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Top 12 Jobs that Help People

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Perhaps Fred Rogers said it best when quoting his mother’s words in times of trouble, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” If you want to be one of those people helping, read on to learn about the best jobs that help people.

When you are interested in serving those around you, be it individuals, families, communities, or entire systems of social impact, it can serve you to pursue higher education in fields that help people.  Volunteering as a helper can push you to places you’ve never been before, but to meet troubles at their roots, to pursue answers and solve problems, cure illness, or positively affect change, a degree can make all of the difference for you and those around you.

The jobs you may be looking for can range from healthcare careers and social work to psychology or public administration. Jobs focused on community service or general life improvement can earn you a decent living, bring great purpose to your life, and make a lasting impact.

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.

The Educated, Paid, Successful Helper

What does it mean to serve in the year 2021?  The number of homeless Americans is currently over 320 million.  Over 47 million Americans require professional treatment for mental illness.  Health insurance costs are high, homes are difficult to afford.  People need to eat and feel secure in their communities.  The effects of urbanization can negatively impact entire populations based on race or poverty.  Children, adults and elderly alike are in need of helpers every day.

There are opportunities to volunteer, donate possessions, build homes and listen to those in need, and those fulfilling occasions can bring one closer to affecting change.  However, there are some positions which can only be filled by degree-holding, experienced professionals.  That’s where GetEducated comes in, offering the tools to find the degrees you need to make your dream a professional pathway.  This article will provide you with the top helping careers of today, while providing the best degrees to proceed toward those professions online.

Top 12 Careers That Help People

The following list encompasses the best, highest paying, and most in-demand helping careers of 2021.  Each listing includes the median annual salary, entry-education level, and projected outlook based on information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The occupations are listed in order of highest to lowest demand, or in cases where the demand is the same, highest to lowest salary.

1. Speech-Language Pathologist

Median Annual Salary: $80,480
Entry-level Education: Master’s degree
Growth: 29%

Speech and language pathologists treat those with a variety of disorders or problems inhibiting speech, language, and swallowing.  These professionals use their education to improve the lives of patients in need of individualized treatment, therapies, and counsel.  A master’s degree is generally required for this career, and licensing is required by all states. Because of licensing requirements, it is crucial that your education comes from an accredited school to work in one of these rewarding helping careers.  If you have already earned a bachelor’s degree, and are considering pursuing the next academic level to achieve this high-paying, in-demand job, look for a master’s in speech pathology online.  Work with healthcare professionals, in schools, or in your own professional practice and begin helping people as a speech pathologist.

Popular Pick: Master of Speech-Language Pathology from Calvin University

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2. Marriage and Family Therapist

Median Annual Salary: $51,340
Entry-level Education: Master’s degree
Growth: 16%

Marriage and family therapy is an area of psychology focused on a specific market.  Issues these therapists tackle can include divorcing couples, people experiencing layoffs, behavioral difficulties, future planning, and emotional discussions.  You need a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy, and, thankfully, you can now pursue MFT programs online.  The top 10% can expect earnings over $92,930, and the expected growth at 16% is driven by an increase in the use of integrated care that addresses multiple problems at once.  Check out the links below for GetEducated’s top online MFT degree picks.

Best Buy: Master of Arts in Human Services Counseling / Marriage & Family from Liberty University

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3. Respiratory Therapist

Median Annual Salary: $62,810
Entry-level Education: Associate’s degree
Growth: 23%

Imagine waking up every day and struggling to simply get enough air to your lungs.  Respiratory therapists work with people who have trouble breathing.  By interviewing and examining patients, consulting with physicians, performing tests, and treating patients through a variety of methods, respiratory therapists can help make breathing easier.

One of the top benefits of 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 $89,170. 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.  If you are detail-oriented, compassionate, and have a knack for science and math, this could be an ideal career for you.

4. Social Service Managers

Median Annual Salary: $69,600
Entry-level Education: Bachelor’s degree
Growth: 15%

Communities need excellent programs to ensure the wellbeing and happiness of citizens, and social service managers fit this need. 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.  This job does not require an advanced degree beyond a bachelor’s, but you will likely need 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 the top 10% can command a salary over $115,800. The growth of this career is tied to the aging population, which requires services from meal delivery to living assistance.

Sponsored Pick: Bachelor of Arts in Business Management / Nonprofit Management from Aurora University

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5. Occupational Therapists

Median Annual Salary: $86,280
Entry-level Education: Master’s degree
Growth: 17%

Occupational therapy is a healthcare career that assists the injured, ill or disabled in learning or relearning to perform a wide variety of daily activities, helping them develop and sustain the skills needed for daily life. This rehabilitation career, which is one of the best jobs for helping people, brings an excellent income. Entry-level education generally requires a master’s degree; GetEducated recommends a master’s in physical therapy online. Once you graduate, proper licensing and certification are required. License requirements vary by state, but all require candidates to complete a nationally-recognized exam.

The top 10% in this field earn over $120,000, making this one of the best-paying careers that help people. With an expected 17% growth, there should be plenty of job opportunities. If you have good communication skills, the patience to work with injured and disabled individuals, and compassionate dedication to helping people, this could be the right career for you.

Popular Pick: Master of Science in Rehabilitation Science from Lasell University

View More Rehabilitation Therapies Master's Degrees

6. Social Worker

Median Annual Salary: $51,760
Entry-level Education: Bachelor’s degree
Growth: 12%

Of all the available jobs that serve, a social work career 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 is to use your skills, education, and training to help people solve and cope with problems.  The top 10% earn over $85,820, making this one of the best careers for people who want to help others. The 12% growth results from people recognizing mental health and overall wellbeing as part of a quality lifestyle. To work in this profession, you only need a BSW, or an online bachelor’s degree in social work if you need to balance your education with a current job. You also need licensing through your state. In some cases, you may need a master’s degree, but generally an undergraduate degree is the only entry-level educational requirement.

Best Buy: Bachelor of Social Work from King University

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7. Career Counselor

Median Annual Salary: $58,120
Entry-level Education: Master’s degree
Growth: 11%

While commonly associated with high schools, career counselors work in a variety of professional settings, making their services available to people at all stages of life. They evaluate abilities, discuss interests, and administer aptitude tests to find the careers that best fit a person’s goals and skills. The top 10% can expect salaries over $97,910. Consider an online master’s in human services or online graduate counseling programs to land a job as a career counselor. 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; some areas may require that you have experience teaching or counseling in some manner. Providing advice is fundamental to this profession, starting with good listening and compassion. Add in quality communication and interpersonal skills, and you have the makings for an excellent career counselor.

GetEducated’s Pick: Graduate Certificate in College & Career Counseling from University of Memphis

8. Registered Nurse

Median Annual Salary: $75,330
Entry-level Education: Bachelor’s degree
Growth: 9%

Nurses serve and assess patients, administer treatments, set up care plans, and collaborate with doctors, surgeons, and other healthcare experts on a day-to-day basis. From testing to logging medical records, nurses are the fuel that keeps the healthcare system running. To become a registered nurse, you need a bachelor’s degree in nursing.  If you are currently a working RN, consider pursuing online RN to BSN programs.  After completing your degree, comes licensing, which is required in all states. While only a BSN is required, this career brings an outstanding salary. The top 10% in this field can expect to earn over $116,230.  To fully excel in this career, you not only need the education, but you also need a compassionate heart and a patient mind. In a nursing career, you will have the pride of knowing that every day you are improving people’s health and wellbeing.

Popular Pick: Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) from Norwich University

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9. Police Officers

Median Annual Salary: $67,290
Entry-level Education: High School Diploma or College degree
Growth: 7%

While the positive position of police officers today is a public debate, by protecting our communities and enforcing laws, they make the list as one of the top jobs that help people. Duties 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 some college courses are required for many positions, especially federal law-enforcement work.

A degree in law enforcement or criminal justice will be highly beneficial.  For those who wish to attend school while continuing to work, online criminal justice degrees are available across the country. The top 10% in this career can earn over $113,860, marking this as one of the best-paying jobs that help people. Good judgment, physical strength, stamina, and great communication skills are crucial to this career. So is caring, patience, and the ability to understand people’s problems at a personal level.

Best Buy: Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from University of Cincinnati

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10. Emergency Management Directors

Median Annual Salary: $76,250
Entry-level Education: Bachelor’s degree
Growth: 6%

When a flood, hurricane, earthquake, or any type of disaster strikes, people often demonstrate their true goodness. Emergency management directors manage and organize relief efforts, resources and fundraisers to ensure the best possible results for those affected by natural or man-made catastrophes. EMD’s assess emergency situations and respond as needed, often meeting with public officials and the general public to coordinate efforts. Most are employed by state, national, or local governments. Consider an emergency management bachelor’s degree online if you are currently employed and seeking to pursue this career.  Some states will require certification 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 that help people.

Sponsored Pick: Bachelor of Arts in Emergency Management from Notre Dame College

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11. Correctional Treatment Specialists

Median Annual Salary: $55,690
Entry-level Education: Bachelor’s degree
Growth: 4%

In some careers, people seek your help. In other careers that help people, such as correctional treatment specialists, 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 their lives around. Specific tasks 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. 

GetEducated recommends online criminal justice degree programs so you can balance your current career with your professional pursuits. Most positions ask that you work for at least a year in a lower position before being hired as a correctional treatment specialist. This job requires strong emotional stability, good analytical skills, excellent communication, and solid decision-making qualities.

Popular Pick: Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Purdue University Global

12. Psychologists

Median Annual Salary: $82,180
Entry-level Education: Doctoral degree
Growth: 8%

Modern psychology is built on the work of innovative, historical thinkers such as Sigmund Freud and Ivan Pavlov. These professionals provide effective methods to help people deal with emotional and cognitive problems. This career is known to have a strong income, with the top 10% earning over $137,590 a year. You will 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.) 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, working with people, and are interested in how the human mind operates, you may excel as a psychologist.

Best Buy: Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology / General Psychology from Liberty University

View More Psychology Doctoral Degrees

Find a Career that Helps People Today

Helping others is a noble, honorable pursuit.  It deepens human connection, provides relief to those struggling, and helps us recognize when and how individuals, groups, and communities need help in some of the darkest times.  While volunteering is accessible and free, to make lasting impacts and truly affect change can require a degree.  GetEducated provides information on the top online degrees at affordable prices to anyone searching for the next phase of their lives helping others.  By reading this article, you’ve already taken a step closer to finding the best careers that help people.  Browse our site to learn more about what an online education could mean for you!

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