How do you become Top Rated on Upwork: badges, requirements and benefits


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Badges are highly sought after due to their many benefits including decreased Upwork fees and priority access to top clients.

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

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

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 and benefits visit Upwork’s support page.

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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:

Rising Talent badge benefits

Freelancers who carry the Rising Talent distinction will enjoy:

  • Reduced fees (starting at 10%) on Featured Jobs.
  • A one-time bonus of 30 free Upwork Connects.
  • Access to chat and ticket support from a specialized customer support team.

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:

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 who have earned an impressive reputation working with a number of clients.

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.

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:

  • Represent the top 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.

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.

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