Careers for People Who Prefer to Work Alone


Are you looking for a job that offers plenty of alone time? Keep reading to learn more about six careers that don't require rubbing elbows or schmoozing.

By Terence Loose

When you visit the office water cooler, do you prefer to talk to yourself? Do you tend to spell "team" with a "me" on the end?

We get it. You don't exactly hate having co-workers, but you do feel more at ease when they're not around all the time.

In short, you prefer to work alone, which makes finding the right career fit pretty important.

"Some people are much more comfortable working alone," says Suzanne Anthony, a clinical psychologist. "You spend a large part of your life at work, so you want it to be a place where you are comfortable," she adds.

So if your goal is to make the office that place where you go for some quality "me" time, check out these six solo-friendly career options.

Career #1: Medical Records and Health Information Technician

If you want to help others for a living, but prefer a more behind-the-scenes role, consider preparing to pursue a career in medical records and health information technology.

In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor says that these workers generally spend many hours in front of computer screens.

That's because technicians are typically in charge of documenting and managing patients' health information, like medical histories, test results, symptoms, and insurance information, adds the Department of Labor.

Sounds like a pretty people-free job, right?

Click to Find the Right Health Information Technology Program.

Education options: Eager to learn more about working with health data? Technicians usually need a postsecondary certificate or associate's degree in health information technology to get started in this field, according to the Department. In addition, many employers could require professional certification.

Career #2: Accountant

Perhaps you've heard the saying "numbers don't lie." Well, that's probably because they're not people. And since numbers are what accountants generally deal with, this might be a great career for those who need some people-free time.

Don't take our word for it, though. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, accountants generally inspect, organize, and manage financial records to make sure they are accurate and comply with laws and regulations. In addition, they could calculate taxes owed and prepare tax returns.

So ask yourself, the last time you balanced your checking account or did your taxes, how many people wanted to help? Odds are you answered "none."

Click to Find the Right Accounting Program.

Education options: Got your sights set on pursuing a career as an accountant? Know this: The Department of Labor says most accountant positions require at least a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field. Of course, some employers like to see a master's degree in accounting or in business administration with an accounting concentration, adds the Department.

Related Degree:*

Career #3: Computer Programmer

In Stanley Kubrick's classic movie "2001: A Space Odyssey," a spaceship is controlled by HAL 9000, a computer with a mind of its own. While that's still a figment of Hollywood's imagination, computer programming is probably still a good choice for workers seeking a people-free zone.

Why? Because computer programmers essentially tell computers how to function - and we're guessing that's pretty much a one-way conversation.

As for the general responsibilities, the U.S. Department of Labor notes that computer programmers often write code to turn the program designs of software developers and engineers into instructions the computer will follow. You might also spend your time debugging and testing programs.

Click to Find the Right Computer Science Program.

Education options: Most computer programmers have a degree in computer science or a related field, according to the Department of Labor. And while a majority of programmers earn a bachelor's degree, the Department says that some employers will hire candidates with an associate's.

Career #4: Survey Researcher

If you've got an inquisitive mind, a solo-friendly career as a survey researcher could be the right fit for you.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, these are usually the workers who design and conduct surveys and then analyze the collected data for everything from scientific to marketing research. In fact, survey researchers could cover a wide array of fields, such as government, health, education, and social sciences, says the Department of Labor.

And good news for solitary types: the Department says survey researchers often work alone when they're designing surveys and analyzing data.

Click to Find the Right Psychology Program.

Education options: Survey researchers could have a bachelor's degree in various fields such as psychology, business, and political science, according to the Department. Technical and advanced positions may require a master's degree, says the Department, which adds that some survey researchers choose degree programs in survey research, survey methodology, or marketing research, while others earn a master's in business administration.

Related Degrees:*

Career #5: Graphic Designer

Are you a creative type who loves spending quality alone time on your computer? A career as a graphic designer could be the solo act opportunity you're looking for.

Graphic designers are the guys and gals that might get to listen to their iPod for creative inspiration at work. And what is that work? According to the U.S. Department of Labor, graphic designers could choose everything from colors and images to text styles and layouts for brochures, ads, websites, and more.

And while it's true that graphic designers often work as part of a team, many designers work independently. And some even telecommute, says the Department of Labor. So, theoretically, you could be a world away from your fellow workers.

Click to Find the Right Graphic Design Program.

Education options: Ready to get your graphic design groove on? The Department says that a bachelor's degree in graphic design or a related field is generally required. "However, those with a bachelor's degree in another field may pursue technical training in graphic design to meet hiring qualifications," adds the Department.

Career #6: Market Research Analyst

Are you fascinated by what people want or need but don't necessarily want to be around them yourself? Consider pursuing a career as a market research analyst.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, these are the people who comb through research data to define what products and services consumers want and what they will pay for them. Common duties could include monitoring sales trends, keeping track of how their company's competitors are doing, and preparing reports about their findings - without an overabundance of face-to-face time.

Click to Find the Right Computer Science Program.

Education options: Ready to research? The Department of Labor says that market research analysts typically need a bachelor's degree in market research or a related field. And "many have degrees in fields such as statistics, math, or computer science," adds the Department.

But note that many research analyst positions require a master's degree, especially for leadership positions or jobs with more technical research, according to the Department. In fact, many analysts complete degrees in fields like marketing or earn a master's in business administration.

Related Degrees:*

*All related degrees information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, at (visited August 22, 2012).

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