Job experience is often the key to high earnings, but you can’t get experience without a job. Therein lies the dilemma for anyone entering the workforce for the first time or returning after a long absence, such as while raising children. One solution is to explore positions that provide on-the-job training.
8 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With No Experience
The following eight jobs may have minimum education or training requirements, but none requires prior job experience:
- Developmental air traffic controller
- Heavy- and tractor-trailer truck drivers
- Insurance sales agent
- Computer support specialist
- Claims adjuster
- Dental hygienist
- Elevator and escalator installer and repairer
1. Developmental Air Traffic Controller
Developmental air traffic controller is the entry-level position for individuals working toward a position as an air traffic controller. New developmental controllers start by providing pilots with basic flight data and airport information before rising through the ranks to control room positions with more responsibility.
While you don’t need experience to become a developmental air traffic controller, you do need training. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, candidates need an associate or bachelor’s degree from an FAA-approved Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative program followed by training at the FAA Academy. You must be age 30 or younger when you apply.
- Prerequisites: Degree from Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative program and completion of training at the FAA Academy
- Salary: Minimum $43,727 plus locality pay
- Job growth through 2031: 1% growth (2,400 jobs) per year
2. Heavy- and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers
Heavy- and tractor-trailer truck drivers transport goods from one place to another, usually over long distances. In the course of their work, drivers must plan routes, inspect their equipment and log driving time according to state and federal laws.
You don’t need prior work experience to work as a heavy- or tractor-trailer truck driver, but you will need a high school diploma, successful completion of a professional truck driving school and a commercial driver’s license. Advanced training to earn endorsements, like to carry hazardous materials, can increase your opportunities. Trucking companies typically offer new drivers several weeks of training with an experienced driver.
- Prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent, professional driving classes, CDL
- Salary: $48,310 (median)
- Job growth through 2031: About as fast as average (4%, or 90,000 jobs, per year)
3. Insurance Sales Agent
Insurance sales agents sell various types of insurance policies to consumers, earning commission on their sales. As with other sales professionals, insurance agents must build a book of business, assess potential customers’ needs and educate them about the policies best suited for them. Agents also assist clients with renewals and filing claims.
Insurance companies typically require that agents have a high school diploma, although a degree in a relevant field is preferable. In addition, you’ll have to take licensing classes and pass an exam in order to be licensed in your chosen lines — life/health or property/casualty. After that, you’ll receive training from the brokerage where you work.
- Prerequisites: High school diploma; successful completion of state licensing requirements
- Salary: $49,480 (median)
- Job growth through 2031: As fast as average (6%, or 32,900 jobs, per year)
4. Computer Support Specialist
Computer support specialists are responsible for testing, evaluating and maintaining an organization’s network systems. They also train users and assist those who are having trouble with the system by analyzing the issue to find its cause and offer solutions.
An associate degree or information technology certification gets your foot in the door for a computer support specialist role. After that, you’ll train on the job.
- Prerequisites: Computer knowledge; associate degree or certification, such as CompTIA A+
- Salary: $57,910 (median)
- Job growth through 2031: As fast as average (6%, or 56,400 jobs, per year)
Plumbers, pipe fitters and steamfitters install and repair the piping that moves water and other fluids throughout a building. In addition to hands-on work on plumbing systems, these individuals prepare estimates and material and equipment lists.
You’ll need a high school diploma plus vocational training to be a plumber. Then you can begin an apprenticeship where you’ll learn the ropes from experienced plumbers. Most apprenticeships last four to five years. Successful completion of the apprenticeship and licensing exam qualifies you as a journey-level worker — the first step toward earning the big bucks.
- Prerequisites: High school diploma, vocational training, apprenticeship, licensing exam
- Salary: $59,880 (median)
- Job growth through 2031: Slower than average (2%, or 9,100 jobs, per year)
6. Claims Adjuster
Claims adjusters evaluate insurance claims to make sure they’re legitimate, and if so, determine how much the insurance company should pay. In the case of an auto insurance claim, for example, they might inspect the car, interview witnesses to the accident and speak with physicians who treated injured parties. Some adjusters work for insurance companies; others, called public adjusters, are hired by the individual making the claim.
A high school diploma may be all you need for an entry-level position that provides on-the-job training. However, some states require pre-licensing education and a passing score on a licensing exam. Even with the decline in new positions, the BLS expects about 23,300 openings each year to replace adjusters who retire or resign.
- Prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent, successful completion of licensing requirements
- Salary: $65,080 (median)
- Job growth through 2031: Decline (-6%, or -19,000 jobs, per year)
7. Dental Hygienist
Dental hygienists work under the supervision of a dentist to help protect patients’ oral health. Their responsibilities include screening patients for oral diseases, performing cleanings, doing x-rays and educating patients about how to care for their teeth and gums.
To qualify for a dental hygienist job, you’ll need at least an associate degree, such as an associate in applied science, from an accredited program, such as those offered by community colleges and technical schools. Every state requires hygienists to be licensed, according to the BLS, but requirements vary by state.
- Prerequisites: Associate degree from an accredited dental hygiene program and successful completion of licensing requirements
- Salary: $77,810 (median)
- Job growth through 2031: Faster than average growth (9%, or 19,000 jobs, per year)
8. Elevator and Escalator Installer and Repairer
As the title implies, individuals in this position install and repair elevators, escalators and other moving walkways and lifts. Installation and repair jobs are demanding, and working conditions can be uncomfortable. And the schedules can be unpredictable, as repairers must sometimes be on call. However, if you’re mechanically inclined, those might be small trade-offs for the potential to earn six figures.
Employers typically want to see a high school diploma, but no college or technical training program is required. You’ll learn on the job, as an apprentice.
- Prerequisites: High school diploma
- Salary: $97,860 (median)
- Job growth through 2031: Slower than average (3%, or 700 jobs, per year)
Any of the jobs listed above can earn you a good salary, usually with a high school diploma or associate degree. For the best chance at success, take advantage of any training offered, both before you start and after you land a position, and consider taking some classes to expand your skills.
Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that’s accurate, impartial, and up to date. We fact-check every single statistic, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Air Traffic Controllers."
- Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Heavy and Tractor-trailer Truck Drivers."
- Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Insurance Sales Agents."
- Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Computer Support Specialists."
- Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters."
- Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Claims Adjusters, Appraisers, Examiners, and Investigators."
- Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Dental Hygienists."
- Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Elevator and Escalator Installers and Repairers."