Americans are living abroad in record numbers. The exact size of the American diaspora is hard to pinpoint, but the Migration Policy Institute reports it's likely between 2 and 7 million. Millions more dream of moving overseas but can't imagine how they'd get by. The answer is portable careers: occupations with global demand enabling workers to survive and thrive anywhere in the world.
One of the most accessible portable careers is freelance writing and editing. Lots of companies, from newspapers looking for interesting stories to dentists trying to attract new patients to their websites, hire writers for short-term contracts or pay-per-word deals. It's even possible to land freelance work without a college education, though classes in journalism and advertising will help. The most important thing you need to get work as a writer is samples of your previous work. Writers can live and work anywhere with a Web connection.
For the technically savvy, a career in Web design can take you anywhere in the world. Web designers, like writers, usually don't need formal education to find work. If you don't have a relevant degree, though, extensive experience is important. According to Smashing Magazine, freelance Web designers can attract clients from around the world with killer portfolio website to showcase their talents. Web designers can work remotely from anywhere with reliable Internet access.
Almost a quarter of the world's population, between 1.5 and 2 billion people, speak at least a little English. Billions more want to learn, which makes teaching English an extremely portable career. English teachers usually need a college degree and a TEFL or TESOL certificate to find work. With those qualifications in hand, however, they can find employment almost anywhere in the world. Southeast Asia and Taiwan have the most jobs on offer, according to Business Insider, but many teachers flock to Central America, too.
Nursing and Medicine
People get sick all over the world, so health care professions are among the most portable in the modern economy. Nurses, especially those trained in developed countries like the United States, can find work almost anywhere due to a global nursing shortage. Becoming a registered nurse takes a college degree and additional training, however, and it can be hard to find employment in a country if you don't speak the language. Finally, it can take nurses several months to obtain a visa and transfer their licenses to a new country.
People love food, and those who excel at making it can find work almost anywhere in the world. From high-end restaurants in Paris to Caribbean cruise ships to luxury yachts in the Mediterranean, trained and experienced chefs can find reliable employment cooking for the world's wealthy. This isn't a job flipping burgers, however. Good chefs need a degree or certificate from a recognized cooking school and years of experience in the kitchen.
- Smashing Magazine: The Roadmap To Becoming A Professional Freelance Web Designer
- History of English: Who Speaks English?
- Business Insider: How to Get a Job Teaching English Abroad
- Transitions Abroad: Working Abroad as a Nurse
- Wanderlust: The World's 7 Most Portable Jobs
- Migration Policy Institute: Counting the Uncountable
Nick Robinson is a writer, instructor and graduate student. Before deciding to pursue an advanced degree, he worked as a teacher and administrator at three different colleges and universities, and as an education coach for Inside Track. Most of Robinson's writing centers on education and travel.