When thinking of their ideal career, many people imagine a career that enables them to make a difference to the people and world around them. However, there is a misconception that working to help other people is not well paid, and this can deter people from pursuing this type of career. In reality, there are several professional paths that enable people to make a positive impact in their community (and society in general) while still earning a decent annual salary. Whether you are just starting out in the world of work or are looking to change your career, here are seven potential careers for people who want to help others in their community.
- Registered Nurse
Nursing is one of the most highly valued and well-respected careers in our society. Nurses are there for people at just about every stage of life, from birth to death and everything in between. They provide physical and emotional care when we need it most, working long hours under immense pressure. Registered Nurses also have plenty of opportunity for future progression and even greater earning potential, as well as variety in their work as there are numerous fields of medicine to specialize in. The average salary for a Registered Nurse is in excess of $70,000.
To become a Registered Nurse (RN), you will need to achieve a BSN, which is a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, and then become licensed in the state you wish to work in by passing the NCLAX. For career changers, accelerated BSN online programs are recommended as they can be completed in around 16 months through a combination of coursework on-campus clinicals and residencies.
A psychologist helps people to understand and manage complex cognitive and emotional problems. If you are interested in the mysteries of the human mind and why we behave the way we do, and you have excellent analytical and communication skills, it could be the ideal career for you.
Psychologists can work in a wide range of settings, from hospitals, government organizations, and businesses to private practice. Psychologists can earn more than $130,00 per year as it is a challenging career that requires a high level of education as well as a license to practice. While some psychologists only have a master’s degree, the top earners are usually doctors.
- Police Officer
When you think of careers in the community, police officers are probably top of the list. Police officers work to protect us and ensure that society’s laws are followed for the sake of everyone’s safety. This often requires them to put themselves in difficult and dangerous situations, but very few careers are more worthwhile. Becoming a police officer also opens up a potentially varied career path with a high earning potential of over $100,000 for those who climb the ranks. Becoming a police officer begins with a high school education and/or college education, as well as specialist training. Desirable qualities in a police office include excellent communication skills, a patient, caring, and empathetic personality, as well as a good level of physical fitness.
- Social Worker
Social workers are key to our communities as they help the most vulnerable to improve their quality of life and future prospects. This might include helping people through the most challenging periods in their lives, understanding their challenges, and locating the support or resources that will be of benefit to them. Social workers usually have at least a bachelor’s degree, but a master’s degree may be required in some instances. On average, social workers earn $50,000, but the highest earners can earn more than $80,000.
A potential path for social workers to pursue is the social services manager who works with decision-makers in the community and analyzing data to design and implement programs of support and other activities that will improve people’s quality of life. These senior roles will unlock even greater earning potential.
- Occupational Therapist
An occupational therapist works with people who are disabled, sick, or injured, helping them to learn or relearn key skills needed for everyday life. This might range from enabling them to dress or clean themselves or to cook or drive. To succeed in this career, you would need to be patient, empathetic, an excellent communicator, and dedicated to helping others. In addition to studying for a degree, occupational therapists need to be licensed and certified in their state. Occupational therapists earn, on average, $85,000 per year, but this can increase to more than $120,000.
- Career Counselor
Career counselors are often found in schools and colleges, but what is less well known is that they help people at every stage of life. When a person is at a professional crossroads, either through choice or circumstance, a career counselor evaluates their skills and qualities, assesses their interests and motivations, and supports them in finding a new career. We spend so much of our lives working, so enabling someone to find fulfilling and rewarding work is incredibly worthwhile.
- Marriage and Family Therapist
Almost every personal relationship encounters problems, and the emotional impact can be devastating. A marriage and family therapist supports and guides people through, particularly challenging periods, helping them to navigate through conflict or communication breakdown in a healthy way. Therapists can be the difference between a family breaking down or not and can provide invaluable clarity and support through traumatic experiences. To become a therapist, it is necessary to achieve a master’s degree, but the average salary is $50,000, rising in excess of $80,000. Click here for more information on a career in therapy.
Whatever career you choose to pursue, it is essential that you take time to research and explore your options. Think about your existing skills and personal qualities, as well as the kind of lifestyle you want to lead. It may be helpful to meet with people who are already working in your prospective career so you can ask them questions and gain an insight into the realities of the job on a day-to-day basis.