Woman in home office
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Landing a home-based job can be a dream come true. In addition to offering flexibility, there’s also the perk of having a short commute from your couch to your workspace.

But finding legitimate work-at-home jobs can be tough. There are 60 scams for every real work-at-home job, says Christine Durst, co-founder and principal of Staffcentrix LLC, which owns and manages RatRaceRebellion.com.

To help you find the right for you, we’ve put together a list of 15 work-at-home jobs that are not only real but can also provide you with a decent income. We’ll also share some ways to spot the difference between a good job opportunity and a scam.

15 best work-from-home jobs

  1. Virtual assistant
  2. Medical transcriptionist
  3. Translator
  4. Web developer/designer
  5. Call center representative
  6. Tech support specialist
  7. Travel agent
  8. Teacher
  9. Writer/editor
  10. Franchise owner
  11. Social media manager
  12. Child care provider
  13. Graphic designer
  14. Short-term rental host
  15. Website tester

Also, note that a growing number of employers are offering telecommuting jobs to cut costs and find talented employees who don’t live in the area. Between those jobs and other work-at-home gigs, there are plenty of ways for you to find a way to work in the comfort of your own house.

1. Virtual assistant

This is a job with much potential, in part because the title description covers many things. “You can fit your offerings to what you know how to do,” says Stephanie Foster, a former medical transcriptionist who runs the website HomeWithTheKids.com. One can own a virtual assistant business or work from home for a company that makes you available to other employers or clients. HomeWithTheKids.com, for example, currently features several such companies.

Small businesses hire virtual assistants to help when they can’t justify a permanent employee. The International Virtual Assistants Association, which Durst co-founded in the 1990s, began with 28 members and has grown to more than 600.

They charge from $37 for a six-month student membership to $137 per year for a regular member.

2. Medical transcriptionist

As Foster knows, being a medical transcriptionist is a demanding job, and nearly every company listed on her site seeks applicants with experience and/or training from certain schools.

The work involves listening to and typing up dictation from doctors — some of whom have thick accents, slur words, and even “eat, drink, chew gum (and) talk to other people in the room” while dictating, she says.

But hearing about medical matters can be interesting, and good transcriptionists are in very high demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2015 data, the median hourly rate for transcriptionists is $17.17.

3. Translator

People with fluency in more than one language translate audio files or documents, not just word for word, but often with cultural differences in mind.

“Companies can access home-based translators with hard-to-find language skills without being held back by geographic location,” says Sara Sutton Fell, CEO of FlexJobs.com, a website that aggregates hand-screened telecommuting/work-at-home jobs.

Foster’s site lists jobs for home-based translators. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook 2012-13, which groups translators and interpreters, notes a projected employment increase of 29 percent by 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations.

4. Web developer/designer

Information technology is the sector, Durst says, where most of the home-based hiring is being done. Terri Orlowski, a virtual assistant and web developer based in Pittsburgh, offers services such as custom website design, template modification and redesigns, code updates, hosting and usability reviews.

She previously held administrative positions in a variety of industries and makes a higher per-hour rate now. Out of the many new monthly work-from-home job postings on Upwork.com, web developers are in high demand, says former CEO Gary Swart.

5. Call center representative

When you call to order something from a catalog or infomercial, a big office with rows of cubicles may come to mind.

But the person on the other end of the line is likely to be sitting in a home office. “It’s a huge and growing industry,” Durst says of companies that hire independent contractors to take calls from home. She says the “home-shore movement” started in response to complaints about the many companies that looked offshore for workers.

While some websites such as Sykes Home actually hire representatives, most use subcontractors. Just be aware that the pay may be by the minute rather than by the hour, so you may not be paid for time you spend waiting by the phone. A list of companies that hire call center reps can be found at HomeWithTheKids.com.

6. Tech support specialist

Call centers also hire technical support specialists to work remotely. Kate Lister, co-author of “Undress for Success: The Naked Truth About Making Money at Home,” names it as one of her top three “best-bet work-at-home jobs.”

And according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, jobs for computer support specialists (on-site and remote combined) were expected to increase by 12 percent from 2014 to 2024 — faster than the average for all occupations — with 88,800 new jobs.

7. Travel agent

Scams abound in the travel industry — particularly organizations that charge for information on how to break into the field.

But operating a home-based travel agency can be an excellent business, says Tom Ogg, founder of HomeBasedTravelAgent.com. “Real home-based travel agents have experienced robust growth over the last decade, and there are probably 40,000-plus of them and growing.”

A growing (although small) number of people earn $100,000 or more a year, he says. “A solid business concept and plan focused on profitability will take you a long way to achieving your monetary goals.” There’s also the joy of helping others enjoy their leisure time.

8. Teacher

From postsecondary education to elementary schools, there are opportunities for students to learn virtually. Along with that comes opportunities to teach (and tutor) virtually.

While distance learning is not new, advanced technology, collaborative multimedia software designed for schools and high-speed Internet connections have created more opportunities for teachers and students to work together from afar, Fell says.

Durst has also noticed more teacher jobs being posted, and she knows of one professor who works mainly online and makes six figures — although income “depends on how many hours you’re applying to it and the type of classes you’re teaching.”

A resource center for online teaching jobs can be found at GetEducated.com.

9. Writer/editor

Yes, the print publishing industry has been suffering, but Durst is seeing frequent listings these days for writing, editing and proofreading, particularly for the internet.

Even those without writing experience can join the blogosphere. Not only can blogging be lots of fun, Foster says, but also there’s money to be earned blogging for someone else’s site, getting paid to post on your own blog or through revenue-sharing arrangements.

10. Franchise owner

It’s a no-brainer: Owning a business can be the road to at-home work. For an initial investment, franchises may offer a ready-made business with brand awareness, a system and a territory, says Leslie Truex, founder of the website WorkAtHomeSuccess.com.

Her advice: Consider businesses that target the over-50 crowd or the self-employed, involve health and wellness, relate to the “green” movement, or involve electronic or online devices (i.e., accessories, applications).

11. Social media manager

It’s becoming increasingly important for all types of businesses to have a presence on social media. So, if you have a knack for creating the perfect posts, you could make a living helping small-business owners with their social media marketing.

Depending on the type of business and work required, you could charge each client between $200 and $10,000 per month, according to Upwork.

12. Child care provider

If you have kids at home, providing child care can kill two birds with one stone: keep your own kids busy with friends and activities while earning money for providing care for others’ children.

Websites like Care.com and Sittercity help connect child care providers with parents who need a sitter. How much you earn will depend on how many kids you care for each day and the extent of that care.

Keep in mind, though, that your state may require licensing if you want to do this on a more official basis.

13. Graphic designer

If you have experience in designing logos or T-shirts, you could potentially make good money by offering that service to business owners who don’t have the skill set.

Websites like Upwork, Fiverr and 99designs can help you meet potential clients who need your services. How much you earn will depend on the scope of the project and your experience.

14. Short-term rental host

If you have an extra room in your home or apartment, consider renting it out on sites like Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway.

Beyond managing stays and interacting with your short-term tenants, there’s not much intensive work to this job. You can also decide how often you want to rent out your space and how much to charge.

The only caveat is that you need to stay competitive with similar short-term rentals in your area. So, do your research to attract vacationers while also making a decent return from each stay.

15. Website tester

You could earn up to $30 per hour through sites like UserTesting.com. All you would need to do is navigate different websites and mobile apps, perform a few tasks and share your thoughts in a video.

The only drawback is that you won’t have unlimited opportunities, so it could be good for side income but not as a full-time job.

Scam alert

When weighing any at-home job, put up the scam-detection radar. Durst suggests watching for these positive indicators of “real” employment:

  • The hirer is an established company.
  • The ad includes the company name and does not have applicants reply to a blind email address.
  • Human resources personnel are available for questions.
  • There is mention of information commonly associated with “real” employment (benefits, vacations, policies, etc.).
  • There is an application and interview process, not simply an emailed offer.
  • The employer can detail the job duties and expectations.
  • References/work samples are requested.

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