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They set their own schedules. They do things their own way. They have no commute. They often make more money than you do for similar work, and they sometimes do it in their underwear.

We’re talking about freelancers. Independent work is the latest craze in the American workforce, with about 34 percent of workers engaging in some sort of freelance work.

“The way we define work is continuing to change, and freelance work is increasingly – and deservedly – being taken seriously as a viable, professional career option,” says Sara Sutton Fell, CEO and founder of FlexJobs, a company that aims to connect freelancers with reliable remote work. “Freelance jobs can be a win-win for both companies and professionals, as [they] help companies connect to the best talent for their projects and manage their staffing commitments in a more nimble way, while in turn allowing professionals to have more control over their careers, schedules, and workloads.”

And while freelancing isn’t just for writers and photographers anymore, that doesn’t mean you can freelance in any old career field. Those seeking to cash in on the freelance trend should pay close attention to the following five areas in which freelancers are heavily in demand, according to FlexJobs:

1. Medical and Health

In the age of technology, counselors, doctors, and nurses can give advice through online chats or via on-call phone numbers. In addition, many medical facilities hire freelancers to fill in temporarily, work long-term on site, or provide training to employees.

Freelance positions hired: Clinical psychologist, medical coder, clinical nurse

Companies hiring: Carolinas Healthcare System, Altegra Health, Calian

2. Education

Online colleges, high schools, and tutoring sites have taken off over the last decade. Those who are struggling to find positions in brick-and-mortar classrooms might have more luck with freelance teaching gigs on the Internet.

Freelance positions hired: Virtual teacher, adjunct faculty, instructional designer

Companies hiring: Achieve Test Prep, K12, Edmentum

3. Project Management

GroupIt’s not unusual for major corporations to hire experienced freelancers to manage large projects. Skilled managers looking for a little more flexibility and work/life balance might have some success in this area.

Freelance positions hired: Product manager, sourcing manager, program manager

Companies hiring: Facebook, BBC Worldwide, Razorfish

4. Computers and IT

A long-time path for independent workers and consultants, IT and Web-based positions continue to be popular with tech- and creative-minded freelancers.

Freelance positions hired: Web developer, senior network engineer, systems administrator

Companies hiring: VMware, IBM, CompuCom

5. Accounting and Finance

For global banks and other financial institutions, it’s sometimes easier to hire a local freelancer for a project than to ship an auditor or accountant across the country.

Freelance positions hired: Financial analyst, accountant, fraud officer

Companies hiring: Royal Bank of Canada, American Express, Bloomberg

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As the business world continues to shift more of its workload online and the Internet of things connects every part of the world with every other part of the world, more companies are finding it not only feasible, but also valuable to use freelancers to fill employment gaps. While it’s difficult for many organizations to find enough employees to address every single one of their needs, there’s almost always a freelancer nearby who is ready and willing to take on the job.

Maybe that freelancer is you.



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