Choosing a long-term career path is a major decision for anyone; not the kind of thing that you want to decide in a rush or using faulty reasoning. We’ve all met people who didn’t put the necessary time and consideration into their career choices and have regretted it ever since. No one wants to wake up one day to realize that they are in a job that they don’t enjoy and feel like they are going nowhere in life.
When you are deciding on the right career path for you, there are several things that you need to consider. Whatever you do, don’t take a job just because you have a clear route into it. Sometimes the easiest past available to you is also the least rewarding in the long-term. When you are young and have your whole life in front of you, you won’t think anything of taking a job just so you can earn rent.
However, as you grow older, it becomes harder to work in a job that is not fulfilling and doesn’t enrich you as a person. For those who are passionate about helping other people, a career that gives you the opportunity to improve other people’s lives is an obvious choice. Being able to help other people each and every day of your professional life will provide you with a kind of job satisfaction that would make most people incredibly jealous.
The following careers are all excellent choices for any person that is looking to make a real and measurable difference to other people’s lives while they earn a living. These careers will all keep you satisfied in the long-term.
Teaching and Education
There are few professions that are as noble as teaching. When most people think of a teacher, they envisage someone teaching a room full of children, but teachers can work in a wide range of settings; teaching kids is only one of them. The source of the satisfaction that comes from working as a teacher should be obvious, it is a chance to shape the lives and futures of children and adults and help them to achieve their goals in life.
You can either teach a wide range of subjects or opt for a single specialty. If you have experience already from working in a particular field or industry, you may well be able to use this as the basis for applying for a position as a professor within a university. Many university professors enter the profession not through studying to become a teacher but from gaining experience in the real world and then later training to be a university professor.
The experience of teaching children and adults is very different, and these different approaches tend to appeal to different types of people. Without some time in an actual classroom, it is hard to gauge exactly what the benefits and drawbacks of each setting are. Teaching is rarely what people think it is going to be like; it is a profession that surprises newcomers in a number of different ways.
As a general rule, if you are teaching young children then you will be teaching them the full range of usual subjects – English, math, science, etc. However, most of those who teach teenagers or adults will be teaching them a specific subject. This might be something that they have some real-world experience in, or it might be something that they have trained to teach in. This depends on the age group that you’re teaching, as well as the setting.
If you like, you can even look for work in a setting that caters to those with special needs or disabilities. Some people find that this adds a whole new layer of job satisfaction to their experience. Teaching is always a very rewarding undertaking and a unique chance to help other people, but teaching those who need extra care and attention from educators takes things to the next level.
For most education roles, you will need a degree of some kind. However, there are teaching opportunities that don’t require you to go to university first. You always have the option of working as a teacher’s assistant, for example.
The field of medicine is only able to function when a number of different people work together. There is no single setting or role that is more important than any other in terms of supporting the medical industry. There are the obvious roles like doctors and nurses (which we’ll talk about in more detail shortly), but there is also a whole host of auxiliary roles that are just as essential for ensuring that healthcare institutions are able to function properly.
Not all of these roles require direct contact with patients, which is something that not everyone is prepared for. However, even those roles in the medical field that don’t involve any direct contact with patients are still hugely rewarding and you still know that you are making a real difference to people’s lives. Looking at medical roles outside of the hospital will also give you more scope to incorporate other interests and passions of yours.
For example, if you are passionate about science and technology, why not consider a career in medical research or engineering? Medical engineers design the devices that we are increasingly relying on to both keep patients alive and to improve their quality of life when they are suffering from chronic illnesses. Medical engineering is a highly specialized field for both engineers and medics; a pattern that is repeated across other roles such as those in medical technology.
If there is a specific sector within the healthcare and medical industries, such as a social worker or psychologist, then you need to find out what the degree requirements are. There are no credible roles within the medical industry that don’t require a degree. Auxiliary workers might not need a formal qualification, but anyone who is involved in treating patients or providing treatment to them will need to have training.
There is a lot to like about nursing as a degree and it is one of the most popular degree options out there for those who have a burning desire to help other people. But this is just one of the many reasons that it is worth considering a career in nursing. It is also a career path that presents you with the opportunity for career progression on your own terms, rather than being at the mercy of your employers.
For each stage of your nursing career, as well as any occasions where you choose a specialty to focus on, you will need to obtain a different qualification. You can apply to begin studying whenever you like, and can then remain in each position until you are ready to begin working towards the next level. Thanks to online degrees, you can find everything from the basic RN qualification right up to FNP programs available to study online and complete your course remotely.
As you progress through the levels of nursing, you will increasingly take on responsibility for other more junior nurses. In this sense, you are able to not only help the patients that you treat, but also the other nurses who learn the ropes under you. This also provides you with a unique opportunity to employ the skills that you develop throughout your nursing career in a novel way.
Studying online won’t prevent you from attending a placement in a hospital if this is a standard part of your degree. Your university will arrange everything for you, and you can attend the placement as you would for any other course.
Once you have earned a nursing degree, a whole host of potential career paths will open up for you. As well as nursing in a hospital setting, which is what most people think of when they picture a nurse, there are also plenty of other opportunities in areas such as research, administration, and even in settings other than hospitals. In fact, nursing is by far one of the best degrees for people who want to keep their options open after they graduate.
Outside of hospitals, nurses are needed by insurance and legal firms, travel firms, and of course, throughout the rest of the healthcare industry. If there is a particular industry or sector, inside or outside of healthcare, that you have always wanted to work for, there may well be a nursing-related career available.
The Federal Civil Service is responsible for running public institutions and ensuring that government bodies and agencies are able to function. Roles within the civil service cover just about every kind of career you could possibly think of, reflecting the wide range of functions that the US government today serves. The civil service presents endless opportunities to help other people, both directly and indirectly. However, this is only one advantage to working for the civil service.
There is a whole host of benefits to working for the federal government and a career in the civil service provides you with job security that is hard to find elsewhere. Federal employees are provided with a pension when they retire, one that is much more secure than the average pension. Many federal employees can claim this pension even if they opt for the early retirement option that lots of federal jobs offer.
However, there are also a number of benefits to working for the federal government that you can benefit from in the here and now. This includes disability benefits and workers compensation that is available to any federal employee who is injured while on the job. Federal employees will also be entitled to a guaranteed 13 sick days every year, which rises to six months after ten years of service.
Finally, a job in the civil service will enable you to take advantage of the generous health insurance options that come with many federal positions. On average, the government covers 75% of the premium costs that employees need to pay. You will also be entitled to more annual leave and holiday time than many comparable jobs offer.
Charity work is another career path that will enable you to work in a variety of different settings and contexts. Charity work might involve you going abroad to help other people less fortunate, or you might take a role in administration or marketing. When most people think of charity work, they think of volunteer positions. However, there are also plenty of paid roles within charitable organizations.
Not only can you work directly for charities, but there are also numerous opportunities for freelance workers to provide services for charities. Charities need websites, marketing, printing services, and more. If you are working in another field, you might want to consider whether you can donate your skills and expertise to a charity or offer them a reduced rate.
One of the advantages of pursuing a job with a charitable organization is that you don’t necessarily need to have a university degree or any other kind of qualifications. However, in order to apply for most of the paid roles within a charitable organization, you will either need to have extensive experience volunteering for them, or you will need to have knowledge and experience from another industry that you can bring to the charity.
For example, if you have previously worked as a manager or administrator for a large business, charities will be eager for you to work for them. Charities can’t pay as much as big city corporations, and so sometimes struggle to attract the people they want. However, this work pays substantially in other ways.
What we have listed above are just some of the potential career paths that appeal to the more altruistic among us. Many of these jobs will require you to study for a degree first, but not all of them have this requirement. If helping others is what you want to do with your life, it is worth investing the time and money on the appropriate qualification.