12 career change ideas that don’t need a qualification to get started

If you’re ready for a career change, but you don’t fancy going back to school or spending money on career change to get there, then the good news is that there are plenty of opportunities that you can walk straight into. Many employers will provide job-based training, or if you decide to work for yourself then you have the option to learn as you go. 

If you’re keen to get started, then have a look at our list of career change ideas that don’t need a qualification to get started.

1. Nanny

become a nanny

Working with kids is a great way to keep a fresh perspective on life and get in touch with your inner child. As a Nanny, you’ll hold a privileged position – parents and carers will trust you to come into their home while they’re away or at work, and look after their children to the best of your ability. For this reason, many hiring families will be more interested in your actual experience of looking after children and your interpersonal skills – such as patience and the ability to communicate – than having lots of paper qualifications.

London-based Nanny agency, Koru Kids, welcomes older Nannies, placing emphasis on the value of life experience when guiding and supporting younger generations. Some people hesitate when applying for a Nanny position because they associate it with being a full-time commitment with live-in potential – but there are plenty of opportunities to work on a more flexible part-time basis too – so why not give it a go?

Or find out more about becoming a Nanny…


2. Dog Walker

For those that love animals and the great outdoors, dog walking could be the dream job you’ve been looking for – and it doesn’t require a single qualification to get started. This is a great job for anyone who is looking to make lots of furry friends, whilst getting fit at the same time.

Most people take up professional dog walking on a self-employed basis and dog owners will be looking to see that you’re friendly and reliable with a reasonable level of fitness. You might start off by walking one or two dogs, and then slowly build up your client base through advertising and/or word of mouth. It’ll be up to you to set your own prices and determine your own walking hours, giving you plenty of flexibility.

If you’d like to give it a try but are unsure where to start, then Tailster is a great website for finding local people who are looking for someone to walk their dog.


3. Emergency Call Handler

Can you keep calm under pressure? Would you enjoy being there for others when they need you the most? If so, then a role as an Emergency Call Handler could be a great option. People dial 999 at all times of the day and night when they need support from the police, ambulance and/or fire service and the way that each call is dealt with could be the difference between life and death. 

An Emergency Call Handler’s job is to answer 999 calls and direct the correct services to the people or person who needs it. As well as doing this, they will usually stay on the phone with the person until the service has arrived – to offer reassurance, first aid or safety advice. Callers may be particularly distressed or anxious, so having that comfort and advice from a call handler can make a huge difference in helping to keep them calm until help arrives.

If you’re looking for a rewarding role where you can be the glimmer of hope that someone needs when they’re in trouble, then why not apply today?  No previous experience is necessary, as full training will be provided, but you need to be able to stay calm under pressure and pass the role-related assessments.


4. Freelance Writer

become a freelance writer

If you’re looking for a job that will allow you to unleash your creative talents, then consider taking on a role as a Freelance Writer. Do you ever think about who wrote the fortune on your fortune cookie, or who really wrote that book by one of your favourite celebrities? This could all have been the work of Freelance Writers.

One of the best things about freelance writing is that it’s full of so much variety – from blogging, to writing slogans, through to ghostwriting a novel – that it’s difficult to get bored. Individuals or companies who hire Freelance Writers are rarely worried about what formal qualifications the writer has – they’ll just want to see proof that you can write well.

If you’re already a keen writer in your spare time, then try putting together a portfolio of all your favourite pieces of work. Free websites like Issuu or Medium are great for keeping your work all in one place, so that it’s easy to show to potential employers. Once you’ve done this, the best way to get started if you’ve got little or no paid experience is to join a site such as Upwork – a site for freelancers, that allows you to apply for a range of one-off writing jobs. Once you’ve had a few paid jobs, you’ll be able to start building up a network of regular clients.


5. Small Business Owner

If you’ve spent years working for others, then it’s understandable that the time may have come where you’re much more excited about the prospect of working for yourself. One of the most appealing things about setting up your own business and becoming an entrepreneur is that your work schedule will be entirely on your terms, giving you full flexibility.

One of the best ways to start your own business is to first think about your hobbies and passions – maybe you’ve become a highly-skilled seamstress because of all the projects you’ve undertaken in your own time, or perhaps you’re into carpentry and enjoy making small furniture pieces. In cases such as these, it’s easiest to start by setting up your own online marketplace where you can get into a routine of making and selling.

There’s lots of support available to people in the UK who want to start their own business. If you’d like to know more, you can start by reading Expert advice on starting a business on the government’s website. You may also be interested in our articles: Business ideas that you can start from home, 20 popular self-employment ideas for over 50s, or Popular side hustle ideas that can help you earn some extra cash.


6. Carer

Often, all you need to get started as a Care Worker is compassion, a wise head and a big smile. There are so many vulnerable people out there of all ages who need extra care and support – this could include anyone from a young child with learning disabilities to an elderly person who can no longer do everything themselves like they used to.

With time, experienced practitioners usually choose to take a number of qualifications to progress in the profession and to enable them to handle more demanding levels of specialism or care provision. However, many employers, such as The Good Care Group, are willing to take on people with the right attitude and skillset and train them on the job – which means that qualifications are not always necessary to get started.

Caring comes with a high level of satisfaction as you’ll be helping other people gain a better quality of life – the time you spend with a client could quickly become the favourite part of their day. Because this job is so special and carries a lot of responsibility, employers often look favourably upon candidates with a lot of life experience on their side.

Or find out more about becoming a Carer…


7. Working in retail

jobs in retail

If you’re a people person and are passionate about excellent customer service, then retail work can be a satisfying way to earn a living. You could be doing anything from helping a customer find the right outfit, to working on the till, through to delivering customers’ shopping. But the one thing about this job that people tend to love is the sense of community that comes from building relationships with customers and colleagues.

Because many roles have a strong customer focus, hiring managers often select candidates based on their people skills, not their academic background – and these skills are often ripest in people with lots of life experience. So as long as you’re someone with great communication skills and a positive attitude, then there’s no reason why you can’t start applying for retail jobs right away.


8. Funeral Arranger

Although this is quite an unusual job (and may not spring to mind straight away when job hunting), it comes with great reward, as Funeral Arrangers provide comfort to people when they are at their most vulnerable. Many employers will take on people with little or no experience in the funeral service field and train them on the job, as long as they have the right skills and temperament to deal with the sensitive issue of death.

Funeral Arrangers usually support the Funeral Director with planning funerals – this includes everything from arranging to have the body transported to the funeral home to planning the wake for when the funeral is over. With enough experience under their belt, Funeral Arrangers often go on to become Funeral Directors themselves.

If you’re highly organised, can show sensitivity and compassion and have great attention to detail, then you should consider applying for a role as a Funeral Arranger.

Or find out more about becoming a Funeral Director…


9. Driver

If you enjoy taking to the open road, then you could try a job as a driver. For many people, driving is a chance to de-stress, unwind and visit new and exciting places.

When it comes to driving jobs, there are so many different options out there. If you enjoy driving for the opportunity to have some ‘you time’, where you can put on the radio and relax, then you could consider delivering items to people that they’ve bought online. If you’re more of a nurturing sort you could consider helping someone elderly, or with an illness or disability get around. Others turn to taxi-driving because they enjoy the social aspect of frequently meeting new people.

To kickstart your career as a Driver, all you need is a clean and valid driving license and as well as a reasonable amount of experience on the road. If this sounds interesting, then why not explore Driving roles today?

Or find out more about the different driving roles that may be available to you…


10. Estate Agent

become an estate agent

Are you passionate about people and property? Do you understand that moving home can be an exciting, yet daunting process? If you do, then you could be a great help to people who are attempting to find a new home.

As with most of the other jobs in this list, being an Estate Agent relies on strong organisational skills and good communication. This is because (whether they’re buying or selling a property) clients will rely on you to keep them informed about each step of the process and put them at ease.

So, if you’re ready to help people make some of the biggest decisions of their lives, then you could apply for a role as an Estate Agent today.

Or find out more about becoming an Estate Agent…


11. Administrative Assistant

One of the best things about applying for a job as an Administrative Assistant is that almost all companies of a certain size will have admin that needs to be done. Hiring managers usually don’t ask for formal qualifications for entry into the role, however they will want to see that your organisation and communication skills are to a high standard.

Roles in administration are wide-ranging and are often the glue that holds an organisation together. The type of admin role you choose may be dependent on the level of responsibility you want to have – some admin jobs are highly specialised focusing on only a few specific tasks, whereas others can be very broad, including tasks such as handling HR functions and managing budgets.

If you’re someone who loves being organised and you’d like to be an integral part of a company’s smooth running, then why not start searching for admin jobs today?

12. Travel Agent

Are you well-travelled? Do you get excited by the idea of helping others plan trips to their dream locations? If so, then you could consider becoming a Travel Agent. There are often no formal qualifications required to get started, just some initial on-the-job training to get you up to speed.

Travel Agents spent a lot of time talking to clients about what they’re looking to gain from a holiday, before trying to make it happen. This role is well suited to enthusiastic individuals with excellent communication skills, as it’ll be your job to listen to, inspire and advise people on their travel plans. It also helps if you’ve got travel experience behind you, as you’ll be able to give people more detailed knowledge of places they are interested in travelling to.

For this reason, prospective employers will be looking mainly at your skills, enthusiasm and experience base, so if you’re great with people and you’ve got a passion for travel, then why not apply for a new role as a Travel Agent? Companies like TUI regularly look for Travel Agents, and you can set up notifications to let you know about local jobs in your area.

Or find out more about becoming a Travel Agent…


Do you have any other suggestions to add to this list? We’d love to hear them! Join the conversation on the Rest Less community forum – or leave a comment below.

Ready to find your next challenge?

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