One of the biggest motivators in life is to find a career that you love – work that appeals to your interests and talents, gives meaning to your life, and potentially makes a difference in some way. Helping others may be your own, personal driving force. You may desire a career that helps people who are sick, injured, or disabled. You may wish to keep others out of harm’s way. Or, maybe you aspire to help people climb out of difficult situations, afflicted by societal issues like homelessness, imprisonment, or a lack of access to healthcare.
There are many different careers that involve helping others, within fields like healthcare, public safety, human services, and even business management. Below are eight of the best careers for helping others, that you can pursue today.
- Nurse Practitioner
Nurse Practitioners (NPs) were ranked among the top three jobs in the United States in 2021, by U.S. News. It’s no wonder why. Nurse Practitioners have a rewarding job helping others in need of healthcare services. There are many different types of Nurse Practitioners, each with different responsibilities and specializations. In general, though, NPs can perform patient exams, analyze symptoms and lab results, prescribe medications, administer treatments, and educate patients and family on continuing care.
Some Nurse Practitioners, such as Family Nurse Practitioners (FNPs) act as primary care providers for patients, across the age spectrum. NPs may also specialize in areas like women’s health, pediatrics, geriatrics, mental health, and more. One in-demand job is that of a Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP), who helps treat patients with mental illness and psychiatric conditions. As mental health needs increase across the United States, the demand for these specialized services will grow.
Nurse Practitioners have a personally and professionally rewarding career, contributing to their high rank as one of the best jobs today. Nurse Practitioners earn over $109,000 annually, on average. More notably, employment of NPs is expected to grow 52 percent in the coming years – making it one of the fastest-growing careers in the United States today, full of opportunity for aspiring healthcare providers.
To become a Nurse Practitioner, a Master’s degree in Nursing is required. At Goodwin, you can become a Nurse Practitioner through the Family Nurse Practitioner program or the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing master’s program.
- Medical and Health Services Manager
Right below the Nurse Practitioner job ranking is that of the Medical and health services manager, coming in at #4 among the top 100 jobs in the U.S. today. Medical and health services managers are also invested in helping others as part of their career, but their role does not involve direct patient care. Rather, these professionals work behind-the-scenes of the healthcare facility. They ensure that the operations are running smoothly and that the highest quality of services is being delivered to patients in need. They manage medical teams, create schedules for departments and staff, hire new healthcare specialists, establish goals for the organization, and make plans to ensure those goals are being met.
Common titles within this profession are healthcare administrator, clinical manager, and healthcare director. On average, these professionals earn over $104,000 annually in the United States, making it a top-paying career option for those looking to help others in need. The job outlook for healthcare managers is also expected to grow 32 percent between 2019 and 2029, making it among the fastest-growing careers on this list, as well.
To become a health services manager, you will need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field. Some positions will require a master’s degree. At Goodwin, you can start your path towards this career by earning a:
- Bachelor’s in Public Health,
- Bachelor’s in Nursing,
- Bachelor’s in Health Science,
- Master’s in Nursing, or
- Master’s in Public Health
- Social and Community Service Manager
Social service managers act as the voice for the communities in which they work. They coordinate and manage programs that support specific communities’ well-being and public health. This includes understanding their community’s needs, suggesting improvements, implementing services, and increasing awareness about struggles within a given population.
Social and community service managers may work with a variety of demographics in need, such as the homeless, low-income populations, chronically ill patients, elderly people, or veterans. They may also help people with specific challenges, such as hunger and malnourishment, substance abuse, or mental health issues. No matter which path you take within this field, you can rest assured you will be in a career that helps others in need.
This profession is listed as one of the best careers helping others, not only because of the personal reward. Social and community service managers can also expect a comfortable salary of about $70,000 annually. Additionally, this is one of the fastest-growing careers today, with employment expected to grow 17 percent in the next decade – over four times the average rate for all occupations.
In order to land a job as a community service manager, it is required to have at least a bachelor’s degree. The bachelor’s degree may be in a related field such as human services, public health, or social work. Some employers may also require work experience and a master’s education. To start this path at Goodwin, you have the option to earn a Bachelor’s in Human Services, Bachelor’s in Public Health, or a Master’s in Public Health.
- Dental Hygienist
Also within the field of health is that of dental hygienists, ranked one of the best healthcare support jobs today. These professionals help people maintain good oral health, by patients’ teeth and educating them on proper, preventative oral care. Oral health is extremely important to maintain in order to keep bacteria under control. Without the work of dental hygienists, we’d be at increased risk for infections like gum disease, tooth decay, and oral cancer.
Dental hygienists earn a median salary of $76,220 annually, making it a promising profession for those looking to help others. It also only requires an associate degree to launch this career path. While the above career options require a bachelor’s or master’s degree, a dental hygienist position can be achieved in just two years’ time. Most Goodwin students complete the dental hygienist school in 24 months, though the program can be customized to meet your individual needs.
- Occupational Therapy Assistant
Another career that involves helping others, and that can be obtained with an associate degree, is an Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA). Occupational Therapy Assistants help people recover the skills and functions needed for daily living, such as getting dressed, brushing their teeth, or even performing their job. These skills may have been lost due to an injury, a stroke, or a health condition (like cerebral palsy, or arthritis) that caused damage to bodily functioning.
For this reason, an OTA career is all about helping others in need – others that need help living out their daily lives, and assistance helping themselves. OTAs will help these patients develop and hone the skills needed to carry out routine tasks, and to make their lives a little bit easier.
On average, Occupational Therapy Assistants earn over $61,500 annually. The rate of employment for OTAs is also growing exponentially, with a 35 percent increase in jobs expected by the year 2029. Aspiring OTAs can expect to find many job opportunities after graduation from an Occupational Therapy Assistant school.
- Registered Nurse
When thinking about the best careers helping others, we cannot forget the role of the Registered Nurse (RN). After leading the fight against the global COVID-19 pandemic, Registered Nurses are, perhaps, more respected and valued than ever before. These brave and compassionate professionals are responsible for patient care, helping people who are sick, injured, and disabled. On a daily basis, RNs monitor patient conditions, perform medical procedures, administer medications, collect lab samples, and ensure patients are cared for throughout their visit.
There is a famous quote known among nurses, that goes: “When you’re a nurse, you know that every day you will touch a life or a life will touch yours.” Nurses have the unique opportunity to help patients (and family members) through some of the most difficult moments of their lives. They get to help all types of people, from all different backgrounds, and are often inspired by their patients.
Employment of Registered Nurses is constantly on the rise, as new treatments come forth, epidemics take place, and as baby boomers age and demand more healthcare services. There is great job security in this line of work, because the world will always need nurses to help. Additionally, Registered Nurses earn over $70,000 annually in the United States, with the potential for a greater salary depending on where you reside. For example, RNs earn close to $85,000 per year in Connecticut.
To become a Registered Nurse, you need an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing. An associate degree in Nursing will qualify you for entry-level positions within the nursing field – such as at a hospital, emergency department, or physician’s office – while a Bachelor’s in Nursing (BSN) can position you for advanced leadership and specialized nursing roles.
- Law Enforcement Officer
Another necessary profession that involves helping others is within the field of law enforcement. Law enforcement officers are responsible for maintaining order and safety within our communities. Depending on their specific title, these professionals may arrest criminals, investigate crimes, safeguard neighborhoods, and protect the public from threats. Law enforcement careers include police officers, sheriffs, security agents, criminal investigators, detectives, air marshals, and special agents.
Without law enforcement, crime rates, and in turn accident and death rates, would skyrocket. People may not feel safe leaving their homes or going about their standard day. We rely on law enforcement professionals to keep us safe and out of harm’s way, and to ensure that those committing crimes are reprimanded for their actions.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that police officer and detective careers are growing “faster than average” across the United States. And current events have underlined the importance of having new, qualified professionals join our police forces. If you are seeking a career with meaning, that can help people and protect the greater good, law enforcement may be for you. In this field, you will have the unique ability to stand up for people in need, to ensure righteousness in your community, to keep others safe, and to help contribute to a positive future for law enforcement. You can start at Goodwin, too, with an Associate in Criminal Justice or a Bachelor’s in Public Safety.
- Funeral Service Director
While many of the above careers help improve people’s lives through health and safety services, a funeral service worker makes a unique impact on the lives of others. Specifically, funeral service workers help family members grieve and honor the death of their loved ones. While this may seem like a dark career path at first glance, funeral service workers are often seen as a shining light during some of the most vulnerable moments of a person’s life.
When a loved one passes on, it can be hard to coordinate the details of their funeral or think through how you will honor and celebrate their life. A funeral service director’s main responsibility is to help with this process. They help coordinate and manage the details of funeral ceremonies, working closely with family members to ensure all their needs are met, while easing the burden of planning such events. Additionally, funeral directors often are a shoulder to lean on when these families need support. They may offer counseling and aid through these difficult times, or suggest support groups and resources for grieving families. The work of a funeral director (also called a mortician, or funeral home manager) is truly essential when thinking about the greater cycle of life.
Funeral service workers, on average, earn between $54,000 and $75,000 annually across the United States, depending on the specific title. To become a funeral director or mortician, it is required to have relevant education. In Connecticut, funeral directors must have an associate degree in Mortuary Science, as well as hands-on experience in the field.
Finding a Career Helping Others
The above list encompasses just a fraction of the careers that involve helping others. In addition to the professions listed above, those applying to Goodwin University may also find rewarding and impactful careers as:
- Case managers
- Financial advisors
- Business managers
- Community outreach workers
- Public health educators
- Child development specialists
- Health promotion specialists
- Patient advocates
- Federal security agents
- Respiratory therapists
- Nurse managers
- Probation officer
- Rehabilitation specialist
- And more!
Knowing that you want to make an impact, and help others in need, is only the first step in your educational journey. Now you must think about how you will make a difference, and the type of role you are interested in. Do you want to be on the frontlines of your community, protecting their safety or their public health? Do you wish to work in healthcare, helping patients directly? Or do you see yourself as a manager, directing and coordinating services that will in turn help others in need?
The choice is up to you. No matter which path you take, Goodwin can help you accomplish your goals. Learn about our various degree programs by visiting us online here, or calling 800-889-3282 to speak with an admissions counselor.
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.