How to Find Work-From-Home Jobs That Go Beyond Writing and Customer Service

work from home
Eva Katalin Kondoros / Getty Images

I’m writing this article at home. No surprise there — writers can write anywhere, and I prefer to work right here in my sweatpants. From the response to my recent post on companies that hire home workers, it sounds like many of you would also love to make a living from the comfort of your home.

Of course, when you look over a list of the most common work-from-home opportunities, you might think you’re out of luck. You’ll see positions like medical coder, systems analyst, consultant, virtual assistant and customer service representative, and maybe they just don’t fit your skills or income needs.

But don’t give up yet! There’s more variety in home-based jobs than you realize.

For example, did you know you could be hired as a fish biologist and stay home much of the time? Or how about a full-time job as a physical education (PE) teacher — working from home! Those are just two of the many surprising work-at-home jobs I found in a search of online job sites. Let’s take a look at some of the others.

How to Find Unusual Work-at-Home Opportunities says it will “help you find the best flexible jobs available.” That flexibility can mean you work when you like or work only part time. It also can mean you get to work some or all of the time from home.

Searching “telecommuting,” on the site turns up some interesting results. This is where I found the fish biologist and high school PE teacher jobs. The biologist has to travel, but much of the work involves, “maintaining a database of statistics,” which can be done from home. The PE teacher gets to stay home all of the time, teaching online PE and health classes. Here are some of the other surprise work-at-home positions advertised in recent months:

  • Speech scientist
  • Sports analyst
  • Social worker
  • Psychologist
  • Historian
  • Beer ambassador
  • Litigation attorney
  • Regional gift advisor
  • Animal relocation manager

When the jobs listed allow applicants to work from home, the degree of telecommuting is noted, ranging from “some,” to “mostly,” to “all telecommuting.” The positions I’ve mentioned will likely be gone by the time you read this, but my search produced 1,400 jobs that offered at least some telecommuting, so you’ll probably still find enough variety.

Where to Find Work-at-Home Jobs

You can find many surprising work-at-home positions on other job-posting websites as well. Here are a few of the sites with the most jobs:

You can enter specific positions into the search fields, and then read through the descriptions of the resulting jobs to see if they offer the option of working at home. The other way to search is to simply enter keywords like these:

  • work at home
  • work from home
  • telecommute
  • telecommuting
  • home based
  • home workers

You can search with and without quotation marks, but on Simply Hired, “work at home” in quotes produced over 87,000 results. Clearly you won’t always have to search without the quotation marks, and in this case you would have over a million results to dig through if you searched without them.

Right away you’ll see the expected results, like “customer service rep,” “web developer” and “technical writer.” To find less-common work-at-home jobs, scroll through several pages of results and watch for titles that catch your attention.

For example, after searching “telecommute” at Snagajob, I had to search through five pages of ordinary results before finding the more interesting position of “fraud analyst” (your job would be to “design advanced analytical strategies that enhance fraud detection capabilities and recovery efforts.”)

Play around with different ways of searching, because each website has its own idiosyncrasies. For example, some sites (like Indeed and Snagajob) automatically put your zip code in the search, which may exclude all of the available telecommuting jobs, if none of those listings mention your location. Fortunately, you can delete the zip code and search without it.

For federal government jobs, check out A search using the keyword “work from home,” (don’t put it in quotes) gave me 1,890 results. Many of these positions allow you to work “from home,” but not necessarily “at home.” For example, they’re hiring nurses and physical therapists to work from a home base and travel to patients’ homes. Some positions allow most of your work to be done at home; a listing for a “motor carrier safety specialist” says, “This position may be a telecommute position working from home.”

Finally, don’t forget to check back right here. The Penny Hoarder will continue to report on unusual work-at-home jobs and other opportunities to make money without leaving the house.

Your Turn: Have you had a job that let you work from home?