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5 careers you can manage from home

5 careers you can manage from home

More companies than ever are now allowing their employees to work from home instead of gathering at a central office. According to Telework Research Network, telecommuting grew 73 percent from 2005 to 2011. Not only can telecommuting save money for the employer, but employee job satisfaction may be increased. Telecommuting also lowers the impact traditional commuting has on the environment -- just consider today's record-high gas prices, rush-hour traffic and long commutes. Telecommuting job sites such as Flex Jobs and the Rat Race Rebellion offer job postings and other resources for those interested in telecommuting employment.

The Telework Research Network reports that more than 3 million full-time employees worked primarily at home in 2011. Generally, creative and knowledge-based fields like design, writing and information technology are the most common occupations where freelancers are found working from home offices. However, a growing number of historically hands-on jobs, such as business and health care, are becoming more available. While you might think that telecommuting would decline during a recession, it actually grew by 11.4 percent from 2008 to 2011. Learn more about telecommuting jobs, including some that may surprise you.

Teaching

The trend of online schools, from colleges to elementary schools, has opened opportunities for educators to teach and tutor virtually. Multimedia software designed for schools and high-speed Internet connections have created more opportunities for teachers and students to work together from afar. Good oral and written communication skills are certainly needed, as well as knowledge of computers and the ability to motivate students.

Writing

Although the print publishing industry has taken a hit due to the volume of content available online, writers and editors are keeping up with the times working for online sites. Writers often work at their own pace from home or a cafe, while always keeping an eye on deadlines. Even those without a writing degree can blog about their expertise or experiences. Not only can blogging be fun, but some companies are willing to pay writers to blog on their sites or through revenue-sharing arrangements on the bloggers' own sites. You must be Internet savvy and up-to-date on current events and trends, an have the ability to market yourself to drive traffic to your site.

IT & Web Development

Computer and IT telecommuting rose 6.05 percent in the last quarter of 2011. Computer support specialists provide help and support to people using computer software and equipment. Technology allows these professionals to access others' desktops remotely, which means they can work from just about anywhere. Web developers design and create websites, and most of this work can be done remotely as well. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, new jobs for computer support specialists will rise 18 percent from 2010-2020 (BLS.gov, 2012). Job growth for web developers is expected to be faster than average at 22 percent during this same time frame (BLS.gov, 2012).

Social Media Marketing

The Internet plays a key role in business these days, and social media is the latest platform to be recognized. Social media marketers gain website traffic or attention through social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube. Marketers can track measurable success for companies via a wide array of analytical tools and create ways to drive audiences to these websites through advertising or search engine keyword placement -- all while telecommuting.

Medical & Health

Medical transcriptionists listen to dictation by physicians and other health professionals, and then convert those files into written reports. While medical transcriptionists work at hospitals and physician offices, many work from home, receiving dictation files and submitting the finished document electronically. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 15.1 percent of medical transcriptionists worked from home in 2010.

At first glance, a hands-on job like nursing would not be adaptable to telecommuting. However, there are numerous types of work-at-home jobs for nurses. Nurses may work in telephone triage, helping to evaluate patients' health concerns over the phone as case managers in the insurance field.

With more companies offering remote jobs, technology makes it easier to correspond with videoconferencing and file sharing. Keep in mind, however, a telecommuting job is still a job. You must be disciplined to work, and realize there's more to telecommuting than sipping coffee in pink fuzzy slippers. Motivation, job skills and the ability to work independently are important for at-home workers. There is no gathering around the water cooler or wandering over to a co-worker's cubicle to brainstorm on a new project in telecommuting. With its pros and cons, telecommuting is an alternative for those willing to put in the work and reap the rewards.