Curious about careers that help people? Sometimes, the best jobs aren’t the ones that pay the most, but the ones that are meaningful and contribute to improving society. Although in some cases, leading a happy and fulfilling life means trading high pay for job satisfaction, there are many instances of jobs that help people and offer a decent salary.
If you want to wake up every morning, do some good in the world and make a difference in other people’s lives while bringing in a paycheck to support a family, the following list of jobs are some of the best careers that help people.
Top Careers That Help Others
While this is in no way the complete list, here are some of the best careers that help others. Fortunately, finding a rewarding career doesn’t mean you have to live in poverty and some of these jobs pay pretty well.
Is it the safest job out there? No, but firefighters are paid well and routinely save people and their property. Firefighters are best known for putting out home and forest fires, but they have other duties, such as rescuing people and animals from high places, burning buildings and cars, running practice drills to ensure maximum preparedness in the event of a fire or other major emergency, arriving first on scene for car accidents, and staying in shape to meet the physical demands of the job. Without firefighters, there would be countless lives and homes lost to fires and other disasters each year. This is a dangerous job that requires a good deal of selfless courage, but the health benefits and retirement packages – as well as the knowledge that you are saving lives, homes, pets, etc. – make firefighting a worthy career.
Average Annual Salary: $48,000
Note: The average pay for firefighters increases significantly and over 6-figures when you are located in major metropolitan cities such as Los Angeles, Miami, and New York.
Home Health Aide
If you need a job, want to work in healthcare and enjoy being in the company of elderly people, then a career as a home health aide could suit your interests. A college degree isn’t required to become a home health aide, a career in which you help disabled, ill or elderly individuals with bathing and dressing, housekeeping, cooking meals, administering medications, taking them to appointments, and basically assisting with everyday living needs. Compassion for those who aren’t fully independent is an important trait for a home health aide to have, and if you don’t mind the less pleasant aspects of the job (i.e. changing diapers), then this may be a viable career option for you.
Average Annual Salary: $21,000
Note: With a number of baby boomers retiring, home health aides will continue to be in strong demand. Furthermore, states like New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, California, and North Carolina offer the highest number of positions employment opportunities for aides.
One of the most fulfilling careers on this list is that of a social worker. Similar to nursing, careers in social work are projected to grow 25% between 2010 and 2020, and the average salary is over $42,500 per year. Most social worker positions require a Bachelor’s degree or above, and you’ll work in environments such as state agencies or organizations, schools, hospitals, and mental health clinics. The purpose of social work is to diagnose and help people with problems, such as addictions, mental illness, behavioral or social issues, and generally improve the quality of life in a community. When children or the elderly need to be protected from abuse or young adults take the wrong path in life, social workers are called upon to help individuals get access to the care and resources (for example, drug or alcohol treatment programs) they need. Social work is one of the best jobs that help people.
Average Annual Salary: $42,500
Registered Nurse (RN)
For individuals who want to work in health care and have a college degree in nursing, working as a registered nurse is a great way to help others in your daily work life. Registered nurses are paid over $66,000 per year and the current job outlook for careers in nursing shows massive growth: 26% between 2010 and 2020. Nurses are in a great position to help others, since the nature of the job encompasses caring for patients to ensure their swift return to health and promoting a healthy lifestyle. More specifically, RNs perform diagnostic tests, record and document symptoms, carry out basic procedures, educate patients on their conditions, and generally offer emotional support for families.
Average Annual Salary: $66,000
Notes: With strong future job growth and high pay, registered nurses are among our list of best careers for the future. However, if you want one of the most meaningful and highest-paying jobs in the healthcare field, look no further than becoming a neurosurgeon. 94% of neurosurgeons say they feel a strong sense of fulfillment helping others and the median annual pay is $358,000.
Those best suited to become school counselors enjoy working with kids, want to help adolescents make wise decisions that will positively affect their lives, and offer students support for social and academic success. This can mean guiding students to develop better study and social skills, time management and organization, and self-esteem. A school counselor’s average salary is over $53,000 per year and this line of work usually requires a Master’s degree. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects career growth at 19% through 2020. All in all, a career in counseling students is very rewarding, because you’re making a difference in kids’ lives every day.
Average Annual Salary: $53,500
Adult Literacy Instructor
If working with children isn’t a particular strength of yours but you still want to teach, then consider teaching adults instead. There are multiple reasons why people come back to school after their teenage years, whether they want to improve their English reading, writing, or speaking skills, to enhance their personal financial management skills, or to pick up a new hobby. As an adult instructor, you can make a difference in these people’s lives by giving them the knowledge they need to succeed in these subjects and build a career. There is generally a certification process involved and varying levels of degrees required, depending on what level and where you want to teach. Both interpersonal skills and patience are highly desired traits for anyone considering a career as an adult literacy instructor.
Average Annual Salary: $47,000
Although veterinary jobs primarily involve helping sick and injured animals, you’re still helping people by offering owners peace of mind when it comes to the care of their beloved pets. Not only do veterinary technicians make decent money, but you don’t need years of animal care experience or an extensive educational background to get this pet-lover’s dream job. Of course, certification is required and getting your Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in veterinary science is recommended. As a veterinary technician, you’ll be responsible for bringing clients and their pets into a separate room at the vet clinic. There, you will perform, analyze and diagnose an animal’s condition, help with general care, and provide educational information to pet owners. You may get scratched or bitten in the line of duty, but if you love animals and want to help them and their owners, then a career as a veterinary technician may be perfect for you.
Average Annual Salary: $31,000
Teachers are certainly underappreciated in American culture. They are the backbone of the education system and the professionals our children spend 40 hours a week with preparing for college and their careers. In addition to teaching math, science, literature and writing skills, teachers offer students discipline, study skills, research abilities, and life lessons – at least, ideally speaking. All teachers must have a Bachelor’s degree and public school teachers are required to seek a state-issued certification or license. Generally, teaching our nation’s youth is considered one of the most rewarding, fulfilling, and helpful jobs available.
Average Annual Salary: $52,000
Police officers protect and serve their communities by safe-keeping and defending lives and property. Within the criminal justice system, officers come in many different forms, such as law enforcement officers, detectives, criminal investigators, FBI/CIA/NSA/DEA agents, special agents, corrections officers, etc. Police and detective work can be particularly demanding and dangerous, as these members of the criminal justice system work hard to enforce laws and maintain social order. Education requirements start with a minimum of a high school diploma and range to a college degree for individuals who want to move up the ranks and increase their duties, responsibilities and pay.
Average Annual Salary: $56,000
Intelligence analysts generally work for the federal government or military, and protect their country against foreign, terrorist and cyber threats as well as espionage. Intelligence analysts use information to analyze enemy capabilities, strategies and weaknesses and then suggest, coordinate and supervise course of actions to destroy, neutralize, or capture threats. Training includes 10 weeks of Basic Combat Training and 13 weeks of on-the-job training and supervision, both in the classroom and field.
Average Annual Salary: $73,000