Tax preparation offers flexible hours, at-home work and a nearly guaranteed busy season. Plus, you don't need to know tax code by heart to succeed -- or even be a certified public accountant, for that matter.
The key is to take one of the tax preparation courses offered by one of the nationwide tax preparation firms. These courses, offered by H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt and others, are usually reasonably priced (sometimes free) and are offered across the U.S., either at in-person locations or online. And, whether or not you are hired by the tax preparation firm that offered the course, you can still use your newfound skills to launch your own business or pick up work with a local agency. Plus, with the aid of tax prep software, you'll probably only need to bust out the tax code manual under special circumstances or when you take a refresher course each year.
In some states, non-CPA tax preparers must meet a few regulations before they can take on clients. In California, for example, tax preparers must complete a 60-hour class from an approved school. In Oregon, tax preparers must register with the state. Otherwise, the industry isn't heavily regulated in the U.S [source: Monster]. The median tax preparer in the United States makes $32,320 a year but the top end earns more than $70,000 [source: U.S. Department of Labor].