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, the good news is that there are plenty of opportunities that offer on-the-job training.

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. 

To help you get inspired, we’ve put together a list of career change ideas that don’t require a degree or 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 hold a privileged position because parents and carers trust you to come into their home and look after their children.

It’s for this reason that 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 or degrees.

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.

Ready to get started?

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 degree to get started.

Dog walking is a great job for anyone who’s looking to make lots of furry friends, whilst getting fit and spending time outside. Most dog owners will simply be looking to see that you’re friendly, reliable, and have a reasonable level of fitness.

Most people who take up professional dog walking do so on a self-employed basis. 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 – which offers plenty of flexibility.

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

Interested in becoming a dog walker?

3. Emergency call handler

Can you keep calm under pressure? Would you enjoy being there for others when they need it the most? If so, then a role as an emergency call handler could be a great career option.

People dial 999 at all times of the day and night when they need support from the police, ambulance, and/or fire service. 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 them. As well as doing this, they’ll 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 receiving comfort and advice from an emergency call handler can make a huge difference in helping them stay 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 because full training will be provided.  All you need is the ability to stay calm under pressure and pass the role-related assessments.

Time to make a change?

4. Freelance writer

become a freelance writer

If you’re looking for a job that’ll allow you to unleash your creative talents, then why not consider taking on a role as a freelance writer?

Have you ever wondered who writes the text inside fortune cookies? 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 offers so much variety that it’s difficult to get bored. For example, you could be blogging and writing slogans, or ghostwriting a novel.

Individuals or companies who hire freelance writers are rarely worried about what formal qualifications or degrees the writer has – they’ll just want to see proof that you can write well. So if you’re already a keen writer in your spare time, it’s worth 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 website such as Upwork. Upwork is a website where freelancers can apply for a range of one-off writing jobs. Once you’ve got a few paid jobs under your belt, you’ll be able to start building up a network of regular clients.

Want to get started with freelance writing?

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5. Small business owner

If you’ve spent years working for others, then it’s understandable that you might want to spend some time 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 and gives you full flexibility.

One of the best ways to start your own business is to first think about your hobbies and passions.

For example, 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 like these, it’s often easiest to start by setting up your own online marketplace where you can get into a routine of making and selling.

Explore business ideas...

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 – from young children with learning disabilities to elderly people who can no longer do everything themselves.

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 degrees 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. Often, 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 too.

Want to start a career in care?

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 and working on the till, to delivering a customer’s 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 it’s not unusual for these skills to be ripest in people with lots of life experience. So as long as you’re someone with great communication skills and a positive attitude, there’s no reason why you can’t start applying for retail jobs right away.

Want to start a career in retail?

There are loads of retailers hiring all across the UK to choose from. Although, if you need some inspiration, you could consider applying for a role at Southern Co-op?

Southern Co-op has over 200 convenience stores across the South of England, and they’re always looking for enthusiastic people to join their team. So if you think a role in retail might be right for you, then why not search Southern Co-op vacancies on our site?

Interested in working for Southern Co-op?

And finally, if you’re interested in hearing about someone’s real-life experiences in retail, then why not check out Margaret’s story? Magaret took on a role at London’s iconic department store Selfridges later in life.

Get inspired...

8. Funeral arranger

Although funeral arranging is a slightly more unusual job (and may not spring to mind straight away when job hunting), it comes with great reward. This is because funeral arrangers are able to 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, so long as they have the right skills and temperament to deal with the sensitive issue of death.

Funeral arrangers usually support funeral directors with planning funerals. This can include 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 can 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 could consider applying for a role as a funeral arranger.

Ready to get started?

Or find out more about becoming a funeral arranger…

9. Driver

If you enjoy taking to the open road, then you could try a job as a driver. For many people, driving professionally provides the 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 ‘me 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, however, you could consider helping someone elderly, or with an illness or disability, to 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.

Interested in a career as a driver?

Unsure what driving role could suit 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 so, 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, you could apply for a role as an estate agent today.

Ready to apply?

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 don’t usually ask for formal qualifications or degrees for entry into the role. However, they’ll 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.

For example, some admin jobs are highly specialised focusing on only a few specific tasks, while others can be very broad and include 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?

Time to get started?

12. Travel agent

Are you well-travelled? Do you get excited by the idea of helping others plan trips to their dream locations? If this sounds like you, then you could consider becoming a travel agent.

There are often no formal qualifications required to get started in this role, 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 people with excellent communication skills because 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.

Ready to apply?

Or find out more about becoming a travel agent…

Final thoughts...

Considering a career change later in life can be a little daunting, especially if the role you’d like to transition into requires qualifications that you don’t have. So if you’d like to pursue something that’s a little more accessible, we hope this list of 12 careers has given you a little inspiration.

For more career change advice and to search roles, why not head on over to the jobs section of our website?