The independent, trusted guide to online education for over 23 years!

Top 12 Jobs that Help People

Jobs that help people are excellent career choicesMost people only daydream about having jobs that helps people every day. But some make it happen. Don’t assume that in order to make a decent living, you have to work in a job that is not focused on community service or generally improving the lives of people.

This assumption is false. There are numerous careers that help people, and many of them are meaningful jobs that also bring an outstanding salary.

Careers in healthcare, social work, psychology, and community organization improve people’s lives in a lasting, impactful way, and they also bring salaries well above $50,000 a year.

So what are some of the top jobs that serve? Let’s look at 12 unique jobs that help people and see how you can have a philanthropist career while still earning a strong income…

Top 12 Careers that Help People

  1. Occupational Therapists

    Salary: $84,270
    Education: Master’s or doctorate
    Growth: 18%

    Occupational therapy is a healthcare career that assists people in learning or relearning to perform a wide variety of daily activities, ranging from simple things like getting dressed, to more complex tasks like cooking, driving, or using a computer. These professionals work with sick, injured, or disabled individuals, helping them develop and maintain the skills needed for daily living. This career, which is one of the best jobs in the world, brings an excellent income, but it generally requires a master’s degree, which takes a total of six to eight years of college education. When studying this helpful career path, you will study numerous physical- and mental-health topics, including biology, physiology, psychology, and more. Once you graduate, proper licensing and certification is required. License requirements vary by state, but all require candidates to complete a nationally-recognized exam. When working in this career, you can expect a median salary of $84,270, but the top 10% in this field earn over $120,000, making this a one of the best-paying careers that help people. With an expected 18% growth, there should also be plenty of opportunities. If you have good communication skills, the patience to work with injured and disabled individuals, and a compassionate dedication to helping people, this could be the right career for you.

  2. Psychologists

    Salary: $79,010
    Education: Doctorate (Master’s may suffice for some jobs)
    Growth: 14%

    Psychology is a career field that dates back centuries and includes famous thinkers like Sigmund Freud and Ivan Pavlov. Modern psychology, of course, it built on the work of these innovators, creating even more effective ways to help people deal with emotional and cognitive problems. Today, psychologists are in high demand, with an expected 14% growth thanks to a renewed focus on treating mental issues in school and work. This career is known to have a strong income, with the top 10% earning over $129,000 a year. However, you will likely need a doctorate to work one of these meaningful jobs, although school and industrial organizations may hire psychologists with only a master’s degree. In most states, licensing is required, but the details surrounding licensing (exams, internships, etc) will vary by location. Using deep analytical skills and interpersonal communication, this career helps people from all walks of life. This is without a doubt a difficult career, but if you enjoy problem solving, like working with people, and are interested in how the human mind operates, you may excel as a psychologist.

  3. Speech Pathologist

    Salary: $77,510
    Education: Master’s degree
    Growth: 27%

    Speech and communication issues can create a wide variety of problems for people of all ages. It can create learning, social, and developmental problems that last a lifetime. Just imagine if you could not communicate in an effective way with the people around you; how hard would that make your life? Speech pathologist use their education to help people deal with speech and language difficulties, helping people improve confidence while developing the person’s ability to create sounds. It can also include helping people develop their vocabulary and overcome speech impediments, such as stuttering or lisps. A master’s degree is generally required for this career, and licensing is required by all states. Because of licensing needs it’s crucial that your education comes from an accredited school to work in one of these rewarding careers. In this career, you can expect a strong median salary, and if you work your way to the top 10% of the profession, you can expect a salary over $120,000. There is also an expected growth of 27%, driven largely by an increased awareness of the harmful effects of lingering speech disorders. Communication and listening skills are important, but you also have to be a compassionate person with strong analytical thinking to excel as a speech pathologist.

  4. Emergency Management Directors

    Salary: $74,420
    Education: Bachelor’s degree
    Growth: 5%

    When a flood, hurricane, earthquake, and any other type of natural or even manmade disaster strikes, people often demonstrate their true goodness. Relief efforts and donations often (but not always) come quickly, but someone has to manage and organize these efforts to ensure the best possible results. This is responsibility of an emergency management director, one of the most rewarding careers available. These directors assess emergency situations and respond as needed, often meeting with public officials and the general public to coordinate efforts, such as the distribution of food, water, tools, and other resources. Most of them are employed by state, national, or local governments. Some states will require certifications in order to qualify for the position, and many governments offer additional training to help increase your skills before moving into one of these jobs. This job has an excellent salary, and the top 10% earn over $141,000. The demand for this career is only expected to be at 5%, the same as the national average for all jobs. With only a bachelor’s degree, which takes about four years to complete, you can move into one of these well-paying jobs that help people.

  5. Registered Nurse

    Salary: $71,730
    Education: Bachelor’s

    Nurses do so much that it’s impossible to image healthcare without them. People working in these jobs that serve assess patients, administer treatments, set up care plans, and collaborate with doctors, surgeons, and other healthcare experts. From testing to logging medical records, nurses are the fuel that keeps the healthcare system running. To become a registered nursee, you need a bachelor’s degree in nursing, often called a “BSN.” (Bachelor’s of Science degree in Nursing.) During your education, you will study physiology, anatomy, nutrition, biology, and many other subjects. After completing your degree, you’ll need proper licenses, which are required in all states. While only a bachelor’s degree is required, this career brings an outstanding salary. The median salary is $71,730, but the 10% in this field can expect to earn over $106,000. Another advantage is the 12% expected growth; by 2028, there will likely be over 3.4 million registered nurses positions. To fully excel in this career, you not only need the education, you also need a compassionate heart and a patient mind. Once you find your job, you will have the pride of knowing that everyday you are improving people’s health and wellbeing.

  6. Social Service Managers

    Salary: $65,320
    Education: Bachelor’s
    Growth: 13%

    Communities need excellent programs to ensure the wellbeing and happiness of citizens, and social services managers fit this need by providing many different services. These professionals work with community members and other stakeholders to identify potential programs and oversee the administration of efforts. They may analyze data, implement community improvements, and manage outreach activities. They will also have to demonstrate to community leaders the effectiveness of their efforts. This job does not require an advanced degree beyond a bachelor’s, but you will likely need some work experience. In most cases, people work as a social worker, counselor, or similar occupation before entering one of these jobs that make a difference. People working in this profession can expect to earn a median salary of $65,320, but if you work your way into the top 10% you will command a salary over $111,150. The growth if this career is also positive; much of the growth is tied to the aging population, which will need services like meal delivery and living assistance.

    GetEducated's Picks

    View all online degrees
  7. Police Officers

    Salary: $61,380
    Education: Some college courses
    Growth: 5%

    It’s hard to image a list of jobs that help people without considering police officers. By protecting our communities and enforcing laws, police are some of the most important people in our communities. Duties in these careers that help people include responding to emergencies, enforcing traffic laws, investigating crimes, and providing security for events. To become a police officer, you need a high school education and appropriate training, although a degree, or at least some college courses, is required for many positions, especially federal law-enforcement work. A degree in law enforcement or criminal justice will be highly beneficial, especially if you want to advance in this career. Because police officers are so important to our society, they are often well paid. They earn a median salary of $61,380, but the top 10% earn over $106,000, making this a well-paying career. (Whether they are paid enough for the important work they do is a matter of debate.) Good judgement, physical strength and stamina, and great communication skills are crucial to this career. So is a caring, patient nature, and the ability to understand people’s problems at a personal level.

  8. Respiratory Therapist

    Salary: $60,280
    Education: Associate’s degree
    Growth: 21%

    Image not being able to breath. Imagine waking up every day and struggling to simply get enough air to your lungs. How hard would that make your daily work? Would you be able to exercise, work in the garden, or shop for groceries? It would make life a daily challenge, but if you had the help of a respiratory therapist, your life might be a little more bearable. Respiratory therapists work with people who have trouble breathing. This work can include interviewing and examining patients, consulting with physicians, performing tests, and treating patients with a variety of methods. One of the top benefits for this career is the education requirements. With an associate’s degree, which takes about two years to complete, you can work in a career where the top 10% earn over $83,520. There is also tremendous growth in this profession, driven by an aging population and an increase in diagnosis for respiratory problems. Licensing for this profession, which is one of the top jobs where you can help people, is required for virtually all areas of the country except Alaska, where national certification, while not required, is highly recommended. If you are detail oriented, compassionate, and have a knack for science and math, this could be an ideal career for you.

  9. Career Counselor

    Salary: $56,310
    Education: Master’s degree
    Growth: 8%

    While commonly associated with high schools, career counselors work in a variety of settings, making their services available to people at all stages of life. They evaluate people’s abilities, discuss interests, and administer aptitude tests to find the right career. They may help people understand the requirements for certain careers, or they will help develop certain skills to help them along the path. The ultimate goal, however, is to help people find a career that will make them happy. The pay for this career is strong, and the top 10% can expect salaries over $94,000. Unfortunately, you will need a master’s degree, which can take as much as eight years of college education. Job outlook is decent, but to truly excel at this career you need a deeply founded belief that your work is truly helping people improve their lives. If you work for a school, state-issued certification is usually required for one of these jobs that make a difference in people’s lives, and some areas may require that you have experience teaching or providing counseling in some manner. Providing advice is fundamental to this profession, but it all starts with good listening and compassion. Add in quality communication and interpersonal skills, and you have the makings for an excellent career counselor.

  10. Correctional Treatment Specialists

    Salary: $53,020
    Education: Bachelor’s degree
    Growth: 3%

    In some careers, people seek your help. In other careers that help people, such as a correctional treatment specialist, people are forced to get your help whether they want it or not. These highly-trained professionals work with habitual offenders, providing counseling and support to help them turn around their lives. Specific tasks can take many different forms. It can include evaluating convicted criminals, connecting them with resources, testing offenders for drug use, and writing reports that will be used in parole hearings or court proceedings. In many cases, it will also include the creation of rehabilitation plans that walk someone through their life changes. These professionals need a bachelor’s degree, and state-sponsored training will also be required. Most will work for at least a year in a lower position before being hired as a correctional treatment specialist. Once you are hired, you could earn over $94,000 if you work your way into the top 10%. To work in this career, you need strong emotional stability, as you will often work with hostile and upset individuals. You also need good analytical skills, excellent communication, and solid decision making.

  11. Marriage and Family Therapist

    Salary: $50,090
    Education: Master’s degree
    Growth: 22%

    Marriage and family problems are common, likely more common than we know. But society is learning that dealing with them in mature ways is a healthy and effective way to handle these issues. With the support of a marriage and family therapist, people have a better chance of coming to positive conclusions, hopefully keeping the family and the marriage intact. These professionals encourage discussions on emotions and experience, and they help clients process and improve their relationships with others. They are often most needed when a marriage is near a divorce or actively divorcing, or when problems like layoffs or tragedies like deaths in the family occur. Although a master's degree is needed, the median salary for these meaningful jobs is $50,090, well above the national median of $38,640. The top 10% can expect earnings over $82,240, and the expected growth is 22%. This growth will be driven by an increase in the use of integrated care that addresses multiple problems at once.

  12. Social Worker

    Salary: $49,470
    Education: Bachelor’s or higher
    Growth: 11%

    Of all the available jobs that serve, this one might be most associated with helping people. As a social worker, you will perform a variety of tasks that improve people’s daily living, including helping people adjust to life’s challenges, identifying client’s needs, and finding resources that people can use. The ultimate goal, however, is to use your skills, education, and training to help people solve and cope with problems. These professionals earn a sizable salary, with a median income of $49,470. The top 10% earn over $81,000, making this one of the best careers for people who want to help others. The 11% growth will result from people recognizing mental health and overall wellbeing as part of a quality lifestyle. To work in this profession, you only need a bachelor’s degree. However, you also need licensing through your state. Is some cases, you may need a master's degree, but generally an undergraduate is the only educational requirement.

    GetEducated's Picks

    View all online degrees


Find a Career that Helps People Today

There are many paths to the education you need to consider one of these jobs that help people. Browse our site for more information on the best online degrees from world-class institutions.

Found 0 Accredited Online Degree Programs
"Oops! No results here. Try a broader search!"


Related Resources

How to Become a Substance Abuse Counselor