So you’re a stay-at-home mom or dad who wants – or perhaps needs – to bring in a paycheck. Great! A variety of factors have made flexible jobs and careers that cater to adults with families a reality. The ubiquity of the Internet, the skyrocketing popularity of social media, the ease of telecommuting, and the critical need for certain healthcare and technology professionals means that stay-at-home parents can work and take care of their children. But which occupations are best suited to this lifestyle?
Here are four in-demand careers that are ideal for working moms and dads:
1. Internet marketing. A field that barely existed 10 years ago, Internet marketing is now widely seen as the cutting-edge career in sales and advertising. In addition to basic marketing skills and Internet competency, knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM) and social media is essential for success in this occupation.
Many Internet marketing professionals are freelance SEO/SEM specialists, a job that allows you to work from home and set your own hours. If you choose to become a regular full-time employee of a company you may still have the option to telecommute, since almost all of your work can be completed online.
A graduate certificate in Internet marketing , which takes about 6-12 months to complete, is the standard education required to enter this field. However, more colleges and universities are now offering specialized bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Internet marketing, which goes to show how popular the profession is becoming.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-2011 estimates that overall job growth for advertising, marketing, promotions, public relations, and sales managers will increase by 13% through 2018.* The BLS does not currently maintain specific data for Internet marketing professionals, though this is likely to change as the occupation gains prominence.
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2. Medical assisting. One of the fastest-growing careers in the nation, medical assistants perform clerical tasks in hospitals and physician’s offices. This usually includes billing, filing, scheduling and helping patients fill out paperwork. Medical assistants sometimes also assist with routine healthcare work, such as administering diagnostic tests and recording vital signs.
Medical assistants do not work from home, but part-time employment is generally available since demand is so widespread. If you have school-age children, this can allow you to work morning and early afternoon hours, then be done in time to take care of the kids after school.
The standard credentials for this field are a Certificate in Medical Assisting or an Associate of Science (AS) in Medical Assisting. Typical coursework involves basic anatomy and physiology, medical terminology and ethics, office operations and patient relations, and first aid and CPR.
According to the 2010-2011 edition of the Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment of medical assistants is expected to grow 34% through 2018.*
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3. Medical transcription. Medical transcriptionists take dictated recordings made by healthcare professionals and transcribe them into official medical reports. Because both dictation and record-keeping are increasingly done via electronic means, familiarity with computers and the Internet is now almost essential for medical transcriptionists.
The biggest benefit that this industry offers to working parents is that telecommuting is extremely common. Many transcriptionists work at home, both receiving dictation and returning transcribed documents to clients over the Internet. Of the many flexible jobs and careers available to full-time parents, this one probably offers the most consistency and security.
Entering this field requires either a one-year certificate program or a two-year associate’s degree in medical transcription. Both prepare you to earn the registered medical transcriptionist (RMT) and certified medical transcriptionist (CMT) credentials once you have the appropriate level of workplace experience. Whether you select a certificate or degree program, it is recommended that you attend a medical transcription school that is accredited by the Approval Committee for Certificate Programs (ACCP).
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-2011 projects 11% job growth for medical transcriptionists through 2018.*
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4. Web design. Web designers – now often called interactive graphic designers – create websites for individuals, businesses and other organizations that want a presence on the Internet. There are hundreds of millions of active websites today, and that number is only growing. HTML skills are essential for web designers, and knowledge of other markup languages and applications (such as XML and XHTML) can be important as well.
Many professionals in this field are freelance web designers, a job that allows you to work from home and set your own hours. If you choose to become a regular full-time employee of a company you may still have the option to telecommute, since all you usually need to do your work is a fast and reliable Internet connection.
Good computer skills, some artistic talent and a web development associate’s degree is typically enough to get you started in this field.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook classifies web design as part of the “Computer Network, Systems and Database Administrators” job category, for which it predicts 30% growth through 2018.*
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*BLS job growth statistics, accessed September 2011, reflect national trends and may vary between states.