Six Top Training Programs... Learn More, Earn More!

From home inspection to massage, you’ve got lots of choices when it comes to building your work-from-home career! Here is a selection to get you started!


Working at home can be exhilarating. The sense of liberation is palpable: you pack the kids off to school, sit down at your desk, and work. No commute, no boss other than yourself, and lots of freedom to schedule your life. It's a dream come true! After some time, though, that thrill may wear thin as you find yourself facing the basic reality of working at home: just like working anywhere else, the entry level jobs available to many first-time workers often don't pay very well and offer limited opportunities. If you're looking for a way to break through this barrier and turn that at-home job into an at-home career, training is one of your most effective options.

When most of us think of training and education, we think of college degrees. A degree is a useful thing to have in the job market, but there are many field-specific training programs that take less time, cost less money, and still have the potential to increase your employability and earnings. In many cases, you can train online without leaving your home - on your schedule - a bonus for at-home workers.

Most quality training programs require an investment of time and money, so before making a commitment, you'll want to be sure that you want to work in the field involved. That means doing your research, and ideally doing some work in the field, even at a lower earning level. It's necessary to be certain that it's something you want to do. Here are a few fields where affordable, accessible education can give you a real earnings boost!

Medical Transcriptionist

Jobs in healthcare are known for their stability: the baby boom is over, and that keeps the healthcare industry busy. Medical transcriptionists use specialized software and dictation equipment to transcribe medical reports, doctor's notes, and other medical documents for doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies. There are many companies that hire trained medical transcriptionists, often for home-based positions. Similarly, many transcriptionists find work in a freelance capacity as independent contractors, working directly with clients who may be local or sourced from online job boards and other locations.

Medical transcriptionist training programs are affordable, usually ranging from $1,000 to $2,000 for a basic certification program. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes the median pay for medical transcriptionists in 2017 was $16.95 per hour, which is not too shabby for a regular part-time gig.

Medical Coding and Billing

Like medical transcription, medical coding and billing is also a lucrative job for work-at-home contractors. A diploma program in coding and billing prepares the student for working in a variety of medical office and hospital settings, processing forms that doctors and other providers use when billing patients' insurance companies. Medical coding and billing is a stable profession, and opportunities for part-time work abound.

Training for medical coding and billing runs from $800 to $2,000, depending on whether the program is taken online or in-person. Coders and billers make a median wage of around $18.12 per hour, as of 2017, notes the BLS.

Tax Preparer

Although seasonal by nature, tax preparer jobs can be quite lucrative. Tax preparers fill out tax forms for individual taxpayers and businesses, and they often do so from home. It is possible to start your own business as a tax preparer or find work online as an independent contractor. In fact, many of the large online tax prep companies hire tax preparers to assist with seasonal workflow.

Requirements for certification vary by state: Some require an 80-hour course and completion of a certification exam. Course costs vary widely but most run less than $1,000. Tax preparers bring home around $22.67 an hour, notes the BLS, as of 2017.

Home Inspector

Becoming a home inspector is one route to boosting your income. Home inspectors are hired by potential homebuyers, sellers, realtors, and banks to inspect properties before sale. Most home inspectors work as freelancers, growing a client base by networking with local lenders and real estate professionals.

Training for home inspectors may be offered in a classroom setting at local community colleges, or you can opt to take one of several legitimate distance learning courses available online. Coursework ranges from 80- to 130-hour classes, depending on the requirements in your area. The cost varies; expect to pay $1,000 to $3,000 on average. In return, the average home inspector usually earns $450 and up, making the expense worthwhile.

Massage Therapist

More and more people realize the benefits of massage therapy, which has led to an uptick in demand for freelance massage therapists. While it is possible to get a traditional job as a massage therapist, those who work from home running their small businesses make home visits to offer their services.

A massage therapist certificate can help you get started in this field, often in a matter of months. Some states regulate the requirements for massage therapy training, while others do not. Those that do, stipulate requirements. The student must take a specified number of training hours at an average cost of $3,000 to $4,000. In states that do not have specific requirements, the cost and time commitment is significantly less. The BLS notes that the median pay for massage therapists as of 2017 is $19.23 per hour.

TEFL - Teaching English as a Foreign Language

A TEFL certificate opens up opportunities for passionate people who want to help others learn to speak, read, and write English. While the bulk of opportunities for people holding TEFL certification are in foreign countries, there is also a market for these positions locally and online. Online delivery of English education courses has caused an upshot in work-from-home TEFL positions.

The typical TEFL certification course runs anywhere from $900 to $3,000, depending on the course provider. Courses run from four to sixteen weeks, and many are available online. Once certified, pay for TEFL certificate holders varies widely, with minimum hourly rates ranging from $15 to $40.

Detecting Scams

While there are many legitimate courses out there that provide genuine training and lead to certifications that are accepted by employers and clients, not all are equal. It's a foolhardy decision to go with a program without thoroughly checking the program to discern its legitimacy. Be wary of programs that:

• Leads to a certificate that is not recognized in the industry

• Is unaccredited or unaffiliated with a professional association

• Sounds too good to be true; i.e., lets you finish a lengthy program in weeks

• Is the focus of complaints with the Better Business Bureau

• Is delivered by a vendor with a focus on its product, such as a software company selling medical transcription courses

While scams abound, especially in online training programs, there are many completely above-board opportunities out there, so do your research and legwork to find a program that fits your budget, goals, and available time. The investment of time and money can lead you to a long term home-based career!