspondence, answering phone calls and responding to emails.
Online Teaching Jobs
An online teacher (also called a virtual teacher or online tutor) is someone who either works independently or contracts with an online teaching or tutoring company. You’ll use web conferencing, Skype and email to communicate with students and deliver lesson plans and assignments.
Data Entry Jobs
Many data entry jobs can be done at home. Data entry specialists and virtual data entry workers are frequently hired by companies to enter medical record information, track inventory or input customer records into a database.
Since all of the work is done online, it’s a perfect work from home job.
Amazon Work From Home Jobs
It’s no surprise that Amazon, the world’s largest e-commerce marketplace, employs a lot of virtual workers. Most of these jobs entail taking and fulfilling customer orders online and over the phone.
Amazon offers flexible schedules and part-time or full-time options to Amazon customer associates, marketplace specialists and customer representatives.
Virtual Travel Agent Jobs
Many travel agencies and cruise lines hire virtual travel agents (also called remote travel agents and virtual travel representatives) to book travel arrangements for customers. These jobs require little experience and many provide on-the-job training.
Call Center Jobs
A call center job might be a good fit if you like to talk to people and have a friendly personality. Many different kinds of companies have virtual call centers, places where customers can call to place orders and report technical issues.
If you work at a call center, you’d use a headset to connect to customers online to take their orders and answer questions. These types of jobs offer a lot of flexibility, as many operate 24/7 and across different time zones.
Salary Ranges and Expectations for Work From Home Jobs
Median annual salaries for work from home positions vary depending on the job classification. Here are a few examples from Payscale.com:
- Call center representative: $28,142
- Virtual customer service representative: $30,688
- Virtual assistant: $32,843
- Online teacher: $35,444
- Online marketing manager: $62,775
You can set your hourly rate at whatever you’d like, depending on your experience and area of expertise, particularly if you own your own business.
Projected Growth Rate of the Work From Home Field
About 43% of all U.S. workers do some or all of their work from home, so virtual jobs are on the rise, according to Gallup’s annual State of the Workplace survey.
Specific job growth rates depend on the type of work from home job you’re looking for. For example, the projected job growth rate for customer service representatives is expected to grow 5% by 2026.
How to Get a Work From Home Job
How can you find a work from home job? Here are some strategies to help jump-start your job search:
- Join organizations and groups. There are professional organizations such as the International Virtual Assistants Association you can join to connect with other virtual workers and learn more about job opportunities. You can also join Facebook groups such as Your Virtual Workers to add to your networking contacts.
- Network. Spread the word on social media and sites such as LinkedIn that you’re looking for a virtual job.
- Register with a staffing agency. Many staffing agencies offer remote opportunities that include benefits and full-time options.
- Sign up with a virtual employment job site. Sites such as FlexJobs feature thousands of work from home jobs but may require a small monthly subscription fee.
- Tweak your resume. Highlight your expertise using software tools such as Google Docs and Skype, as well as any virtual work experience you have.
- Do your homework and apply. Research companies that offer work from home positions and apply directly on their sites — many major companies such as Google, Dell and Pfizer depend on virtual workers to support their operations. You can also apply on legitimate job search engines and job boards.
- Create a website. You can start your own business and create a website to showcase your talents. You can also build a portfolio to demonstrate your work if you’re a graphic designer or writer.
Beware of Work From Home Job Scams
Keep in mind during your job search there are work from home job scams out there, so be cautious.
Always verify that companies are legitimate and don’t give out any personal information unless you know the website is authentic. Never give your credit card information or pay money to get a work from home job. Immediately report work from home scams or you suspect a company is fraudulent, report it to the Better Business Bureau.
Top 6 Skills to Be Successful at Working From Home
A work from home job is different from a regular office job and requires a specific skill set. Here are the top 6 skills you’ll need to be successful.
1. Time Management Skills
Remote workers aren’t usually held accountable to a time clock or typical 9 to 5 schedule. You may work variable hours or could work an unusual shift, depending on the time zone you’re in, so good time management skills are a must.
Working from home requires a higher level of self-discipline because you have to motivate yourself to start and complete projects with little or no direction. Since you’re working autonomously, you won’t be able to rely on your colleagues for face-to-face advice and support.
3. Technical Skills
You’ll need to be tech-savvy if you want to work from home since you’ll be performing the majority of your job functions online. You should be adept at using Google Docs, Skype, Outlook, Microsoft Word, video conferencing and many other programs. Have a plan in place to fix your technology if it breaks down.
4. Communication Skills
Your communication skills should be exceptional since you won’t be interacting one-on-one with business clients and colleagues. Your verbal, presentation and email skills should be concise and clear so there are no misunderstandings about the work you’ll be delivering.
5. Organizational Skills
Working from home requires you to balance your home life with work demands, so good organizational skills are critical. You’ll have to prioritize your projects and deal with distractions (like kids at home and phone calls, for example). An organized filing system and workspace will also help you juggle multiple tasks during your workday.
6. Data Entry or Typing Skills
You’ll likely be doing most of your work on the computer, so you’ll need to be fast on the keyboard. Most virtual jobs are fast-paced and involve entering a lot of customer information and details on a database. In some cases, you may be timed on specific tasks.
Make a Good Living Working from Home
Work from home jobs are optional for people of all ages, backgrounds and job classifications. You can find long-term, permanent work from home jobs that include a plan for retirement. If you have the skills and self-discipline to work from home, set up your home office and find the right job for you.