15 Jobs That Help People, Based On Your Unique Skill Set
To some people a job is just that: a job. But to others, your career can act as an opportunity to help those around you in your community or on an even wider scale, depending on what path you choose. Of course your mind likely wanders to the more traditional jobs known for helping people, like a doctor or a teacher, but if those don't feel like great fits, that doesn't mean there aren't other choices that allow you to serve your community.
Getting started on your job search for a more meaningful career? Here's what to look for.
What it means to help people & make a difference.
Helping people comes in so many different shapes and sizes. Whether you're looking to pass along knowledge you already have, support underprivileged communities, or help people who are sick or in need—there are never-ending opportunities to give back.
The biggest thing about helping people is that nothing you do is too small, and just because you aren't practicing brain surgery doesn't mean you aren't making an impact on the world around you. In searching for a job that's a good fit, you want to play to your existing strengths instead of worrying about what you feel you "should" be doing.
"As you look to find the job that is right for you, spend quality time thinking about the actual tasks you want to be engaged in day-in, day-out. Growth and success at the end of the day are about repetition, stamina, and perseverance," certified professional leadership coach Amelia Kruse previously told mbg. "If you actually want to find that job that is right for you in the long run, you will want to be clear on the tasks and activities that you won't give up on the minute times get rough or boring."
Jobs that truly help people:
Supporting other people's mental health is a powerful way to help, and if you're great at listening and giving advice, this may be a career path worth exploring. Not to mention there are a many types of therapy to look at: couples' counseling, behavioral therapy, eating disorder counseling, and more.
Qualifications: Master's degree in counseling or psychology
Average base salary: $75,000/year
(Note: Salary estimates are based on data from Indeed. They will vary based on experience, region, and more.)
If you love working with children or youths, teaching may be a natural choice for kick-starting your career and helping your community. Patience is the name of the game when it comes to this occupation, but by becoming a teacher, you can help to grow young minds and provide support to a vulnerable community.
Qualifications: Bachelor in education or master's degree
Average base salary: $32,000/year
Another career option that offers aid to children, social work might be a good fit if you have an abundance of patience and excel in more targeted interactions. This job provides support to both parents and children, offering resources to help create a healthy home environment.
Qualifications: Bachelor's and master's degree in social work, state-required licensing and certification
Average base salary: $66,000/year
The world needs more health coaches than ever, so if you're a health-minded individual looking to help share your knowledge and help others reach their highest potential, this might be a great fit. In fact, health coaching can "support the resolution of [a client's] symptoms, and potentially the resolution of [their health] state," holistic nutritionist and celebrity health coach Kelly LeVeque previously told mbg. If you're goal- and solution-oriented, health coaching could be your calling.
Qualifications: Bachelor's degree, health coaching certification
Average base salary: $52,000/year
Health Care Adviser
Helping clients navigate their health care needs, this position is incredibly important in providing resources to make the health care system more accessible. As a health care adviser, you have the opportunity to create a clear path of care and make life easier for your clients.
Qualifications: Undergraduate degree in public health
Average base salary: $57,000/year
Math people, this one's for you. The role of a financial adviser helps people in perhaps a less traditional sense, by helping them more effectively manage their money and better understand their financial status. This role is all about supporting financial wellness—it could be a great opportunity to flex your unique skill set and help clients plan their retirement, pay for their home, and save more effectively.
Qualifications: Bachelor's degree in finance or business administration
Average base salary: $75,000/year, plus commission
If you're good in high-stress situations, a 911 dispatcher could be a career path worth looking into. Fairly self-explanatory, this role requires you to tend to people in emergencies that are calling the 911 phone line, directing them to assistance and keeping calm. While it's certainly not a job for everyone, it's undeniably very rewarding.
Qualifications: High school diploma or GED and five years of service experience
Average base salary: $49,000/year
Another high-pressure occupation, paramedics work in emergency situations to provide medical support to people in a quick and effective manner without giving in to anxiety. A high level of medical knowledge and training is needed before you can begin.
Qualifications: High school diploma or GED and state-approved EMT certification
Average base salary: $49,000/year
Love staying fit and learning the mechanics of how certain movements can work your muscles and improve your well-being? Well, personal training may be your best fit to help clients in need of your expertise as they embark on their own health journey. You'll have to become certified in order to adequately provide information to your clients—but thankfully there are a wide range of training programs available to hone your skills and knowledge.
Qualifications: Personal trainer certification
Average base salary: $43,000/year
If you're looking to become a registered nurse, you'll have several years of school ahead of you, but this is an incredibly rewarding job for helping people. Again, the type of nurse you become is up to personal preference, but whether you want to work with children, elderly patients, or anywhere in between, this is a wonderful profession for giving back to the community.
Qualifications: Associate degree in nursing or bachelor of science in nursing, plus license in nursing
Average base salary: $92,000/year
This role functions to help both adults and children struggling with speech issues or swallowing disorders identify and treat their concerns. This can be anyone from nonverbal children to those suffering from a speech impediment, but your job as a speech-language pathologist will be to help them overcome their challenges and master language skills. A high level of knowledge and patience will be needed for the job, but if you enjoy working one-on-one with clients, you will thrive.
Qualifications: Master's degree and clinical fellowship
Average base salary: $102,000/year
A traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practice, acupuncture involves using thin needles to target specific points of the body that may be holding on to pain and stress. If you're interested in easing discomfort and supporting patients one-on-one outside of the realm of Western medicine, this is a great career route.
Qualifications: ACAOM-accredited program
Average base salary: Around $70,000/year
Substance Abuse Counselor
Addiction and substance abuse is a relevant and pervasive concern, and a substance abuse counselor can help provide support to someone dealing with this issue. Your job in this role will be to help with the recovery process, acting as a resource for people struggling with addiction.
Qualifications: Master's degree in behavioral science
Average base salary: $59,000/year
Lawyers can use their knowledge of the law to help people defend themselves. There's also always the option for pro bono cases to support those who don't have the money for resources, or you can work as a court-appointed lawyer, as well. However, buckle up for a grueling few years in school.
Qualifications: Doctoral or professional degree
Average base salary: $88,000/year
If you're courageous and willing to physically put yourself at risk to help others, then the role of firefighter may be a good fit. In this job you will be expected to respond to fire-related emergencies, putting your life on the line for your community. This job is not for the faint of heart but is highly valued and rewarding.
Qualifications: High school diploma or GED, CPR certification, fire science degree
Average base salary: $47,000/year
Finding the right job that speaks to your skill set and desire to help people is no small task, so it's vital to put in the time and effort on the front end to determine how you want to spend your life. Speaking with a career adviser can help set you on the right track for finding a role that will be a good fit, but remember: When it comes to serving your community, there's no job that's too small.
Merrell Readman is the Associate Food & Health Editor at mindbodygreen. Readman is a Fordham University graduate with a degree in journalism and a minor in film and television. She has covered beauty, health, and well-being throughout her editorial career, and formerly worked at SheFinds. Her byline has also appeared in Women’s Health. In her current role, she writes and edits for the health, movement, and food sections of mindbodygreen. Readman currently lives in New York City.