The Sims 4 Guides

A Beginner’s Guide to Careers in The Sims 4


New to The Sims 4? Let us walk you through making a living!

We’re excited to be welcoming so many new players to The Sims 4 when it becomes free to play on October 18th! We thought we’d welcome new fans to the franchise with some “Back to Basics” guides covering aspects of the base game that new players might need help with! Today, we’re going over careers and how to make a living in the base game!

How to Join a Career

A Beginner’s Guide to Careers in The Sims 4

When you first start playing, you’ll have to decide how your Sims are going to make those simoleons to spend on new items and nights out on the town. The most straight forward way of making money in The Sims is by joining a career!

A Beginner’s Guide to Careers in The Sims 4

To join a career, use the cell phone and choose the Business app to find a job. Scroll through the list of available jobs and select one that you think suits your Sim. If you join a career and decide you don’t like it, you can always quit and start a new job, but beware! Quitting a job and starting a new one means you’ll start at the bottom of the career ladder again!

Gaining Promotions

When you start a new Sims 4 career, you’ll begin at the entry level position. You’ll need to earn promotions to make it all the way to the top of your career and start making serious cash.

Open the career panel on the bottom right of the screen in Live Mode to see the requirements for gaining a promotion. You’ll see your work performance, daily tasks, and promotion requirements all listed here, as well as information about your work hours and pay.

To gain a promotion, your work performance bar needs to be maxed out with a gold checkmark next to it and all promotion requirements need to be met. You can increase your work performance by going to work in a positive emotional state and finishing your daily work tasks each day before your next shift starts.

A Beginner’s Guide to Careers in The Sims 4

However, even with a maxed out performance bar and completed daily tasks, you won’t get that promotion unless the promotion requirements have also been met. Promotion requirements usually revolve around building skills tied to that career. For example, an athlete will need to build the Fitness skill, and a writer will need to work on their Writing skill. Make sure you pay attention to the promotion requirements and work on those to advance.

Most careers have 10 promotion levels, except for freelance and part-time careers.

Decide How You Work

A Beginner’s Guide to Careers in The Sims 4

For inactive careers where your Sim disappears off the lot for the duration of their shift, you have the option to change how they behave at work by clicking on their portrait in the bottom panel. Some work modes will improve performance but at the cost of making your Sim stressed. Others lower work performance but offer other benefits, like increased Social need.

Sims 4 Career Branches

A Beginner’s Guide to Careers in The Sims 4

All inactive careers have two branches. Once your Sim advances far enough in an inactive career, they’ll be able to choose which branch of the career they want to pursue. For example, the Culinary career will allow you to pursue either the Chef or Mixologist branch at later levels, and the Entertainer career will allow you to decide whether you want to be a Musician or a Comedian.

Each career branch comes with its own unique rewards and salary, so choose the branch you feel will be most advantageous for your Sim… or just the most fun. It’s totally up to you!

Career Rewards

A Beginner’s Guide to Careers in The Sims 4

You may unlock new objects and clothing pieces as you climb your career ladder. Many of these objects have emotional auras so remember to place them in your Sim’s work space and enable their aura. Being near those objects will help put your Sim in an emotional state that’s helpful for building skills related to that career!

Other rewards may include new social interactions with other Sims that can increase friendship or offer you a way to make some extra money outside your working hours.

Types of Careers in The Sims 4

A Beginner’s Guide to Careers in The Sims 4

Not every career is the same! There are different types of careers, even in the base game. Some careers are inactive careers, others are work-from-home careers, and some are part-time or freelance careers. Knowing how each type of career works will help you select a career that’s right for your Sim’s ifestyle.

Inactive Careers

Inactive careers are hands-off careers. Your Sim will disappear off the lot at the start of their shift and won’t return home until the end of their shift. If you’re playing with a single Sim, this might be kind of boring, as you won’t be able to do much while they’re at work, but if you have a large family of Sims, inactive careers can be a great way to get some Sims out of your hair for a while so you can focus on other family members.

Work From Home

Work from home careers allow you to work remotely. An hour before your shift starts, you’ll be able to choose whether you want to send your Sim to work alone (inactive career) or work from home. If you work from home, you’ll receive a set of tasks you’ll need to complete in your own time before your next shift starts. Work from home career tasks are usually quick to complete so if your Sim values their free time, choosing a work from home career will allow them to make easy money and have most of the day to themselves.

Freelance Sims 4 Careers

Freelancers work on their own schedule from the comfort of their home. After joining the Freelance career, you can select the agency you wish to work with. This will determine what kind of freelancer your Sim will be. Your Sim can be a freelance writer, programmer, or artist.

Freelancers have no work schedule; instead, they rely on paid gigs for their income. They can take as many or as few gigs as they want to suit their lifestyle. Look for freelance gigs on the computer and complete them to earn simoleons for each gig you complete.

Freelancers don’t get promotions but they do make more money per gig based on their skill level and reputation as a freelancer. Improve your reputation by meeting your gig deadlines consistently.

Part-Time Jobs

Part-Time careers can be joined by both teens and adults. Unlike the other standard careers, part-time careers only have three promotion levels but you get to choose your work hours. Each part-time career has a morning and afternoon shift. When you join a part-time career, you can select whether you want the morning or afternoon shift. Teens may be restricted to a specific shift due to their school hours.

Sims can have two part-time jobs at a time, provided their shifts for each job do not conflict with each other. Otherwise, part-time jobs are the same as the standard inactive careers; your Sim will disappear off the lot for their shift and will have daily tasks and promotion requirements to complete in order to advance.

Active Careers and Odd Jobs

Since we know we’re going to get swamped with comments telling us we forgot about these job types if we don’t at least mention them, we’re going to make a note about them here.

Active careers are specific to the Get To Work expansion pack. You can follow your Sim to work at an active career lot. If you do not own the Get To Work expansion, you will not have access to these careers.

Odd Jobs are specific to the Island Living expansion pack. Your Sim can look for odd jobs to complete whenever they feel like making a bit of extra cash. If you do not own the Island Living expansion, you will not have access to these jobs.

This guide is aimed at helping new players who have just downloaded the base game for free. We want to focus on helping them navigate through all of the base game’s content, so we will not be covering these careers in this particular guide.

Sims 4 Base Game Career List

Below is a list of every career available in The Sims 4 base game and what type of career they are so you can pick a career with a schedule that’s right for your Sim.

CareerTypePromotion LevelsBranch #1Branch #2Branch #3
AstronautInactive10Space RangerInterstellar SmugglerN/A
AthleteInactive10Professional AthleteBodybuilderN/A
Fast Food EmployeePart-Time3N/AN/AN/A
FreelancerFreelanceN/AWriterProgrammerDigital Artist
Manual LabourerPart-Time3N/AN/AN/A
PainterInactive10Master of the RealPatron of the ArtsN/A
Retail EmployeePart-Time3N/AN/AN/A
Secret AgentInactive11Diamond AgentVillainN/A
Self-EmployedWork From HomeN/AN/AN/AN/A
Style InfluencerWork From Home10Trend SetterStylistN/A
Tech GuruInactive10e-Sport GamerStart-up EntrepreneurN/A

A Beginner’s Guide to Careers in The Sims 4
A Beginner’s Guide to Careers in The Sims 4

Looking for Career Guides from previous The Sims 4 DLC releases? Don’t worry, we have it all covered on our website!


A Beginner’s Guide to Careers in The Sims 4

If none of the above careers sound appealing to you, you might be interested to know that your Sim doesn’t necessarily need to have a career at all in order to make a living. You can make a living on your own terms through various skills without ever having to hold down a job. In some cases, these alternative options can be far more lucrative than a 9-5 job.

A Beginner’s Guide to Careers in The Sims 4

You can register as self-employed at any time by using the cell phone and choosing Register with the Ministry of Labour in the Business app. You can pick your own job title and description. Having a self-employed job title does not track your income but it will prevent the game from treating your Sim like they are unemployed if they don’t have a standard career.

Self-employed Sims can make money through many different skills. Here’s a few examples of ways your Sim can work for themselves in the base game!

  • Gardening: Gardeners can sell their fresh produce and flowers for a pretty penny, especially if they can graft rarer combinations of plants!
  • Writing: Become a novelist on your own schedule and write and publish novels whenever you want! The higher your Writing skill, the better books you can write, which means more royalty money!
  • Any Musical Skill: If your Sim can play the piano, guitar, or violin, consider paying a visit to a community lot to give impromptu performances for tips. At level 8 of these skills, you’ll also be able to write and license songs, which will provide you with daily royalty income.
  • Handiness: If your Sim is good with their hands, why not buy a woodworking table and start carving your own sculptures and furniture to sell?
  • Fishing: If you’re a skilled angler and know all the best fishing spots, consider turning your fishing hobby into a full-time career by selling your fish you’ve caught!
  • Collecting: Avid collectors can scour each world for all kinds of valuables to sell. Crystals, metals, fossils, and more are out there waiting to be discovered! Or collect space prints and microscope prints from home!
  • Video Gaming: Got the skills to go pro? Prove it by entering video game tournaments on the computer and winning sweet cash prizes!
  • Programming: Want to make some extra cash on the side as a programmer? Build this skill to be able to take on side gigs, or design your own app or video game!

About the author


A cranky old lady who prefers the company of cats and Sims over people. Occasionally peeks out from her lair long enough to chuck Sims articles at innocent bystanders.

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