How do you understand a meaningful career?
Some people may think of such career options as a surgeon or a nurse.
Of course, these careers are not only meaningful but absolutely fulfilling but it doesn’t mean that they are the only options for those who want to impact a world.
If you aren’t interested in these careers, there is no reason for giving up.
You just need to widen your search and look for some other options.
In this article, we’ve collected some of the most meaningful careers that can help people’s life.
Article Table of Contents
- 1 How Do You Want to Impact the World?
- 2 Careers Related to Helping People
- 3 Careers Related to Protecting People
- 4 Jobs Related to Helping Animals
- 5 Jobs that Bring Joy to Others
- 6 Jobs that Help the Environment
- 7 Jobs that Promote Social Justice
- 8 How to Reduce Stress in a Social-Impact Career
- 9 Other Opportunities to Make Some Impact
- 10 The Next Step Towards a Meaningful Career
- 11 Develop new skills through volunteering or education
How Do You Want to Impact the World?
To begin with, you need to reveal the way you want to help the world.
While reading this article, you may think that you want to help people.
Of course, it is a great goal but you should be more specific if you want to find a perfect career.
Just think about the ways you want to help others as it can help you to maintain your focus.
Laura Fortgang, Ted Talk’s author, claims that it is important to pay attention to who you become doing your job but not to what you are going to do.
It means that the impact you can do is more important than anything other.
You need to choose a career that will let you make the changes you want to make.
If you still cannot understand what changes you want to make ask yourself a question about what problem you want to solve and why it is important to you.
Once you answer these questions, you’ll be able to make your choice easier and faster.
Reaviling your reasons, you’ll be able to understand why it is important for you and what is your goal.
What Impact Do You Want to Make?
Usually, the impact we want to make is closely related to our past experience including our surroundings, relationships with others, challenges we’ve come through, and so on.
For example, people who have problems with drug addiction usually tend to help others to overcome their addictions.
Those who faced some injustice in their life will be promoting social justice and become activists for a variety of social issues.
Applying for a certain ethical career, you can make an impact in such areas as:
- Physical health and disease prevention;
- Mental health and wellness;
- Poverty alleviation;
- Animal care and protection;
- Disaster relief;
- Security and protection;
- Education and rehabilitation;
- Protecting the planet’s natural resources;
- Promoting spiritual awareness;
- Bringing joy to others;
- Eradicating social injustice;
- Promoting positive global relationships.
In fact, most meaningful careers fall under one of the categories above but there are some other options as well.
If you are interested in one of these spheres, you may be able to find some great career options that may interest you.
As we’ve said before, you need to be specifically looking for a meaningful career and think of the concerns that inspire your working and helping others.
After making a choice, you can start working on your resume and consider such options as charity and volunteering if you need more experience.
Social-Impact Careers’ Myths
If you are interested in a social-impact career but not sure whether you suit this job, this part of our article is for you.
Many people think that usually these careers are chosen by some free-spirited hippies or do-gooders who have lots of money.
Nevertheless, most of these images are no more than myths so we’ve decided to clear up some of the most widespread myths about these careers.
A Degree Is Required
As it was said before, most people thinking of meaningful careers think about doctors, nurses, teachers, and so on.
All of these career options require a degree however there are lots of meaningful careers that can be enrolled in without a degree.
The most important thing you need to start working in this sphere is a set of soft skills.
Salaries Are Low
Like any other career field, the social impact sphere provides low-paid and well-paid job options.
Considering a significant number of volunteers in this sphere, most people tend to think that it is impossible to have a good income working in this sphere.
Nevertheless, there is plenty of career options that can provide you with a good income.
Only Do-Gooders Fit These Jobs
It may sound quite ironic, but lots of people think that they don’t have some qualities and morality required for this type of career.
However, the point is that your career should be aligned with your moral principles and everything else doesn’t matter.
For example, you can eat meat and at the same time care about animals.
So, why cannot you work as a vet’s assistant or an ethical farmer?
At the same time, a vegan charity can be not a good option for you.
That is why you need to reveal the way you want to impact the world as it is the opportunity to find your perfect career option.
You’ll Burn Out After a Few Years
A social career is a challenging and stressful occupation and it may even lead to burnout but is it really inevitably?
JSTOR’s studies show that an altruistic and meaningful career doesn’t mean that you’ll be emotionally exhausted.
If you have enough support from your family and employer, it will help you feel less stressed out.
Also, such careers can be really rewarding as you are going to impact the world around you.
In other words, by doing your job you’ll be feeling satisfied that will let you reduce burnout significantly.
As you see most of these myths aren’t true and if they were putting you off, it’s time to reconsider your vision of meaningful careers.
Below, we’ve collected a list of 25 meaningful careers that will allow you to make an impact.
Just make sure to remember your goals and values while choosing your meaningful career option.
Careers Related to Helping People
People are absolutely social creatures and when it comes to making a positive impact, most of us think of people around us that need help.
If you feel like it is exactly what you want to do, you may be interested in careers in a social care, rehab, or healthcare setting.
In most cases, working in this sphere, you are going to help people deal with their physical and/or psychological issues.
Just keep in mind that you need to be patient, compassionate, assertive, and resilient if you want to succeed in this sphere.
If it sounds like you, the career options below can be a perfect career choice for you.
Correctional Treatment Specialist
If you think that anyone deserves a second chance and want mentoring others, a correctional treatment specialist job is exactly what you need.
These specialists support soon-to-be-released prisoners and help them with their rehabilitation.
In other words, these specialists aim to bridge a gap between prison and social services.
Applying for this job, you can significantly influence former inmates’ lives helping them with employment, education, and housing.
This career is very rewarding, but still, it is a very challenging and demanding job as well.
You need to observant and compassionate to perform your duties.
One of the duties these specialists perform is interviewing and observing inmates in order to understand whether they should be released on probation or parole.
In other words, you should be able to analyze people’s behavior and make a difficult decision based on the received info.
The average salary in this sphere is about $51 410 per year.
To be able to enroll in this career, you need to have a bachelor’s degree in psychology, social work, criminology, or a related subject.
You need to remember that this career option suits not only men as it can be a rather great option for women as well.
If you want to help people so they can change their lives, you should consider becoming a correctional officer.
Youth Development Coordinator
Do you like working with young people in order to inspire and mentor them?
If your answer is yes, a youth development career is a great option for you.
Usually, youth development coordinators work in such facilities as schools, shelters, and various outreach settings.
Working in this sphere, you are going to help young people develop some useful skills.
It can be related to sport-clubs organization, social events planning, and parenting classes organization.
You are going to work not only with young people but also with their families making sure they get all the support they need.
The latest data shows, that young people in the USA face such difficulties as obesity, excessive materialism, bullying, single-parent households, and drug abuse in the household.
Just keep in mind that if you think about volunteering abroad, you may face other problems there.
To be able to apply for this career, you aren’t obliged to have a bachelor’s degree but it can be a great advantage for you.
In most cases, it is enough to obtain an associate degree or just some on-the-work experience.
Also, it is a perfect option for people who are interested in part-time or share employment.
If you are one of those people that can take charge of a situation while making people feeling at ease, a phlebotomist is a great career option for you.
These specialists perform the procedure of drawing blood samples but about 10% of people have a great fear of needles.
A good phlebotomist should be able to support a patient and help him/her overcome their fear so they don’t avoid medical care procedures.
Also, these specialists are very important as they help save people’s lives as they are responsible for blood donation issues.
According to the data, about 40% of Americans are eligible for blood donations but only 10% really do this.
As a result, there is a shortage of some blood groups in the blood banks all over the country.
Phlebotomists should be able to encourage people to continue donating blood in order to make sure that there are enough blood samples.
Homeless Services Worker
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development states that in the USA there were about 554 000 homeless people in 2017.
Considering the fact that the national poverty rate increases constantly, the number of homeless people grows constantly as well.
It happens because housing prices in some areas become incredibly high and as a result, some people cannot buy suitable housing.
Despite being in great need of assistance, most homeless people are afraid or ashamed to ask for help.
Just keep in mind that this career is a great option only for those people who can be non-judgmental and be supportive despite who you work with.
Usually, these specialists perform such duties as supplies disturbing, helping people to get in touch with specialized agencies, or find a night shelter.
The income in this sphere is pretty low, but this job is very rewarding in many other ways.
One other point that should be mentioned is that social care career doesn’t require a degree or any specific training.
If you are interested in physical health and want to help others, a physical therapist is a perfect option for you.
Working as a physical therapist, you are going to support people who recover from an injury.
Also, they work with people who suffer from some chronic, long-term illnesses.
By supporting your patients, you are going to help them become independent, free, and dignified.
A doctorate or professional master’s degree is required for this career.
Nevertheless, you can start working as a physical therapist assistant or aide as in such a case you don’t need to have a degree.
Working as an aid, you can earn a salary of about $22 000-$31 000 annually.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapist
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is known as one of the most effective methods for treating anxiety, phobias, depression, and eating disorders.
If you want to support people that require some psychological support so they can overcome some mental illnesses, you should consider becoming a CBT therapist.
Usually cognitive behavioral therapy – is a short-term treatment that has specific goals and aims to find the source of a problem as soon as possible.
This career can be really satisfactory and rewarding for pragmatic and compassionate people.
You can help people change their lives and see the results just in a few weeks.
Careers Related to Protecting People
When it comes to social impact careers, there are lots of people who want to protect people around them.
If you are one of such people, you should take into consideration such career options as police, the military, or children’s services.
In case, you don’t feel like applying for one of these jobs, you may be interested in other options listed below.
Computer Security Specialist
Those who have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or any related subject can start working as a computer security specialist.
These people help to provide some good protection of people’s personal data.
Dealing with various security threats, you need to be able to stay calm and make effective decisions.
Recently, the number of malware and hackers’ attacks increased significantly and become more sophisticated.
As a result, qualified IT specialists are in great demand nowadays and it can be said that it will grow in the future.
Working as a cybersecurity specialist, you can earn about $95 000 – $150 000 per year.
Fire inspectors are responsible for inspections of local businesses, offices, and schools in order to make sure that they are safe and there are no fire hazards.
Also, they are obliged to make sure that in case of fire anyone isn’t injured.
This career means that you should be able to perform your duties following strict guidelines and frameworks.
It requires lots of detail-orientation.
To be able to work in this sphere, you don’t need to obtain a degree however you need some work experience in such spheres as fire safety or compliance.
An average salary of a fire inspector in the USA is about $60 000 per year.
Police, Fire, and Ambulance Dispatcher
If you are a calm, compassionate person with some excellent communication skills, you can become a dispatcher for various emergency services.
Working as a dispatcher, you are obliged to make sure that every person receives the help they need as soon as possible.
To make it possible, you should be able to relay information and communicate clearly in any situation.
Moreover, these specialists often need to provide some emotional support while a caller waits for emergency services.
In order to work in this sphere, you need lots of on-the-job training.
You can start working having only a high-school diploma or some basic college training.
After gaining some experience, you can earn about $40 000 annually.
Jobs Related to Helping Animals
Do you feel like helping animals?
There are lots of people that want to help animals as they cannot protect themselves.
According to some researches, there are people that have a genetic basis for helping animals and they can be very motivated when it comes to related occupations.
If you love animals and want to help them, the career options listed below may interest you.
If you like being with animals and you are an energetic and well-organized personality, a vet assistant career is a great job for you.
It is an exciting and fast-paced occupation
The list of your duties may involve cleaning cages, caring for animals, sterilizing equipment, and administering medication.
Also, you should be able to deal with animal owners that require both communication and customer service skills.
According to the data, about 25% of vet assistants start working without a degree while obtaining on-the-job training.
Vegan or Vegetarian Chef
During the last four years, the number of vegans and vegetarians increased by 600% in the USA.
Also, there are lots of people who think of becoming a vegetarian or flexitarian in the nearest future.
As a result, the demand for qualified vegan and vegetarian chefs grows constantly.
If you like cooking and want to help animals and protect them, this career can be a perfect option for you.
Also, by creating some delicious vegan and vegetarian food, you can even persuade some people to stop eating meat.
Work for an Animal Charity
People who work in finance, administration, customer service, or marketing and look for some other more meaningful occupation, you should consider becoming an animal charity worker.
Usually, animal charity organizations require qualified accountants and administrators.
Just remember that you need to provide pieces of evidence of your commitment to animals’ protection.
So, applying for a job, make sure to include some relevant voluntary experience on your CV.
Jobs that Bring Joy to Others
When it comes to meaningful careers, in most cases, we think about healthcare careers and human rights activities.
Nevertheless, there are other options as putting a smile on someone’s face can change their life significantly.
If you are interested in such jobs, you may be interested in the jobs listed below.
Working as a florist, you need to know how to use flowers to message people’s emotions and feelings as well as make compositions that suit various occasions.
To be a successful florist, you need to have a good understanding of such aspects as color, types of flowers, decorations, and so on.
These specialists can earn an average salary of about $20 000-$30 000 annually.
If you are interested in videography and video editing, you can start working as a wedding videographer.
Couples cherish their wedding videos very much as it is an opportunity to save some absolutely precious memories.
Using editing, videographers can create some absolutely amazing and emotional videos so people can enjoy while watching them.
Just keep in mind that this career involves lots of odd hours and traveling.
However, doing your job, you are going to spend your time in a beautiful setting and surrounded by happy people.
Cosmetologists help people feel and look better making them more beautiful and healthier.
Also, these specialists help their clients to unwind and relax.
Just keep in mind that this career has nothing in common with a doctor’s responsibilities but you can improve people’s wellbeing.
Jobs that Help the Environment
The Pew Research Center claims that about 55% of the USA citizens think that the government can resolve environmental issues more effectively.
If you are one of these people, you should consider enrolling in one of the eco-conscious jobs.
Solar Photovoltaic Technician
Worldwatch states that despite the fact the Americans take only 4.5% of the world’s population, they consume almost a quarter of fuel resources in the world.
Considering the fact, renewable energy is a great option.
If you are interested in an active job that requires lots of hands-on work, you can become a solar photovoltaic technician.
These specialists are responsible for assembling, installing, maintenance of solar photovoltaic systems.
Also, they can be responsible for carrying out compliance checks.
It is not a secret that this sphere develops very fast that means that it can provide you with lots of career options with great salary and benefits.
You aren’t obliged to obtain a degree to enroll in this sphere while you have an opportunity to earn about $40 000 annually.
Green Interior Designer
Creative individuals with excellent design skills and a desire to protect the planet can start working as eco-friendly interior designers.
While performing their duties, these specialists should take into consideration such aspects as:
- Energy efficiency;
- Water efficiency;
- Choose low impact or recycled materials;
- Indoor air quality;
- Land disturbance.
Most specialists in this sphere have a bachelor’s degree in any relevant sphere.
Just keep in mind that this sphere is very competitive but it doesn’t mean you won’t be able to succeed.
In fact, eco-friendly interior gain more popularity nowadays so if you are qualified and skillful specialists, you can be in great demand and have some good income.
If you like being outdoors and want to encourage others to do the same, you can start working as a park naturalist.
These specialists usually work in national, state, and local parks and inform visitors about the location including historical and natural aspects.
They can encourage people to take care of the environment and spend more time outdoors.
If you want to start working in this sphere, you need to obtain a bachelor’s degree.
Park naturalists usually earn an average salary of about $61 480 per year.
Environmental technicians usually work with engineers and scientists and make tests to reveal various environmental problems.
For example, environmental technicians can deal with such issues as waste treatment.
Also, according to the data, a whole bunch of new career options will appear in this sphere in the nearest future.
Mostly, these specialists need to have an associate’s degree at least and they can earn about $50 000 annually.
Jobs that Promote Social Justice
If social inequality, as well as discrimination, bothers you significantly, you may be interested in promoting some social justice.
There are lots of career options that may interest you.
Working as a teacher, you can help children to learn how to respect others and what is equality.
Also, if you decide to work at a badly affluent school, you have an opportunity to inspire children and help them reach some great results.
Teachers can help children become more self-confident and develop their skills and talents.
Moreover, teachers can hold campaigns about social, racial, and economic justice.
Those people who specialize in human rights law have an opportunity to help people achieve justice and equality.
These specialists should be persuasive, detail-oriented, and assertive in order to perform their duties effectively.
Just keep in mind that this career path requires lots of training but if you want to enroll in the job faster, you can become a paralegal.
Clever art can be a powerful tool to influence the world.
There are lots of artists that can be considered social activists.
Of course, it is hard to achieve success in this sphere but if you are passionate about what you are doing try making some artworks during your free time and look at results.
Watchdog journalists are specialists that held investigations and prepare reports on various issues that may affect public life.
In fact, they can be considered as moral guardians as they unearth such problems as fraud, collusion, discrimination, injustice, and so on.
To perform their duties, watchdog journalists need lots of investment and some incredible budget.
Before applying for this career, you can get some experience working for a large newspaper or news station.
In fact, urban planners can significantly influence the level of poverty.
They should be able to plan urban spaces in order to meet the needs of each individual of a particular community.
Also, the list of their responsibilities includes allocation of space between commercial buildings, residents, and green spaces.
Moreover, they need to make sure that all spaces are safe, comfortable, and suitable for a healthy lifestyle.
The number of career options for such specialists grows incredibly fast and new job offers appear constantly.
Usually, urban planners earn an average salary of about $70 000-$120 000 annually.
Working as a victim advocate, you should be qualified to help your clients navigate through the justice system.
The list of responsibilities may include:
- Telling about victims’ rights and protections;
- Telling what victims can expect;
- Listening to victims’ worries and providing support;
- Safety planning;
- Finding shelter and transportation;
- Notifying victims if the perpetrator is due for release.
Usually, these specialists work in such facilities as social services, the police, the courts, and charities where they support victims and make sure that they receive all the support they need.
In most cases, they need to have an associate’s degree in psychology, criminology, social work, or a similar subject.
How to Reduce Stress in a Social-Impact Career
Any specialist can experience burnout but when it comes to social impact careers, they can be even more stressful than others.
People working in healthcare or social care constantly face traumas, pain, and suffering.
Of course, it may significantly influence your emotional state making it harder to relax.
However, you can manage your stress effectively using some methods below.
When social workers think they don’t have a positive impact, they start doubting themselves and their career choice.
You need to keep in mind that it is impossible to perform the same level of impact constantly and in some cases, you won’t be able to influence people’s life significantly.
Sometimes, you may even think that you did nothing but it doesn’t mean it true.
You just need to be realistic about your activity and remember that you are doing your best to help people.
Recognize your Achievements
It is closely related to the previous point.
It is a good idea to start a diary where you can write down your achievements whether they big or small.
If you start doubting yourself, just look through your diary to review your achievements.
Keep Your Life Balanced
Don’t avoid activities unrelated to your job and pay attention to your hobby, interests, and your close people.
It will allow you to develop all sides of your personality, relax during your free time and balance your career and spare time.
Ask for More Support
If you feel like you need more support during your work, don’t be afraid to ask for it.
Sometimes, some extra training and support can provide you with some great benefits.
Also, it is possible that there are some coworkers that feel the same and together you’ll be able to overcome your difficulties faster.
Look After Your Health
If we are passionate about our work, we may forget about our health and wellbeing.
You need to keep in mind that your health is very important and it should be your priority.
It will help you feel more motivated and energetic so take your time and make exercises, and prepare some good meals so you can enjoy them.
Take Regular Breaks
Of course, it can be much harder to do than to say but you really need some regular breaks to reduce your stress.
Working in the social impact sphere, people can look for some part-time jobs so they can reduce stress and do something they like.
Just make sure it will work for you.
Other Opportunities to Make Some Impact
If you are inspired by doing something meaningful and positive but don’t feel like changing your current career, you can look for some other ways to impact the world around you.
There are lots of options you can try.
Reusing and Recycling
Of course, recycling is an important and great thing to do but reducing and reusing products are also very important.
In such a way, you can protect the environment on a daily basis by just performing some of your usual routines.
Making a Compost
Do you really need to throw away veg peels, tea bags, coffee ground, and other organic waste?
Instead, you can use them to make compost that can be used in your garden.
As we’ve said above, blood banks experience a significant shortage of blood donations.
It is a simple procedure you can make from time to time, just make sure you are eligible for it.
Find a social problem that bothers you and start volunteering during your free time to impact the situation.
Just after a year or two, you’ll be able to apply for some excellent careers in this sphere.
Employer Gift Matching
Address your HR department to learn whether your employer can match the money you donate for charity.
Want to inspire others to protect the world and people around them in any way?
Use your passion and power of a word to let other people know how they can make the world better.
Also, sign up for some charity mailing lists so you can learn about the latest news in the sphere.
This occupation doesn’t require much time as you can do it online or in-person during your spare time.
Unwanted or Fostered Animals Adoption
Those who love animals and feel like having one or two at home can always consider adopting a pet from a shelter.
The Next Step Towards a Meaningful Career
We hope, this article was helpful for you and you were able to find a meaningful career that interests you.
Just keep in mind that you need to set some specific goals and understand your reason while making a choice.
If you follow your heart and do something you are passionate about, you’ll be able to achieve success.
After deciding on your career of choice, you need to make a good resume.
You should do be able to prove that you are a good match for this job.
In other words, you need to show that you have at least some of the required skills and can perform your duties properly.
Create a list of skills you have and highlight those that choose the career you are interested in most of all.
Develop new skills through volunteering or education
Stay in touch with people who work in the same sphere as you.
During your interview describe the impact you want to make and tell about your reasons.
Also, don’t forget about the questions you asked yourself while choosing a career as verbalizing your answers during your interview can help you succeed.
If you are passionate about your job, your potential employer will see it for sure.
Just make sure to choose a career that seems the most meaningful for you.
It is really important, as you can feel happier if your job satisfies your talents, beliefs, skills, values, and ambitions.