The novel coronavirus outbreak has devastated the U.S. job market. Since President Donald Trump declared this global pandemic a national emergency in mid-March, over 30 million people have filed for jobless benefits for the first time. Economists predict the unemployment rate will hit double digits for April.
But hope remains. As shelter-in-place restrictions keep most nonessential workers home, opportunities for remote work have been growing. Brie Reynolds, career development manager for FlexJobs — an online job market specializing in flexible and remote work — says the site saw a 4 percent increase in remote job listings in March, compared with February. Plus, with so many jobs shifting home, any stigma against employing remote workers is easing. “Overall, companies seem to be pleasantly surprised at how well remote work is working for them,” Reynolds says. “So that's great. It is providing good solutions right now.”
And working from home, in many ways, might be the smartest solution for older workers who tend to be more susceptible to severe cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus. The good news is you can find an array of work-from-home jobs across all industries and at varying experience levels. Here are 19 work-from-home jobs currently hiring. Estimated hourly pay is based on data from employers, PayScale.com and other sources.
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Average hourly pay: $9 to $23
Everyone's homeschooled now, and teachers who can work remotely are in demand. Whether you're looking to teach full time or part time, kindergarten or grad school, computer science or shoe tying, you can share your knowledge and talents by teaching online.
Pay can vary widely, depending on what exactly you teach. For example, the median hourly pay is about $15 an hour for an elementary school teacher and $33 an hour for a postsecondary professor, according to PayScale. Outschool, a marketplace for online classes, says its teachers make $30 to $40 an hour, on average.
2. Telehealth Nurse
Who's hiring: Forward
Average hourly pay: $19 to $42
Telehealth had been growing in popularity before the coronavirus hit the U.S. and has gotten an extra boost in demand as the health care system has been inundated with COVID-19 patients. Some employers are looking to hire full-time telehealth nurses to answer questions specifically about COVID-19 and help manage the current health care crisis from the safety of their own homes. Other opportunities are available for part-timers. Just be sure to check on licensing requirements. For example, the telemedicine nurse practitioner position with Forward requires a license in California, New York or Washington, D.C. (Bonus points for applicants licensed to practice in more than one of those places.)
Average hourly pay: $10 to $27
If you can listen and type, you can be a transcriptionist. Some positions, such as in the medical field, may prefer applicants with technical knowledge of the subject matter. But plenty of opportunities — including those at Literably (a reading assessment service for students from kindergarten through eighth grade) and Pactera Technologies (a global digital consulting firm) — require no prior experience and provide on-the-job training.
At Literably, you'd be transcribing audio files of children reading, complete with their mistakes. Applicants must not be or work from California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska or New Jersey. Pactera is seeking native speakers to transcribe television shows in various languages, including English, Spanish, French, Polish and Thai.
Who's hiring: Various companies
Average pay: Commensurate with experience
Step back from the full-time grind and try offering your knowledge and skills as an independent consultant. This can be a particularly attractive move for pre-retirees in a variety of industries hoping to ease into retirement, as it lets you trim back your hours as you see fit but maintain your senior-level pay rate if you stick with your area of expertise. You might even be able to talk to your current employer about transitioning a full-time position into a contract role. Otherwise, a number of online job boards — such as Upwork and FlexJobs — and staffing agencies — such as Wahve (which specializes in working with pre-retirees) and Robert Half — can help connect you with clients.
Pay can vary greatly, depending on your level of experience and area of expertise. For example, management consultants, who help organizations identify strategies to increase efficiency, can make anywhere from $17 to $170 an hour, on average, according to PayScale. RenoFi, an online marketplace for home renovation loans, is seeking renovation project consultants to review and report on the feasibility of residential construction projects. The job listing does not specify pay rates but notes that ideal candidates may have worked previously as a general contractor, a position that pays an average $15 to $63 an hour, according to PayScale.
Average hourly pay: $12 to $25
Keep your accounting expertise at home and provide your services virtually. AccountingDepartment.com is hiring accounting professionals for a variety of full-time and fully remote positions that come complete with health insurance, a 401(k) plan and paid vacation time. Beech Valley Solutions is seeking hourly contract accounting pros for ongoing work. Bonus: Bookkeeper tops our list of the 25 best part-time jobs for retirees.
6. Virtual Assistant
Who's hiring: Boldly
Average hourly pay: $10 to $28
Provide administrative support from the comfort of your own home and schedule. Virtual assistants can perform a range of services, from scheduling and email management to social media strategizing and event planning. And you can seek to do it full time via an agency or independently on a gig-by-gig basis. Boldly is a staffing agency hiring full-time assistants to work from home in 23 states. Or you can post your services on freelance job boards such as FreeUp and Upwork to connect with potential clients directly.
7. Focus Group Participant
Average hourly pay: $1 to $75
Get paid to share your opinions. While it's not exactly a job, participating in surveys and focus groups can be an easy way to pick up a bit of extra cash — in some cases, a very little bit. Pay for some surveys can amount to as little as $1 an hour, according to SideHusl, a website that vets opportunities to make money on the side. But other opportunities can be more lucrative: Current offerings on FindFocusGroups.com and focusgroup.com pay $25 to $275 and $50 to $180 a pop, respectively.
Average hourly pay: $10 to $39
These workers translate the written or the spoken word, depending on the position. At CyraCom (which is currently seeking Swahili interpreters), you'd staff the phones and assist people communicating with doctors, insurance agents and even 9-1-1 operators. Translate.com offers work on a gig-by-gig basis, which can give you more flexibility. Just note that all gigs are first come, first served and can pay less than a penny per word.
9. Mock Juror
Average pay: $5 to $60 per trial
Finally, you can get paid for your love of true-crime stories. Mock jurors assist lawyers (and their clients) by reviewing legal cases and offering their feedback on how they'd rule. Like participating in focus groups, you can't exactly make a career of this. Some mock jurors report getting just one case every six months, if that, according to SideHusl. Still, it's an interesting opportunity to earn extra cash from home with zero prior experience. (And it pays more than you'd get watching another Law and Order marathon.)
Average hourly pay: $10 to $50
Got a penchant for wordplay? The ability to string a sentence together can land you a work-from-home job in a wide range of industries, whether you're a rookie writer or a seasoned pro. Of course, the more experience you have, the greater your pay potential. Expertise in a certain field — be it sports, parenting, personal finance, technology or science — can also help boost your prospects, as well as narrow your job search.
In addition to the full-time opportunities currently available at Contently and NerdWallet, you can search the many job sites focused on freelance writers, including ProBlogger.com, nDash and Scripted. You can also try pitching ideas directly to newspapers, magazines and other publications.
11. Customer Service Representative
Average hourly pay: $10 to $19
Make your home a one-person call center. You can assist customers by phone for a variety of businesses in a wide range of industries, from retail to health care to technology and everything in between. You may even be able to give your voice a rest and provide your services online, helping clients via email or online chat.
Although these jobs are work-from-home, you may have to live in a certain state to do them. And while certain jobs are currently remote due to stay-at-home restrictions, they may require workers to return to the office when it's safe. So be sure to check the fine print before applying.
12. Contact Tracer
Average hourly pay: $18 to $24
Like “social distancing,” “contact tracer” may be a term you’d never heard of before 2020, but now seems to be everywhere. These disease detectives track down all the people who an infected person has been in contact with recently and let them know about their exposure, as well as what they should do next to prevent spreading the coronavirus further. Contact tracing is considered to be a key step in overcoming the pandemic, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.
That puts contact tracers in high demand. In fact, a recent report from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health estimates that the nation needs about 100,000 new contact tracers to help manage the COVID-19 outbreak. But you can still expect the competition to be fierce for this remote position. Education and work experience requirements vary by employer, but the CDC’s job posting specifies that at least a high school diploma is required, and a bachelor’s degree is preferred. Otherwise, the major requirements include strong communication abilities — you’ll spend most of your time on the phone closely following a script — computer skills and empathy. Being multilingual may help boost your chances of getting hired. Training is provided. (Even if you’re not planning to be a contact tracer, you can take a free online six-hour training course developed by Johns Hopkins, just to learn more about COVID-19.)
13. SEO Specialist
Average hourly pay: $12 to $28
Help businesses move up in online search results using your search engine optimization (SEO) skills. SEO experts review and analyze websites, identifying content and design issues that could be dragging them down and providing solutions for improvement. Many companies are seeking to fill this kind of position with full-time, part-time and contract workers.
14. Claims Investigator
Average hourly pay: $14 to $28
Put your sleuthing skills to work. Claims investigators perform in-depth online and database research to assess the legitimacy of an individual's unemployment or insurance claim. The level of education and experience required varies by position, with senior roles possibly requiring specialized degrees. For example, applicants for Anthem's senior clinical fraud investigator must have an associate degree in nursing, current certification as a certified professional coder or both.
15. Speech Language Pathologist
Average hourly pay: $30 to $54
Teachers aren't the only ones migrating from shuttered schools to remote work. Speech language pathologists work with K-12 students to identify communication disorders and develop individualized education plans to address their needs. And with schools currently practicing remote learning, school districts are seeking remote workers to provide this important specialized service via teletherapy. Some opportunities are available immediately to serve for the remainder of this school year, while others may begin before fall. You must have proper licensure for the state in which you'll work.
16. Fundraising Coordinator
Average hourly pay: $10 to $24
Help raise money for the causes you believe in. You can take on a full-time entry-level job that requires you to communicate directly with potential or existing donors. Or if you have the experience, you can snag a more senior-level position, such as the grants and development manager job at MedGlobal, which requires proven grant writing and fundraising strategy development abilities.
17. School Psychologist
Average hourly pay: $25 to $70
Schools aren't just for book learning; they also provide a safe haven for students where professionals can help assess and promote their well-being. School psychologists work with K-12 students to identify and address any academic struggles, learning disabilities, and behavioral and emotional issues. And with schools currently practicing remote learning, school districts are seeking remote workers to provide this important specialized service via teletherapy. Some opportunities are available immediately to serve for the remainder of this school year, while others may begin before the fall. You must have proper licensure for the state in which you'll work.
18. Sales Agent
The salesman didn't die; he's just working from home. Companies across a range of industries, from financial to tech to health care, are looking for star salespeople with various levels of experience (and a license to sell, if necessary) to push their products and services from a remote location. Some higher-level positions may even manage a sales team. Many of the opportunities may require some travel once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
19. Software Engineer
Average hourly pay: $19 to $62
Technology workers should be able to find a plethora of work-from-home opportunities. In addition to full-time listings with the above employers and staffing agencies, you can find freelance gigs for software engineers and developers via online marketplaces, such as FreeUp, Remote and Upwork.
Editor’s note: This article was updated with new information on contact tracers.