The best careers to pursue, for those who want to make a difference

Finding the right career can be a lot of hard work. It’s difficult to decide, whether early in life or later on, what job would be the right fit for you and what you want to achieve. Often, people want to find ways to make a difference to the world around them, be that through helping your local communities, pursuing justice or saving the lives of others. Luckily, there are many different career paths that can lead to fulfilment and making a positive impact on the world. This article will discuss some of the career options available, how they could make a great fit for you and leave you with confidence to start studying and working towards a concrete goal.

Medicine and healthcare

Working in the field of medicine is often considered one of the most meaningful jobs someone can pursue, and it’s easy to see why. Healthcare professionals work tirelessly to not only save lives, but also to improve the quality of life for the sick in any way they can, and even make the dying as comfortable as possible. 

For those who want to save lives, medicine is the natural career path to go down. This doesn’t always mean a hands-on role. Besides pursuing a career as a doctor or nurse, you could also look into work that is more focused on research or development. 

How to qualify to work in medicine

Medicine tends to be one of the most rigorously demanding fields when it comes to studying for qualifications. It takes many years to become qualified at a professional level for most medical degrees. Typically, you’ll have to complete a qualification ranging from 3-6 years at university. In addition, you may need to complete a postgraduate degree for specific fields such as anesthesiology. There’s also a period of understudy or internship necessary before you can qualify as a fully-fledged medical professional.

Judicial, law and civil service

A career in the judicial system is the perfect place for people who are outraged by injustices. In the legal world, it’s possible to make a big difference in the world through the enforcement and enactment of laws. Becoming a lawyer is a great path for those who feel strongly about justice, and through this position, you can defend the innocent or prosecute the criminals of society. It can be an extremely fulfilling career for those who stick to their principles and want to use their position to defend the vulnerable members of society. 

That said, there are other options to pursue in the legal world. If acting as a lawyer doesn’t sound appealing, you can pursue a more administrative role and work to create the fabric of the law. This allows you to suggest fresh perspectives and define legislation. By working with and weaving the wording of the law, you can close loopholes and create a more comprehensible legal system for the betterment of society. This might not seem the most glamourous role, but it has one of the biggest impacts to society of any, as it creates the basic structure that the law works around and can have effects for generations to come.

How to start a career in law

The judicial system is another difficult field to get into, requiring rigorous study and knowledge of a significant amount of legal framework. To become a lawyer, you will typically need a law degree from an accredited university, which generally takes three years of full-time study, and you may also need to complete a postgraduate degree in legal practice. Finally, you’ll need to pass the bar exam in order to qualify as a fully-fledged lawyer. There are other methods for getting into the legal system, including a variety of different specialized postgraduate degrees for different professions, but they all tend to require a large amount of studying and academic work to become qualified.

Charity sector and social care 

Sometimes, what feels most important is connecting with people on an individual level and working with those who need the most help directly. This is where working with disadvantaged and at-risk individuals can make a difference. It makes for an extremely fulfilling experience that can improve the quality of life of those around you in real, observable ways every day. 

The charity sector has a lot of possible choices for a career, including fundraising, outreach, trust management and more. While all sectors of a charity are important, many may want to be more personally involved with the people they’re helping. There are plenty of roles that can help others. The social care sector is perfect for this. For those wishing to pursue careers in social work, you’ll have many opportunities to help others once you have earned a degree from an institution such as Keuka College. You can serve as a social worker at a school if you wish to help at-risk children and teenagers, or as a clinical social worker for those suffering from chronic and terminal illnesses. Alternatively, supporting neurodivergent people and others suffering from mental illness is also possible. This work is often difficult but provides unparalleled satisfaction as you get to know people and play an active role in improving their lives. 

How to work in the charity sector or in social care

The steps to be a social worker or charity worker can vary. Some fields will require qualifications to understand the subject matter, but generally, these professions are not degree dependent, though there are degrees in social care that are sometimes required and often give a boost to applicants. 

Keep in mind that these jobs tend to have very extensive background checks in place, as there is a lot of caution around who can work with at-risk people. A license is therefore required for most social work, which often requires FBI fingerprint checks for those that apply. There may also be drug tests as part of an application, along with sex offender registry checks, criminal record checks and motor vehicle record checks. There may also be steps taken to verify your identity, license, education history and employment history. As a result, any sort of criminal record, negligence or dishonesty can lead to disqualification from becoming a social worker, making it a fairly high barrier for entry.

Education and teaching

Teaching is an often overlooked but extremely selfless profession. These individuals dedicate themselves to educating others, supporting young adults and children and shaping their growth as they grow into adulthood. Educating others is very fulfilling, and more than that, educators are often one of the most trusted and reliable figures in the lives of their students. This can make this job a big responsibility, but for those who can handle it, it can be a great joy to shape young minds and help raise them to be responsible young adults. 

While being a teacher is the main path to pursue in the education sector, there are other roles available for those that want to pursue a different kind of place in the education sector. Teaching assistants are always in demand and provide another method to get involved in hands-on education while building valuable experiences without some of the academic qualifications a regular teacher does. You may also want to pursue education at a higher level, in which case you might pursue becoming a university professor. Additionally, educational psychologists, librarians and academic inspectors are all critical roles within education that can bring a lot of joy and fulfilment to those who really want to make a difference without being hands-on teachers.

How to become a teacher

Becoming a teacher can be a fairly rigorous process. To get started, you’ll almost certainly need an undergraduate degree in the subject you want to teach or a subject related to it. You’ll also need to complete your state’s teacher preparation program, which can often be completed adjacent to your studies at university. This qualifies you to be a teacher within your state, though there are still more steps to take before you’re fully certified. Next will be undertaking a student internship program for the subject you wish to teach in order to get well situated with your course and the content you’ll be teaching. Finally, you’ll have to take some form of exam in order to be qualified to acquire your teaching license, which allows you to teach independently. This varies greatly by state, so be sure to do your research beforehand. After all that, you can apply for your teaching license and should receive it shortly after.

Arts and humanities

While often undervalued in favor of fields that seem more directly practical or lucrative, the arts and humanities sector offers you the opportunity to find personal fulfilment, freedom in your career and the chance to make a profound impact on others. Through the arts, you can create a wide range of media that changes the lives of others through books, TV, music and paintings. The arts play a role in changing society’s perspectives on political and social issues, shifting cultures and generally impacting peoples lives. 

Arts and humanities is a very wide field with a range of careers to choose from, such as traditional art forms like painting and sculpture to digital media, graphic design and writing. There are truly limitless roles within the creative sector to suit your personal interests and passions. 

Just as there are a great many roles to choose from, there are also lots of ways to make a difference in this sector. Whether you’re a museum curator helping preserve history and culture or a sociologist helping us understand each other and foster cultural understanding, the arts and humanities sector offers a diverse range of career opportunities for individuals who wish to make a difference in the world. Art therapists can help create breath-taking representations of mental illness while helping those who suffer from it communicate effectively. A writer may choose to tell stories that reflect underrepresented communities or promote empathy and understanding towards different cultures. While qualifications may be required for certain professions, there are also opportunities for those who have natural talent or skills in an area. Making a difference in this field can range from preserving cultural heritage to promoting diversity and social change.

Working in the arts and humanities sector

There are various paths to pursuing a career in the arts and humanities sector. Depending on your area of interest, you may need formal education or qualifications. For instance, art historian positions might require a university degree in art history at a minimum of undergraduate level. More technically intensive fields like graphic design are more likely to require a degree, but they also tend to rely heavily on an individual’s own portfolio of work, meaning there’s room for exceptional graphic designers without formal education but a good collection of previous work. 

There are plenty of other professions with the arts and humanity field that don’t require a degree. Artists and writers tend to rely entirely on the quality of the work they produce rather than the value of any formal education, so as long as a proposed art piece is admired or a proposed manuscript is liked by editors, they can find success in their field. Additionally, administrative roles such as editorial assistants and museum assistants are available to those that don’t have the qualifications to immediately work in the higher roles of the field they’re pursuing.

Growth and sustainability 

Growth and sustainability careers are all about addressing what matters most in the world and trying to change it. Many people try to make a positive impact on the Earth through individual action, and for those who really want to dedicate their lives to it, there are careers to pursue. This can come in the form of developing renewable energy technologies, advocating for sustainable consumption of resources to fight climate change, revolutionizing agriculture to be more sustainable and less damaging to the planet and the food we eat, or focusing on reducing the waste humans produce to clean up the planet and make sure resources are shared among those who need it rather than being thrown away.

There are plenty of roles to pursue in the growth and sustainability sector, whether it’s actively fighting against the misuse of the planet’s resources as a sustainability reporter or in a more scientific way through the research and development of renewable energy sources as a environmental engineer or conservations scientist. While all roles are important, many people may want to work in areas where they can make a personal impact. Working in fields such as sustainable agriculture or environmental education, for example, allows individuals to connect with people on a local level and promote environmentally friendly practices in their communities. The growth and sustainability sector is a desirable field to work in for people who want to make a positive impact on the world. By promoting sustainable practices and addressing environmental issues, individuals can make a tangible difference and contribute to a more sustainable future for all.

How to work in growth and sustainability

For those wishing to pursue a career in the growth and sustainability sector, there are many paths to take. While some jobs may require specialized knowledge or certifications, many do not require specific degrees. However, applicants may need to demonstrate knowledge and experience in areas such as environmental science, engineering or sustainability practices, and a background in science or an academic qualification in a science may be necessary to get past preliminary checks. 

Similar to social care and charity work, the growth and sustainability sector also requires extensive background checks to ensure that individuals who work with at-risk communities are trustworthy and reliable, depending on the nature of the role, since many work with sensitive information or require extensive communication with others. Applicants may be required to undergo background checks, drug tests, criminal record checks, motor vehicle record checks and more. Any negative record or indication of dishonesty may disqualify an applicant from pursuing a career in this field.