9 Careers You Don't Need a Ton of Experience to Start


So, you don't have a lot of experience, but you don't want to settle for a terrible job. What are your options? Well, you may be surprised to learn that there are careers out there offering decent salaries that don't even require a high school diploma, let alone a degree. And since the cost of college these days is so high, continuing education may not even be an option for you. If you're looking for a career that doesn't need any real experience to start, here are nine options worth considering.

1. Private Investigator

You'll see private investigators popping up in movies and TV shows all the time, and they seem to live the lifestyle of an action hero crossed with Sherlock Holmes. In reality, a P.I. does not spend his or her time jumping off buildings, embroiled in car chases, and saving the day. Instead, the job involves a lot of research and background checking, and 80% of the work will be done in front of a computer and on the phone. Cases usually revolve around personal disputes, legal issues, or financial troubles — although sometimes a P.I. will be brought in to help look for a missing person, deliver a subpoena, or track down a relative. Although a background in either law enforcement of the military is the usual path of getting into the business, all you really need is a skill for uncovering information and, in some states, a P.I. license.

Average Annual Salary: $45,610

2. Real Estate Broker

With good people skills and the ability to convince someone to buy something, you could do well in real estate. To get started, you will need to get a license to become an agent, and that requires you to take a 60-hour course. Once you have that, you can either go out on your own, or get a job with a local real estate firm. And after you've tucked a little experience under your belt (usually 1-3 years), you can take another test to become a broker. Then, you can build a network of clients and referrals, and start making some serious money. Although the median salary is just over $70k, top real estate brokers can earn well over $300k per year.

Average Annual Salary: $72,500

3. Delivery Driver

If you have a license to drive an automobile, you can become a delivery driver. You do not need a Commercial Driver's License unless the job you're applying for states it specifically. Delivery driver jobs can range from part-time work at the local pizza place, to handling dangerous substances (known as Hazmat). Once upon a time, you needed a good working knowledge of the local, or sometimes national, roads and highways, but smartphones with built-in GPS and map apps have changed all that. The hours can be long, and not always 9-5, but if you're looking for a job with no experience, this is a good bet.

Average Annual Salary: $38,326

4. Deckhand

If you like the ocean and want to do some free traveling, a deckhand could be just the job you're looking for. The deckhands on a cruise ship don't get to do a lot of fun work, but they do get to see a little of the world as part of the job. Duties include monitoring gangways, running ship drills, mopping, sweeping, cleaning, making minor repairs, painting, helping to dock the boat, solving small problems, and basically being a jack-of-all-trades. Deckhands are also needed on dredges, riverboats, fishing vessels, and scows. No experience is needed to start this job, and contracts are usually for six months or longer. After you gain some experience on the ship, you can move up to deck officer, mate, or even captain.

Average Annual Salary: $38,000

5. Police Officer

"To protect and to serve." It's the motto of many police departments, and if you have what it takes to do it, you could make a fine police officer. All you need is a high school diploma, and to be in good physical shape. Police expert Neal C. Griffin says that great officers exhibit the Five I's: integrity, intellect, industry, initiative, and impact. Therefore, you should also exhibit excellent moral character, have a knack for solving problems, and work well under duress. If this sounds like something you are interested in, you will need to submit an application, complete a written test (called a civil service exam), and take a physical fitness test. After that, you'll undergo a background check before being accepted to an academy for training. This takes six months, after which you'll do 3-6 months of field training.

Average Annual Salary: $48,815

6. Oil Field Worker

When asked about the experience needed in an interview for JobShdaow.com, the "roughneck" replied, "You don't even have to have a GED to do this job. In fact a lot of the industry never finished high school, or middle school. There is no educational boundaries for drilling. All you need is a strong back and a lot of common sense."

This 22-year-old who was interviewed is already making over $100K a year, but does warn that it is hard, sometimes backbreaking work, and the 84-hour workweek can be grueling (you work two weeks on, two weeks off). If you can take direction well, don't mind getting your hands dirty, and can manage the schedule, you'll do well in this business, and make a lot of money. Of course, it can also be dangerous work; in 2012, 138 workers died on the job, with the fatality rate eight times higher than the all-industry rate of 3.2 deaths per 100,000 workers.

Average Annual Salary: $69,000

7. Administrative Assistant

Although many companies will look for at least a high school diploma on your resume, there is no experience required to be an administrative assistant. You should have good typing and organization skills, and familiarity with some of the most common software programs (Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint). Admin assistants are usually tasked with filing, making and receiving calls, managing visitors, typing letters, organizing business meetings, and doing other odd jobs around the office. If you excel in the position, you can quickly rise to senior administrative assistant, executive assistant, and even senior executive assistant. The higher up the ladder you go, the greater the perks and the pay. You may get to do a lot of traveling, and attend some pretty fancy industry events, too.

Average Annual Salary: $37,006

8. Security Guard

Don't think that all security guards are strapping six-foot bodybuilders with former military experience. While some positions do require someone with good physical fitness and self-defense training, many are simply asked to report suspicious activity. In fact, many retirees go into security work, and they are in their sixties and seventies.

Duties can include sitting in a room watching CCTV monitors, crowd control, and doing regular patrols of the building. It's possible you will have to confront people, but that will be outlined in the job description. If you're young and fit, you could easily get promoted to head up a team of guards, and may eventually get a job at the head office.

Average Annual Salary: $29,083

9. Car Sales Consultant

No experience is needed to sell automobiles, but how much you earn in a year will vary greatly depending on the kind of salesperson you are. Now, the profession gets a bad rap, but the industry has definitely cleaned up its image over the last decade. And with the Internet helping people do a lot more research, sales consultants are much less likely to force bad deals and excessive pricing on customers. Instead, the job is more about selling the great features and benefits of the car, and closing the sale. Interestingly enough, only 20% of a dealership's revenue comes from new car sales; the majority comes from buying and selling used cars for a profit, servicing cars, and financing. Selling cars can be hard work, especially during the weekdays when few people come onto the lots. But if you're good at it, you can easily make over $300K a year selling higher-end cars like BMWs and Audis.

Average Annual Salary: $31,000 + Commission

Salary information found on Indeed, Payscale, and Glassdoor.

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