Our careers make up a large part of who we are, and most of us want to feel passionate about the jobs that we spend so many waking hours doing. Consider yourself lucky if you’re motivated to explore careers that help people—there are plenty of jobs out there that allow you to give back to others while also earning a good salary and one of the best companies. And contrary to popular belief, not all jobs that help people have to be health-related. When job searching, consider these 15 interesting careers that help people in a variety of ways.
15 interesting careers that help people
1. Financial advisor
Average salary: $58,805
Want to help people manage their money? Financial advisors assess the financial needs of individuals and help them make decisions about investments, taxes, and insurance plans. They can help clients plan for short-term goals like monthly budgeting, in addition to long-term goals like saving for retirement. You’ll need a minimum education level of a bachelor's degree, and some advisors choose to pursue a master's degree in business administration or finance.
2. Physical therapist
Average salary: $76,707
Physical therapists (PTs) help people who’ve either been injured in an accident or experience a chronic painful condition. PTs assist clients with a variety of exercises and movements in order to restore function, improve mobility, relieve pain, and minimize the risk of permanent physical disabilities. In order to become a PT, you need to graduate from a physical therapist educational program with a doctorate in physical therapy.
3. Substance abuse counselor
Average salary: $41,610
Substance abuse counselors are mental health professionals who help people overcome alcohol, drug, and behavioral addictions. They work in a variety of settings, such as mental health centers, community health centers, prisons, and private practices. As a bare minimum, counselors need a bachelor’s degree, but most jobs require a master’s degree in counseling.
4. Dental hygienist
Average salary: $79,221
Dental hygienists help people by providing preventative oral care. Responsibilities include cleaning patients' teeth, screening and testing for oral diseases, and advising patients on how to maintain good oral health. Aspiring dental hygienists will need to graduate from a dental hygiene school with either an associate degree, certificate, bachelor's degree, or master's degree.
5. Social worker
Average salary: $54,923
Calling all empaths—social work is a great field to get into if you want to help people cope with the challenges they’re facing in their lives. Responsibilities might include providing mental health counseling to individuals or families, researching and advocating for public assistance resources and treatment centers, and liaising with a clients' care team. Depending on whether you’re searching for an entry-level or a more experienced position, you’ll either need a bachelor's or master’s degree in social work.
Average salary: $28,342
Caregivers provide personal care and support to seniors, people recovering from surgery, people with disabilities, and veterans. Usually, they help people with their daily activities, such as bathing, cleaning, planning and cooking meals, taking medications, and running errands. Caregivers work either in a facility or in the home of the patient and must have a high school diploma, valid driver’s license, and knowledge in first aid.
Average salary: $226,051
Psychiatrists can work in hospitals or private practices, and they help people cope with mental illnesses. Typical treatment methods might include psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, cognitive-behavioral therapy, or medication. Psychiatry might be the path for you if you love school—after completing a bachelor’s degree, you’ll need to graduate from a medical school and complete a four-year residency program.
8. Speech pathologist
Average salary: $88,304
Speech pathologists help people who have trouble pronouncing certain sounds, struggle with speech rhythm and fluency, and want to modify their accents. After evaluating a patient—anyone from a toddler learning to talk to a nursing home patient recovering from a stroke—speech pathologists help establish goals and offer rehab assistance. Typically, to become a speech pathologist, you’ll need to obtain a master's degree in speech-language pathology.
Average salary: $51,364
Teachers have historically been celebrated for helping people. While elementary school teachers typically work with the same group of students everyday at a specific grade level, middle and high school teachers usually focus on one or two subjects like history, math, foreign language, science, art, physical education, or music. Teachers begin with a bachelor’s degree in education and complete a student teaching stint before instructing full-time themselves.
Average salary: $122,189
Pharmacists help people obtain prescription medicine, walk patients through key information like dosage amounts, side effects, and potential health risks, and address any patient questions or concerns. Pharmacists must earn a doctorate in pharmacology from a four- or six-year pharmacy program and may need to complete a one- to two-year residency program.
Average salary: $50,422
Bilingual folks, translation could be the perfect career for you to help people. The job consists of translating languages for both verbal and written communications, although translators usually focus more on written communications rather than real-time interpretation. One must be fluent in two languages and hold a bachelor’s degree.
Read more: 30 Fun Jobs That Pay Well
Average salary: $112,602
Attorneys help people with their legal rights in civil and criminal cases. They explain legal issues to their clients, research case details and evidence, develop case strategies, prepare legal documents, and appear in court to defend their clients. In addition to earning a bachelor's degree, attorneys must earn a juris doctor degree from law school. They also have to pass the bar examination in order to be admitted to the bar association of the state in which they want to practice.
13. Personal trainer
Average salary: $49,156
Personal trainers help people reach their fitness and nutrition goals (hello, New Year's resolutions) and ensure that clients use equipment properly and safely. When trainers work with clients, they often create personalized workout routines to improve endurance, flexibility, and cardiovascular health. To become a personal trainer, you’ll need a high school diploma, and some facilities may require a bachelor’s degree in fitness, education, or health care studies.
Average salary: $47,483
Paramedics or emergency medical technicians (EMT) provide emergency care by evaluating injuries or illnesses, administering emergency treatment, and transporting patients to medical facilities for additional treatment. Being a paramedic requires a high level of physical and mental stamina and ability to quickly problem-solve. There are three levels of training: EMT-Basic, EMT-Intermediate, and Paramedic. Paramedics must also pass the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians exam.
Average salary: $257,280
General surgeons are responsible for performing a range of surgeries, reviewing patient X-rays, communicating with patients about procedures and risks, and explaining the recovery process to patients post-operation. Unsurprisingly, extensive education is also required in order to become a surgeon. After completing a bachelor’s degree, aspiring surgeons must attend a four-year medical school and complete a residency in training.