5 Flexible Career Choices


Want some flexibility with your work schedule? See careers with telecommuting options.

By Chris Kyle   

Want some flexibility with your work schedule? To the cloud!

Cloud-computing refers to the ability to share files and applications via the internet.

Cloud-working, meanwhile, is a new way to describe an old career trend that is surging in popularity: telecommuting.

"We've seen a 400 percent increase in telecommuting job openings over the last three years," says Sara Sutton-Fell, founder and CEO of FlexJobs, a subscription job search site.

Would you like a career with a more flexible work schedule? Keep reading to see which careers often offer convenient telecommuting options.

Flexible Career #1 - Medical and Health

Medical and health care opportunities lead all other flexible and telecommuting career categories in job listings, according to a May 2011 FlexJobs survey. Newer innovations like digital images have led to an increase in opportunities for everyone from nurses to health care support workers to work offsite via an internet connection and telephone.

How to Prepare: Studying medical assisting in a certificate or associate's degree program is a common way to prepare for a career as a medical assistant, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. For nurses, earning your associate's or bachelor's degree in nursing is recommended.

Average Earning Potential for Medical and Health Careers:*

  • Medical Assistants: $29,760
  • Medical Transcriptionists: $33,530
  • Registered Nurses: $67,720

Want to Pursue a Career in the Medical Field?
Search for Nursing and Medical Assisting Programs Now

Flexible Career #2 - Sales

In sales, your numbers refer to your productivity and your performance is what could ultimately define you and your career. Do your job well and you may be able to pick and choose where you work. In fact, many sales reps have the freedom to determine their own schedules, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

How to Prepare: Sales reps with a college degree have the best job prospects, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Recommended degrees include sales, marketing, and business administration.

Average Earning Potential for Sales Careers:*

  • Sales Reps: $60,430
  • Sales Reps (Wholesale and Manufacturing): $62,720
  • Sales Reps (Wholesale and Manufacturing, Technical and Scientific): $84,360

Want to Pursue a Sales Career Path?
Find the Right Business School for You Now!

Flexible Career #3 - Online Teaching and Tutoring

The proliferation of online schools has led to an increase in demand for online teachers, according to Sutton-Fell, who also mentions tutoring as a possible telecommuting career option. Many lessons are posted in advance, though some classes involve real-time lecturing via a headset and webcam. Online teaching and tutoring opportunities could also serve as potential second and third jobs that you can fit around work and family responsibilities.

How to Prepare: You'll need a bachelor's degree, at a minimum, and often a graduate-level degree in the area you want to teach could be necessary, particularly if you plan to teach at a college or university, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. To teach public school, you need your teacher certification. For tutors, any degrees and certification you earn could help you build up your resume to attract clients.

Average Earning Potential for Teaching and Tutoring Careers:*

  • Adult Basic and Secondary Education and Literacy Teachers and Instructors: $51,080
  • Postsecondary Communications Teachers: $67,820
  • Postsecondary Computer Science Teachers: $78,190

Explore Your Options in Teaching - Find Education Degree Programs

Flexible Career #4 - Customer Service and Support

Working from home is becoming more common for customer service reps, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, which describes it as one of the largest occupations in the country. For those who work in a call center, the Department of Labor says there are many part-time and split shift customer service opportunities available.

How to Prepare: While it is possible to get hired with just a high school diploma, customer service reps with an associate's or bachelor's degree could have better odds of finding a job, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, which recommends taking computer-related courses or studying English and business.

Average Earning Potential for Customer Service and Support Careers:*

  • Administrative Support Workers: $32,600
  • Customer Service Reps: $32,780
  • Computer Support Specialists: $49,930

Search for Technology Support Programs

Flexible Career #5 - Web & Software Development

Working in the cloud-computing industry is a great way to use the "cloud" to work where and when you want. Whether you are designing applications and networks or developing software, a laptop may be all that's required in this flexible career choice.

How to Prepare: Having a degree or certificate can help demonstrate to employers that you are qualified for this type of work. The U.S. Department of Labor recommends studying subjects like computer science, engineering, programming & software, network administration, and database technology.

Average Earning Potential for Web & Software Development Careers:*

  • Network Systems Administrators: $72,200
  • Computer Programmers: $74,900
  • Computer Support Specialists: $49,930

Find the Right School and Explore Your Technology Degree Options

*All average income info comes from the Occupational Employment Statistics by the U.S. Department of Labor using average May 2010 earnings.

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