Searching for jobs you can do from home used to be a matter of scanning the Sunday classifieds for offers to get rich quick by stuffing envelopes.

Now, exposure to at-home employment opportunities has exploded, and a wide range of job ads are just a mouse click away. But so are the scams.

In 2007, when The Rat Race Rebellion began tracking at-home jobs, there were 30 scams for every legitimate opportunity. Now, with 4,500 to 5,000 work-at-home job ads screened weekly, the website finds 60 phonies for every one that’s for real, says Christine Durst, co-founder and principal of Staffcentrix LLC, the company that owns and manages RatRaceRebellion.com.

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Nevertheless, there’s no shortage of people who dream of beating the odds and earning a living from home.

Durst, whose company Staffcentrix develops home-based and virtual career training programs, says people interested in work-at-home jobs primarily are:

  • Parents who say they want to spend more time with their children
  • Trailing military spouses who, according to Durst, by virtue of their spouse’s career need to pick up and move every few years
  • Retirees needing supplemental income
  • People with disabilities

It’s difficult to be a good parent and simultaneously work well at home, says Durst, because most jobs require blocks of uninterrupted time to accomplish tasks, and children’s schedules are less than predictable. For those who do choose to walk the tightrope between paid work and parenting, consider deadline-oriented work. Durst says it’s generally better for those with younger children than schedule-oriented hourly work.

Steven Rothberg, president and founder of CollegeRecruiter.com, says “an increasing minority” of entry-level workers, are attracted to these gigs. He says he believes social introverts make good candidates. “They like working with people (but) they like interacting by email and by being on the phone. They dislike working in person with a lot of others,” he says, because of meetings and other “time-sucking problems” at an office.

Self-motivation, discipline, job skills and independence are key characteristics for at-home workers, says Stephanie Foster, a former medical transcriptionist who runs the website HomeWithTheKids.com.

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A growing number of employers appear to believe telecommuting is a good deal for them as well. It reduces overhead expenses, allows access to talented workers who may not be available locally, provides off-hours support and helps retain employees, says Sara Sutton Fell, CEO of FlexJobs.com, a website that aggregates hand-screened telecommuting/work-at-home jobs. “We’ve seen a real broadening of the audience of both employers and job seekers.”

Consider these 10 jobs — some rather traditional and others unexpected — for interesting at-home work and good (if competitive) prospects. 10 good stay-at-home careers

  1. Virtual assistant
  2. Medical transcriptionist
  3. Translator
  4. Web developer/designer
  5. Call center representative
  6. Tech support specialist
  7. Travel agent
  8. Teacher
  9. Writer/editor
  10. Franchise owner