An amazing number of people want to know what the best work at home jobs are. It has always been my belief that this isn’t an easy thing to say. It varies too much from person to person. A home based job with amazing pay won’t be the best for you if you aren’t qualified, after all. Nonetheless, some jobs are generally better than others. Here’s what I consider to be the 10 best work at home jobs in 2013.
I’ll be using statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for pay rates. These may not be the same for home based positions, but it’s the best data I’ve got. Data comes from their 2010 survey, which is the current one on the site. It’s for the job in general, not specific to working at home, which is why numbers may be significantly different. Keep in mind that median pay rates are very different from entry level pay rates.
Note that most of the best paying jobs are highly demanding, and that you will probably need someone handling child care for a lot of these jobs.
1. Computer Software Engineers
Not all software engineers work from home, but it’s a great work at home job if you’re well qualified. Median pay is $90,530 per year. You will need a college degree for most positions, and often experience as a software engineer.
2. Registered Nurses
Work at home jobs for registered nurses are usually doing phone triage, case management, treatment authorization and similar work. Median pay is $64,690 per year. You will probably need to be a registered nurse in the state you work in.
3. Public Relations Specialists
If you know how to get media attention, a home based public relations specialist job should be a good choice. Median pay is $57,550 per year. You’ll write and send out press releases, find ways to reach a target audience, handle media inquiries, and more.
Possibly the most flexible job on this list… until a deadline gets too close. Also highly variable in pay. BLS lists the median pay at $55,420 per year, but this depends quite a bit on the type of writing you do, and how regularly you work. Technical writers earn somewhat higher, for example.
The warning I have for you here is that you should not accept too low a pay rate just to get started. You don’t need to compete with low pay writers in other countries, unless that’s where you’re from. Writing in your native language should give you an advantage over those who are writing in their second language. Most times it really shows in the quality, and that’s what you have to offer. Besides, from everything I’ve heard, the people who offer the lowest pay can be some of the pickiest and most difficult customers. Have pride in your skills and get a decent pay rate.
5. Graphic Designers
For those who are more artistically inclined and can get an idea across in a visual form, a work at home graphic designer position may be ideal. Many jobs are freelance, but some companies allow graphic designers to work primarily or entirely from home. Median pay is $43,500 per year.
You may have to meet with clients in person, but virtual meetings may also be possible. Have a good portfolio ready when you’re searching for jobs.
6. Customer Service Representatives
If you’ve ever worked in a call center, you probably qualify for this job, making it one of the most popular work at home jobs out there. Home based customer service representatives do much the same work they would in an office, but at home. Median pay is $30,460 per year.
The biggest challenge for this job is making sure things are quiet enough. Kids, neighbors mowing the lawn, someone ringing the doorbell, dogs barking, or any other background noise can be enough that you will lose the job. You must have a quiet place to work and a good quality noise cancelling headset, along with equipment requirements specific to your employer. Both your internet connection and your phone must be a wired connection, not wireless, for most employers. There are a lot of potential employers in this industry.
Some companies will hire you as an employee, others as an independent contractor. This will impact whether benefits are available, and you may have to pay a fee for a background check with some companies. So long as you are certain the company is legitimate, this shouldn’t be too bad.
7. Technical Support Agent
If you’re really good at troubleshooting problems on the computer, you may do well as an at home technical support agent. Median pay is $46,260 per year. Positions may require a college degree or other certifications, but lower level jobs may have easier requirements. You must be comfortable handling problems over the phone, email or chat, depending on the job.
You should be able to troubleshoot networks and computers, and guide customers through the troubleshooting steps. You may also teach customers how to use unfamiliar hardware and software.
8. Virtual Assistant
The term “virtual assistant” covers a huge ground. There’s not one single job description for a virtual assistant. In large part, it depends on the services you’re willing to offer.
Many virtual assistants offer their services on a freelance basis. There are employers who prefer to hire a virtual assistant rather than a regular employee. Other companies hire virtual assistants and then offer their services to other companies.
Typically, a virtual assistant does work along the lines of what an office assistant would do, such as process emails.
You don’t have to go into the classroom to be a teacher. Online charter schools hire credentialed teachers to work from home. You may still have to attend parent-teacher meetings, however. My daughter attended an online charter school one year, and that was one of the requirements. Still, much of the job is at home. Median pay for teachers in general is $51,380 per year.
Online charter school teachers may take calls, email or chat questions from parents and students. My daughter’s teacher had to be available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, as I recall. You may also teach online courses over Skype or other programs.
10. Social Media Manager
With the popularity of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, many companies need help with their social media. They need someone who can handle their activity on social media well, especially if anything embarrassing happens, and who won’t cause a scandal themselves. BLS doesn’t have a median pay on this one – it’s too new. You will need to find interesting and relevant things to post on social media pages and respond to questions or comments received in a timely and appropriate manner.