As technology grows both more powerful and more portable, greater numbers of Americans are choosing to work from home — an employment trend that’s only been spurred by the COVID-19 outbreaks of 2020.
While there’s no question that the work from home “trend” is here to stay, the real question for job-seekers is, what are the most valuable skills for aspiring teleworkers to possess? Or, to frame that question another way, what are some of the best degrees that offer the opportunity to work from home? If you’ve been wondering about what types of industries or careers have the best economic prospects for remote workers, you’re in the right place. Keep reading to learn about some of the most popular careers for teleworkers — and the types of degrees you might need if you want to pursue them.
An Increase in Americans Working From Home
According to Global Workplace Analytics, roughly 4.7 million people, or about 3.4 percent of the U.S. workforce, spend at least half of the workweek working remotely, a figure that is likely to increase as lockdown and quarantine measures continue.
Meanwhile, a 2019 report by video conferencing company Owl Labs reveals that among over 1,200 full-time workers aged 22 to 65, approximately 62 percent — a total of 745 individuals — say they work from home “at any frequency,” compared to just 457 individuals, or about 38 percent, who exclusively work at their jobsite.
Perhaps these figures are unsurprising, considering the extraordinarily rapid growth of the remote workforce in recent years. For example, a recent survey by Flexjobs found that in the United States, the number of remote workers increased by as much as 22 percent from 2017 to 2018, growing by more than one-fifth in a single year. The same Flexjobs report revealed that, among more than 3,000 survey respondents, over 80 percent knew at least one person who worked remotely.
It’s clear that the demand for telework is climbing, even when you look at the numbers predating the COVID-19 pandemic.
What Are the Best Careers to Do from Home?
Some careers demand lots of hands-on work, such as becoming a construction worker, an auto mechanic, a massage therapist, or a professional chef. However, there are many industries that lend themselves to the prospect of telework. Here are a few different career paths to consider if a work-from-home environment appeals to you.
Remote IT and Computer Science Careers
The digital nature of IT makes jobs in this field ideal for teleworkers. With the right equipment and knowledge, most computing- and IT-related jobs can be performed from virtually anywhere — including your living room sofa. Even if you don’t live in Silicon Valley, you can still find exciting remote work in the tech sector once you’ve earned your degree.
So, what kind of work is available? There are numerous jobs you can pursue with a graduate or undergraduate degree in computer science. While a master’s degree in computer science can make your resume more competitive, and could potentially lead to higher-paying jobs, there are also plenty of profitable careers you can enter with a bachelor’s degree. For example, a bachelor’s degree in computer science can lead to remote work as a web developer, software developer, computer programmer, information security analyst, or network architect.
There is, however, one notable exception: you’ll generally need a master’s degree if you want to become a computer and information research scientist. This is a highly advanced occupation that involves inventing and testing original computing languages and software systems, then presenting your findings in academic journals and at conferences.
Teletherapy and Virtual Counseling Careers
Some forms of therapy, such as massage therapy or sports injury rehab, are physically-oriented and are generally performed in person. However, forms of therapy that focus on mental health, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), can be administered remotely once you’ve earned the appropriate credentials.
In fact, not only can certain types of therapy be provided online — the demand for teletherapy is actively growing. With COVID-19 forcing patients into lockdown — and rates of anxiety and depression skyrocketing — more people are turning to remote counseling for help. Many experts even predict that the demand for virtual therapy will outlast COVID-19, thanks to the convenience and flexibility it affords both patients and practitioners alike.
And it isn’t just anxiety or depression that teletherapy can help patients address, either. Specialists like speech and language pathologists (SLPs) can also work remotely, along with substance abuse counselors/addiction specialists, occupational therapists, and guidance counselors. In some cases, even physical therapy can be administered remotely with the aid of cameras.
Remote Teaching and Education Careers
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, many US states are grappling with the question of whether — and when — to reopen public schools. Private, parochial, and charter schools are impacted to varying degrees.
As the debate rages on, many school districts have adapted by adopting virtual models for learning, streaming lessons through platforms like Zoom, Skype, and Blackboard. With the demand for distance education increasing — not only within K-12 school systems, but also colleges and universities — so, too, is the demand for teachers who can work remotely. That includes online elementary school teachers, middle school teachers, high school teachers, ESL teachers, special education teachers, and college professors.
Online Degrees that Allow You to Work from Home
Below, you’ll find several examples of college degrees that can open the door to stable and lucrative telework. Whether you’re interested in providing teletherapy, performing remote IT work, or teaching from home, here are the types of degrees or credentials you’ll need to enter (or advance within) your field of choice.
Online Computer Science Degrees
Computer science is a rapidly expanding field that deals with every aspect of IT, from cybersecurity and software development to coding, programming, and even game development. National University offers two computer science programs: an undergraduate program where students earn their Bachelor of Science in Computer Science (BSCS), and a graduate program where students earn their Master of Science in Computer Science (MSCS).
Related degrees at NU include the Bachelor of Science in Information Systems (BSIS), which teaches students how to design and implement organizational systems across industries like healthcare, criminal justice, and business.
Online Counseling and Psychology Degrees
The type of degree you will need to become a counselor depends on what sort of career track you wish to explore. For example, most clinical therapists earn either a Ph.D. in psychology, or a Doctor of Psychology degree (“Psy.D.”).
However, if you’re looking for a less intensive alternative, there are also many careers you can explore with a master’s degree in psychology, such as psychotherapist (subject to your state’s unique rules), drug and alcohol specialist, employment counselor, rehabilitation counselor, behavioral counselor, or child protection worker. A bachelor’s degree in psychology will help to prepare you to earn your master’s degree.
NU offers a range of certificates and degrees in psychology, including the Master of Science in Applied Behavioral Analysis, the Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology, and the Undergraduate Certificate in Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling. Or, if you prefer to focus on working with children and teenagers, consider pursuing a Master of Science in School Psychology.
Online Teaching Degrees and Credentials
Depending on the type of teacher or administrator you want to become, you can pursue a range of accredited online programs to prepare you for your area of specialization Through the Sanford College of Education, NU offers certificates, credentials, and degrees in special education, teacher education, and educational leadership.
Work from Home with a Master’s Degree, Bachelor’s Degree, or Teaching Certificate from National University
Telework is more than just a passing fad or trend — it’s a major part of the US economy that’s growing larger by the day. Get ahead of the curve and launch a rewarding at-home career by earning your degree, certificate, or credential from National University.
We offer more than 75 accredited degree programs, including over 45 programs that can be completed 100% online, all in a unique four-week format that challenges students to excel under pressure.