How To Become Top Rated on Upwork in 90 Days


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Upwork badges are highly sought after due to their many benefits.

At the time of this writing, the four Upwork badges are: Rising Talent, Top Rated, Top Rated Plus and Expert Vetted.

Most – but not all – Upwork Badges will automatically appear on a freelancer’s profile within 48-hours of meeting the respective requirements of each. You may also receive an invite via email.

The badges also correlate to your overall standing on the site. 

  • Top Rated status means you are ranked among the top 10% of talent.
  • Top Rated Plus status means you are ranked among the top 3% of talent.
  • Expert Vetted status means you are ranked among the top 1% of talent.

A breakdown of benefits and requirements for each of these badges can be found below. For a complete breakdown of requirements, refer to the Upwork website.

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Rising Talent

Rising Talent badge requirements

The Rising Talent badge is largely based on having a strong background and early success with proposals for new jobs and interviews with potential clients. 

Even freelancers who have not yet completed Upwork projects can achieve the Rising Talent designation. The key is to remain active on the platform.

According to Upwork, to qualify for the Rising Talent badge, freelancers must:

  • Complete projects on time and as promised to Upwork clients.
  • Maintain a 100% complete profile with accurate skills and genuine work.
  • Keep their availability status up-to-date.
  • Regularly submit proposals.
  • Adhere to Upwork’s Terms of Service
  • Have been active in the past 90 days or joined in the past 30 days.

Rising Talent badge benefits

Freelancers who carry the Rising Talent distinction will enjoy:

  • Ability to offer paid consultations to clients.
  • A one-time bonus of 30 free Upwork Connects.

Top Rated

Top Rated badge requirements

According to Upwork, to qualify for the Top Rated badge, freelancers must:

  • Have a current Job Success Score of 90% or higher.
  • Have had their first hire on Upwork more than 90 days ago.
  • Maintained Rising Talent status or a Job Success Score of at least 90% for at least 13 of the last 16 weeks.
  • Have a 100% complete profile. 
  • Have 12-month earnings of at least $1,000.
  • Keep an up-to-date availability
  • Have an account in good standing with no recent account holds.
  • Have been active on the platform (proposal, accepted invitation, or earnings) in the past 90 days.

Top Rated badge benefits

Freelancers who carry the Top Rated distinction will enjoy:

  • More control over their Job Success Score.
  • Invitations to submit proposals to jobs assisted by Talent Specialists.
  • The Job Digest email.
  • Faster payments on hourly contracts.
  • Premium customer support, including phone and chat.
  • The ability to offer paid consultations.

Top Rated Plus

Top Rated Plus badge requirements

This is a relatively new status – originally introduced in 2020.

According to Upwork, to qualify for this badge, freelancers must have:

  • Earned and maintained Top Rated status.
  • Secured $10k+ in total earnings over the last 12 months ($20k+ for agencies).
  • Worked or are working on one or more large contracts in the last 12 months without negative outcomes.

Top Rated Plus badge benefits

Freelancers who carry the Top Rated Plus distinction will enjoy:

Expert Vetted

Expert Vetted badge requirements

This is also a relatively new status. It was originally introduced in 2020 with the Top Rated Plus badge. 

And it is by far the hardest badge to earn on Upwork. It’s kind of a big deal to be a member of this exclusive club.

It is reserved for Upwork freelancers in select industries who have earned an impressive reputation working with a number of clients.

Eligible industries include:

  • Web, mobile and software development
  • Design and creative
  • Sales and marketing
  • HR
  • Consulting

I personally obtained this status by reaching out to my contacts at Upwork and asking to be vetted. Within 24 hours they set me up on a call with a Talent Manager where I talked about being an Upwork freelancer and how to manage large contracts. I was approved same-day and my badge appeared within 48 hours.

The screening interview included:

  • A hard skills analysis to ensure a high level of competence for your specialty.
  • A soft skills assessment that evaluates reliability and communication.

Read Also: Can you make good money on Upwork? How I made $500,000 in 4 years

It is important to note that the Expert Vetted badge only appears for the freelancer who holds the distinction and to Upwork Enterprise and Upwork Business clients. It is not a publicly displayed status. 

According to Upwork, to qualify for the Expert Vetted badge, freelancers must:

  • Be identified as the 1% of talent on Upwork.
  • Be identified in a pre-screening process by a Talent Manager.
  • Be experts in their field.
  • Demonstrate strong soft skills including reliable execution and excellent communication.

Expert Vetted badge benefits

With Expert Vetted, freelancers will enjoy:

  • An Expert-Vetted badge on their profile that displays to Upwork Enterprise and Business clients.
  • Access to a dedicated Talent Manager who understands their strengths and helps match them to the right clients.
  • Opportunities to partner with Enterprise and Talent Scout clients including Fortune 500 companies.
  • The ability to offer paid consultations.

What is considered to be a “large contract” on Upwork?

The term large contract is niche dependent on Upwork.

As with everything at Upwork, definitions may change over time, it’s always best to check out Upwork’s support page on the topic for the latest information.

Freelancers can learn more about their current progress and current earnings by checking out the “My Stats” page located as a drop-down menu option under the “Find Work” tab.

Currently, the breakdown is as follows:

Large contracts for Upwork freelancers

  • Accounting and Consulting: $10,000
  • Admin Support: $10,000
  • Customer Support: $20,000
  • Data Science and Analytics: $10,000
  • Design and Creative: $5,000
  • Engineering and Architecture: $5,000
  • IT and Networking: $10,000
  • Legal: $5,000
  • Sales and Marketing: $10,000
  • Translation: $5,000
  • Web, Mobile and Software Development: $15,000
  • Writing: $5,000

Large contracts for Upwork agencies

  • Accounting and Consulting: $20,000
  • Admin Support: $20,000
  • Customer Support: $20,000
  • Data Science and Analytics: $20,000
  • Design and Creative: $10,000
  • Engineering and Architecture: $10,000
  • IT and Networking: $20,000
  • Legal: $10,000
  • Sales and Marketing: $20,000
  • Translation: $10,000
  • Web, Mobile and Software Development: $30,000
  • Writing: $10,000

How to make money on Upwork

Generally speaking, the best freelancers are able to achieve success on Upwork and make their way through the above-mentioned badges, by focusing on doing a great job for their clients, producing high-quality work, securing long-term contracts and avoiding bad reviews and bad feedback.

The more five-star reviews you are able to obtain early on in your freelancing journey on Upwork, the easier it becomes to close clients, land quality projects and climb the ladder of the Upwork rating system.

If you’d like to learn more about my personal journey and how I made over $600,000 – and charge an hourly rate of up to $150 – on the platform, be sure to check out my article: “Can you make good money on Upwork“.

Have you achieved any of these Upwork badges? Let me know in the comments. Also, don’t forget to connect with me on social media using the links below.

PS: If you’ve found this article helpful, and you feel so inclined – buy me a coffee (leave a tip) on Kofi!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Morgan Overholt

Morgan has almost 20 years of professional experience in graphic design and a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. Her successful freelance business has been featured in articles that have appeared on Upwork.com, Refinery29 and Business Insider Prime.

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