Do you often feel like you’re spinning your wheels at work? Does it seem like there are some careers that make a difference—and others that don’t?
Hopefully, you’re among the 51 percent of Americans who feel satisfied with their job. If not, could it be time to consider a career change?
There are plenty of meaningful jobs that pay well, but that shouldn’t be your primary focus. Jobs that help people directly can be just as meaningful to the worker, regardless of the size of their paycheck.
Are you ready to feel inspired? In this post, we’ll consider nine jobs that make a difference in people’s lives.
Which one could be the perfect fit for you?
1. Social Worker
Would you like to work directly with individuals to help them solve their problems?
If so, social work could be your calling. From diagnosing behavioral issues to helping people adjust to difficult circumstances, there’s never a dull day for a social worker.
Social workers may work in schools, government offices, or healthcare settings. They evaluate the needs of their clients before helping them set (and meet) realistic goals.
Most social workers have a Bachelor’s degree or higher. An online healthcare school is a great place to get started on the road to social work.
2. Occupational Therapist
Would you like to help others to become more independent and lead active, fulfilling lives?
Occupational therapists provide people with everyday skills they need to thrive. Their clients range from autistic children to adults recovering from a serious accident or illness.
The result? People truly in need are better equipped to handle the day-to-day tasks of living. They may learn skills like how to use a wheelchair, recognize common objects, or brush their teeth independently.
Occupational therapists require at least a Master’s degree as well as professional licensing.
3. Urban Planner
A great way to make a difference is to help your community make the best use of its space. As an urban planner, that’s exactly what you’ll do.
Urban planners work with public organizations and private groups. As specialized consultants, they help determine where and how to build housing and businesses while protecting the environment.
Urban planners also have to study the local economy and population growth rates. All of this factors into where, when, and how they plan and build.
Most urban planners have a Master’s degree and work as independent contractors.
4. Police Officer
Who would keep our communities safe if not for our police force?
Police officers are on the front line of protecting the public, from neighborhood patrol to conducting investigations and making arrests. They’re also actively involved in local events and community outreach programs.
Wearing this uniform is sure to instill a sense of pride and purpose. Most areas only require a high school diploma and some specialized training to enter the police force.
Do you want to put fires out—literally?
There are few jobs that matter like rushing into a burning building to save people. As a firefighter, you’ll have the chance to help people and save lives every single day.
Firefighters are also renowned for being active members of their communities, including volunteer and educational work. A high school diploma and non-degree training will get your foot in the door.
6. Registered Nurse (RN)
What would a hospital be without the nurses that work so hard to care for its patients?
As a registered nurse, you’ll be on the front line of the medical community. You can work in an array of settings from hospitals and clinics to doctor’s offices or private homes.
Nurses can specialize in anything from pediatrics to Hospice Care, or anywhere in between. To become an RN, you’ll need a four-year degree and a professional license.
7. Special Education Teacher
Teachers are the unsung heroes of the working world, making a difference in the lives of our kids.
When it comes to jobs that help people, special education teachers are second to none. They help kids with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities overcome their challenges and succeed in school.
To become a special ed teacher, you’ll need a four-year degree and a teaching license for your state. A genuine love of children and the patience to help those with special needs is also a must.
8. Mental Health Specialist
Do your friends often come to you with their problems? Are you a good listener who loves helping people overcome their challenges?
If so, you may have a future as a mental health counselor. You’ll meet with clients in a private, family, or group setting to discuss their unique problems.
Your goal as a mental health specialist is to give your clients the tools they need to make positive changes in their lives. This might include lifestyle changes, communication methods, or support groups.
To become a counselor, you’ll likely need a Master’s degree and state certification.
9. Solar PV Installer
Solar energy is the way of the future, and demand for workers in this field is booming.
Would you like to help the planet by installing solar panels and helping your community to “go green?” Become a solar photovoltaic (PV) installer and that’s exactly what you’ll do.
Your job description will include installing and maintaining solar panels on businesses and private homes. A high school diploma is usually all that’s required to start—you’ll learn the rest through on the job training.
Jobs That Make a Difference in People’s Lives: Which Will You Choose?
From nurses and counselors to firefighters and police officers, these are the jobs that make a difference in people’s lives.
Why spend more time in a job you find dull and unfulfilling? Is it time to switch to one of these jobs that help people—jobs that make a real difference?
If you do, you’ll fall asleep each night with the satisfaction of knowing you’re out there making the world a better place.
What other practical steps can you take to live a happier, more fulfilling life? Check out our recent self-improvement posts for more helpful advice.