Do you have big dreams of saving the world, but are unsure where to start? Maybe you have a comfortable job, but you’re not passionate about what you do. Perhaps you wish to be out in the field, changing lives and making a real difference with your career. Maybe you are kicking off your education this fall, and trying to decide which college major can help you reach your goals.
No matter where you are – professionally and personally – at this point in time, know that an impactful career is within your reach. You have the ability to make the world a better place. There are hundreds of careers that make a difference, that you encounter every day.
We often hear the phrase, “Not all Heroes wear capes,” and it’s true! Heroes are often found in scrubs, on the frontlines of medical care. Sometimes they are found in uniform out on the streets, responding to accidents, disasters, and emergencies. Sometimes they are found in homes, taking care of elderly and disabled people who need help with daily living. And often, they are found in classrooms influencing children’s lives.
In this article, we will explore some of the most rewarding careers that make a difference in the world, in hopes of helping you find a path that fits your interests and goals. All of the below career options can be achieved with just a little postsecondary education, and all will allow you to become a difference-maker long-term. Let’s dive in.
10 Careers that Make a Difference
Many career paths have the potential to make a difference, whether direct or indirect. The following 10 careers are ones that all make a positive impact in the communities in which they work, and are ranked in no particular order. In addition, all of the careers below can be attained through one of the career-focused programs at Goodwin University.
Nurses are some of the most valuable members of the medical team, perhaps now more than ever before, amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Nurses are responsible for taking care of sick, injured, and disabled patients in need. They not only make a difference in the lives of their patients, but in the lives of patients’ family members. For this reason, nursing is a very rewarding career.
There are many types of nurses out there, and we couldn’t just limit this to one. There are Registered Nurses (RNs), along with Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs), and nurses of varying specializations, whether that be in emergency care, family practice, oncology, or even public health. You can learn about the different types of nurses you can become here. Each career will vary in its requisites, but typically can be attained with a nursing degree at the associate, bachelor’s, or master’s level.
- Law Enforcement Officer
Law enforcement officers – such as police officers, correctional officers, and investigators – chief responsibility is to keep the people safe. They are dedicated to protecting and serving their communities, and ensuring that the public safety is maintained on a daily basis. Similar to nursing, there are different types of law enforcement officers. You may find them protecting the streets, responding to emergency calls, investigating crime scenes, and preventing crime or misconduct in their communities. If you are seeking an honorable career as a protector, the law enforcement or criminal justice field may be for you. You can learn more about the many career options here.
- Early Childhood Educator
Educators have the unique ability to influence and inspire young minds. They have a direct influence on the children that they teach, and are able to help students in a multitude of ways. Teachers help children develop important skill sets. They teach children essential knowledge, and guide them to explore and discover their passion areas. Teachers also serve as counselors and confidants, in a way, talking to children about any problems or concerns they may be experiencing.
We all have that one teacher, that one person who really stood out in our academic career. Maybe they helped you figure out your goals in life. Maybe they helped you gain confidence in your social life. Maybe they taught you how to do something, or encouraged you in ways you’ll never forget. No matter how they made a difference in your life, they did – and that’s one of the key benefits of becoming an educator. You can always make a difference.
Teaching careers are available at all different levels, from preschool to college education. It’s argued that early childhood educators have one of the most rewarding careers of all, because infancy through adolescence are the most dynamic years for learning and development. To learn how to become an early childhood educator, visit this article.
- Public Health Worker
Public and community health workers main role is to protect and encourage healthy communities and populations. On a daily basis, they can be found working to prevent the spread of disease, or teaching people within their communities how to stay healthy and safe. You may find a community health worker creating educational resources about public health issues like secondhand-smoking, obesity, workplace safety, or even coronavirus. You may find a public health professional researching infectious disease, or substance abuse, and developing strategies to overcome it. These professionals make a large-scale difference in the lives of others around the world, and for this reason, public health is considered one of the most impactful fields of all.
- Funeral Service Director
A funeral service director, also known as a mortician, is a uniquely rewarding career path. These professionals work closely with grieving families, and help them through some of the most difficult times of their lives. In addition to helping family members plan a funeral, morticians serve as a support system, a confidant, and in many ways, a counselor to the people with which they work. At the end of the day, families grateful to have a compassionate, organized, and dedicated professional to help them through the darkest of days. If you enjoy working with people and helping them in times of need, rest assured that mortuary science is one of the most rewarding careers you can pursue.
- Human Service Worker
Human services is a broad field that encompasses a variety of careers that can make a difference. After all, human services is all about helping others. Within this discipline, you will be able to help others in times of crisis – including, but not limited to, people who are disabled, who are addicted to drugs and alcohol, who are facing homelessness, who survived domestic violence, and who struggle with mental health issues. You may work with people across the lifespan, from toddlers to teenagers, and adults to senior citizens. Discover some of the many human services career options here.
- Occupational Therapy Assistant
Occupational Therapy Assistants (OTAs) main responsibility is to help patients develop (or re-gain) important skills that are needed for daily living. In many ways, they help people find independence in life! You may find an OTA helping a person after a severe hand injury, to retrain their muscles to write, eat, or even operate equipment at work. You may also find OTAs in classrooms, working with young children who are developmentally-delayed, helping them to establish basic motor skills. Occupational Therapy Assistants work in a variety of settings – from hospitals to private practices, schools to nursing homes – to help their patients develop the skills to live a more fulfilling life. Talk about making a difference!
- Respiratory Therapist
Breathing is essential for life, and respiratory therapists main role is to ensure their patients are able to do just this. Respiratory therapists, much like their name implies, work with patients who suffer from respiratory problems like asthma, emphysema, and cardio-pulmonary or lung disorders. Like many healthcare professionals, respiratory therapists are responsible for saving and sustaining lives. It is their job to make a difference every day. Learn about the day-to-day of a respiratory therapist here.
- Manufacturing Worker
We know what you’re thinking – how can a manufacturing worker, make a real difference in the lives of others? We’ll put it simply. Look around you. Do you see the computer on which you’re working? Do you see the car parked outside? Do you see the pipes in your kitchen, the plane in the sky, or the bridge down the road? All of those things – and more – would not be possible without the work of manufacturers. Modern manufacturing careers are innovative and high-tech, in efforts to give the world and people the materials and products they need to live life successfully.
- Non-profit Business Director
A non-profit or not-for-profit organization is a type of business or entity that is dedicated to furthering or advocating for a certain cause. Examples of non-profit organizations include many adoption agencies, museums, wildlife foundations, and social service organizations like UNICEF and Feeding America. Non-profit organizations exist across every industry, including healthcare with non-profits like the Red Cross, the American Cancer Society, and the Alzheimer’s Foundation. Every non-profit is devoted to a cause they care about, and the directors of these businesses main role is to drive that cause forward. If you are passionate about business or leadership, and have a strong desire to make a difference, a career within the non-profit space may be the path for you. Typically, a business administration degree, or another leadership focused degree (such as the MSOL at Goodwin) could get you where you hope to go.
Goodwin University searched up and down our roster of inspirational and career-focused degree programs, to put together the above list. By no means is this inclusive of every career that makes a difference – because in some ways, we are all making a difference in the world. There are thousands of different types of healthcare workers, criminal justice professionals, educators, business executives, social service workers, public health professionals, and more – all working to make a direct or indirect difference in their communities.
Start your dream career today, and start making an impact in the lives of others. At Goodwin University, it is our goal to get you into a career you love and are passionate about. Please don’t hesitate to explore our degree programs here, or reach out by requesting more information online.
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.