Career Options for People Who Need to Make a Difference to the World

by Jenn

When it comes to choosing your future career, there are lots of different options to think about. Career options are wide and varied and, for the most part, you can be anything you like if you’re willing to put in the work that it will take to get there. Whether you have recently graduated high school, are still in high school or are considering a change of career later in life, there are many reasons to consider a career path that gives you the option to help others and make a difference to the world. Some people think about money and power when choosing their career, while others will pick their line of work based on how much of an impact they can have in the lives of others. If you are a helpful and caring person who always likes to be there for others, a career where you can make a difference is probably something that you are thinking about. 

Today, the world needs more caring and empathetic people like you. There are lots of different career roles where the work that you do will be remembered and you will often have the chance to make a real difference in the lives of the people that you are working with. Whether you go into healthcare, working with the victims of crime, helping people rehabilitate after spending time in prison or working with children who are in sad family situations, supportive people are needed everywhere in a range of different roles. Some of the best roles to consider if you want a career where you can make a difference to others include:

Social Worker

When it comes to social work jobs, there are plenty of options to consider. Social workers are professionals who provide care and support where it is needed most, often working with some of the most vulnerable members of society including children, vulnerable adults and the elderly. Social workers are needed in a variety of different settings including hospitals, governments, homeless and domestic violence shelters, career centers, mental health and crisis centers, community centers, non-profit organizations and private industries, veteran’s support organizations, colleges and schools and many more. Whatever your area of interest or whatever type of people you would like to help the most, working as a social worker allows you to find a lot of opportunities to make a meaningful difference in the lives of the people that you work with on a regular basis. 


Nursing is widely known as a job where you get to make a difference in the lives of others on a daily basis. Nurses work in a range of different healthcare settings including hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices and more. They are also needed in prisons, schools, and other community settings. As a nurse, you may often find yourself working with people who may be going through some of the toughest or most frightening times of their lives. Your ability to be there, care, and empathize with these people can make a huge difference to how they feel and their ability to recover. In addition to being a career path where you can be there for others, nursing is also one with a lot of opportunities. As a nurse, you will never be short of chances to progress in your career whether you are interested in working in advanced nursing roles like a nurse practitioner, or want to get into management, leadership and education. 

Probation Officer

If you want to make the world a safer and happier place, you might consider a role as a probation officer. Probation officers work with people who have been recently released from jail or have been sentenced to probation to offer support and make sure that they are staying on the straight and narrow. While it is not always an easy job and not everybody that you work with is going to be open to the idea of rehabilitation, it can be highly rewarding to know that you have made a difference in the lives of at least some of the people that you have worked with, supporting them to turn their lives around and do something meaningful rather than going back into crime. Often, people who get mixed up in crime are not bad people, but rather victims of their circumstances. Probation officers can help to turn those circumstances around and offer advice, support and encouragement. 

There has been a lot of research on mental health training for probation officers, with concerns surrounding the growing numbers of probationers with mental illnesses — but what about the officers themselves? How does their job influence their ongoing mental health?

Being a probation officer is a stressful job. Data shows that stress levels have increased in recent years because of greater violence by offenders on parole and probation. This exposes officers to violence and opens the doors for threats. Combined with excess paperwork and high caseloads, the life of a probation officer isn’t a walk in the park. But rest assured, there is Mental Health Treatment for Probation Officers available for those who need it.


EMTs and paramedics are often the first people on the scene in a medical emergency or accident. Working in this role gives you the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of the people that you will be working with, and in many cases even save lives. As an EMT, you could find yourself responding to a wide variety of different situations from serious accidents and injuries to mental health crises, and helping people who are in danger. It may be an ideal job for you to consider if you want work that is exciting and thrilling while giving you the option to help and be there for others at the same time. 


If you prefer the idea of working business hours and don’t want your job to be dangerous or too fast-paced, working as a teacher could be a great way to make a difference in a more structured environment. Aside from parents, teachers are the main adults that have an impact on a child’s life as they are growing up and your skills, knowledge, and empathy as a teacher can have all the difference when it comes to helping your students succeed. Along with teaching children about a specific subject, teachers are also very instrumental in helping kids learn about some key aspects of life including social interaction, conflict resolution, healthy living, consent and more. There are even climate education jobs that you can use your teachers degree with.

As mandated reporters, teachers are also there to keep children safe and quickly act on any signs that something is not right. Because of this, teachers are often able to help get children out of dangerous or harmful situations and in some cases may even save the child’s life. 

Police Officer

The police aren’t just there for fighting crime and arresting criminals – helping and protecting others is also a key part of this role. As a police officer, you will be working to keep communities safer by apprehending criminals and providing education and protection to the public. No two days are the same in the life of a police officer and this is a very fast-paced and exciting career choice where you will be working with a wide range of different situations on a daily basis, making it an ideal choice of work for somebody who isn’t interested in a predictable 9-5 role. 


If you are interested in the sciences and have achieved high grades so far, a career in medicine could be the ideal choice for you. Working as a physician allows you to be there for and make a difference to others in many different ways when it comes to their health. And, there are currently fewer medical students going into primary care, meaning that the demand for primary care physicians across the US is on the rise. Working as a medical doctor is often viewed as the most highly respected healthcare career. Working in this role will give you several opportunities to specialize in an area that you are the most interested in, whether you want to work with a specific patient population or focus your career on treating people with certain conditions and illnesses. 


As the world has been gripped by the COVID-19 pandemic over the past eighteen months, it has become clearer than ever before that we need good mental health services everywhere. As a result of the pandemic, more people have suffered with their mental health, leading to a higher rate of anxiety and depression in the general population in particular. Because of this, the demand for mental health counselors is on the rise as more people seek help for these issues and realize just how widespread they are. As a counselor, you could work with a wide range of people to help improve their situation. Many counselors work with individuals who are suffering with their mental health or have experienced traumatic events in the past. Others work with couples to help improve their relationship while some focus on helping families work better together. 


If you like the idea of helping others reach their full potential, coaching could be a career choice for you. There are several different types of coaching to consider depending on what you are interested in. Business coaches work with people who want to start their own company, while career coaches tend to work in schools and colleges to help young people decide on the right career choice for them and achieve their goals. On the other hand, if helping people live healthier and more fulfilling lives sounds like something you would be interested in, you could consider working as a health, exercise or nutrition coach. 

If you can’t imagine a life where you don’t get to help others, one of these career options could be the perfect choice for you. 

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