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    Freelancing has become more common in the last few years, and the field extends to many different areas of expertise. According to a 2014 survey by the Freelancers Union, 1 in 3 Americans, or roughly 42 million people are performing freelance work. That's 34% of the U.S. workforce! 

    Why Is Freelancing So Popular? 

    One of the reasons for the burgeoning freelance market is due to freelancers being independent workers, so companies can save on the overall cost of hiring a full-time employee. 

    Client firms that hire freelancers are not responsible for employee benefits costs, such as insurance and pension contributions. In addition, companies can get the same quality of experts in a freelance role that they might find at a large corporation or agency. Plus, the company knows the freelancer and the corporate or “client-side” manager can develop a direct relationship with the consultant, cutting out the bureaucracy of a middle man at a large agency.

    In addition, many people who lost their full-time jobs during the Great Recession have gone out on their own, replacing their full-time incomes with freelance work in their profession. Parents with school-aged children may turn to freelance due to a more flexible schedule, and experienced retirees can work when they prefer. Others may simply want a career change.

    Check out this article on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website titled Freelancers in the U.S. Workforce that discusses the new ways in which we think about the tradition of ‘work.”  Also, according to a recent study by Intuit, 40% of America’s workforce will be freelancers by 2020.

    So whether you’re in a traditional career or seeking to enter a new field, here are five career areas that may interest freelancers:


    From an accounting clerk to a property accountant to a bookkeeper, the accounting profession could be great for freelance consultants. Accountants and auditors help small businesses set up books, prepare taxes, and provide overall accounting advice. Specifically, accountants can perform billing and inventory management, AR/AP audits, reconcile bank journals and account reconciliation as well as deliver financial reporting. A bachelor’s degree is usually a requirement, and having a Master of Science in Accounting could help elevate your business knowledge and skills.*

    Graphic Design 

    As entrepreneurs strike out on their own, many realize the importance of an expert who can design and maintain a website. A graphic artist may design corporate logos, advertisements and collateral materials as well. Most graphic artists have a bachelor’s degree in design or a related major, such as business, and they carry a strong portfolio of work that showcases their abilities. A bachelor’s degree in graphic design is ideal to enter this profession.


    Writing is one of the most versatile careers in the freelance world. It has moved beyond writing copy for brochures and technical manuals into more creative services such as company blogs, social media (developing posts for social media sites), and articles for magazines and newspapers (print and online). Although it is not always required, a degree in journalism, English, or communications can be helpful.


    Marketing jobs can vary, from market research and analysis to merchandising (product design, packaging and sales) and managing multi-channel reseller campaigns. Freelancers can create and support brand strategies and act as project managers overseeing a product launch. There are numerous marketing roles at agencies and companies today. A bachelor’s degree in business, marketing, or a related field is typically required to pursue this career path.

    Computer Programming 

    Computer programmers write code to create software programs. The career involves great skill and reliability to become a professional programmer. Most freelancers hold a bachelor’s degree and specialize in a few programming languages such as Java, C, and C++. The more languages a programmer knows, the more marketable he or she will be. Furthermore, those in the military who serve as computer programmers often find success in the civilian workforce after their service. In fact, many universities are making their programs more accessible to veterans.

    These are just a few of the careers one could pursue as a freelancer. Do you want to make a career of freelancing? If you are a Kaplan University student or alumni, you can learn more with the help of Kaplan University’s career center.  Career Services advisors can help you identify the freelance careers that best suit your lifestyle and goals.

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  • * Certain accounting positions may require further certification and/or licensing by individual states.

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