15 Jobs That Make a Difference

By Indeed Editorial Team

December 23, 2020

Jobs that make a difference in people’s lives are rewarding both in terms of personal fulfillment as well as financially. While candidates need to identify careers that are in alignment with their skills, interests and backgrounds, there are a wide variety of career options that allow them to help others. Finding the right career to fit your interests and values can take some time and research. In this article, we have identified 15 different roles that help people in a variety of ways and have included both salaries and primary responsibilities to help you find the position that best meets your needs and interests.

Related: How to Determine What to Do With Your Life

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What are jobs that make a difference?

Jobs that make a difference are positions that impact people’s lives and the world around them. Today, more and more candidates seek opportunities where they can help the world. If this is you, it’s important first to get clear on how you want to impact or help others. Ask yourself if there is a specific problem you want to solve, why it is important to you and then focus your job search based on your answers. Careers that make a difference fall into these categories:

  • Physical health

  • Mental health and wellness

  • Alleviating poverty

  • Caring for animals

  • Educating youth or adults

  • Protecting the planet

  • Promoting spiritual awareness

  • Addressing social injustice

  • Providing security and protection

Related: How to Find Your Passion

15 jobs that help people

Here are some examples of jobs that help people stay safe, guide them through crises or heal them after injuries. 

1. Paramedic

National average salary:  $19.67 per hour

Primary duties: A paramedic is a first responder who provides emergency care to people who are sick or who have been injured. They transport them to the hospital in ambulances, helicopters and airplanes for further treatment.

2. Massage therapist

National average salary:  $28.33 per hour

Primary duties: A massage therapist massages the body’s muscles and joints to give clients relief from pain, injuries and poor circulation. They also help reduce stress and teach relaxation techniques. They improve the general wellness of their clients.

3. Dietitian

National average salary:  $31.67 per hour

Primary duties: Dietitians provide counseling to clients about how to make healthy food choices. They often work in schools, hospitals and nursing homes and develop meal plans to ensure students and patients receive optimal nutrition.

4. Registered nurse

National average salary:  $33.82 per hour

Primary duties: Registered nurses provide care and treatment for patients with various medical conditions in hospital or clinic settings. Some of their primary responsibilities include administering medication, monitoring the patient’s recovery and process, educating them about health issues and offering emotional support.

5. Speech language pathologist

National average salary:  $41.94 per hour

Primary duties: A speech-language pathologist tests and treats both children and adults who have difficulty with language or speech. They carry out individualized treatment plans that address the specific needs of each client to teach them how to make sounds, improve voices, maintain fluency and improve vocabulary and sentence structure.

6. Firefighter

National average salary: $45,649 per year

Primary duties: Firefighters put themselves at enormous risk rescuing people from burning buildings and putting out fires to save personal and public property. Firefighters are first responders to emergencies, providing triage and medical care to victims. 

7. High school teacher

National average salary:  $47,424 per year

Primary duties: A high school teacher prepares lesson plans and assesses student progress to ensure they are ready for life after graduation, whether that is a full-time job or college. Teachers are also responsible for organizing extracurricular programs and sometimes provide additional tutoring for students after school.

8. Police officer

National average salary:  $51,207 per year

Primary duties: Police officers put themselves in harm’s way to protect the public, arresting people who are suspected of breaking the law, patrolling public areas and helping victims of accidents and crimes. 

9. Social worker

National average salary:  $57,272 per year

Primary duties: A social worker’s specific duties can vary depending on the work they do. Some social workers protect children, responding in situations like suspected child abuse or mental health emergencies. They may help families find housing or services, locate foster families or work to reunite families. Other social workers help clients who have a mental illness or addiction by providing information on support groups and 12-step programs.

10. Veterinarian

National average salary:  $94,620 per year

Primary duties: A veterinarian protects the health of animals. They treat sick or injured animals and diagnose diseases. They also guide the owners on how to properly care for pets and livestock. 

Related: 18 Popular Jobs That Involve Working With Animals

11. Midwife

National average salary: $102,444 per year

Primary duties: Midwives provide support and care for women during pregnancy, labor and delivery. Midwives may deliver babies at home or in a birthing center, although many also deliver children in hospital settings. The midwife helps clients with a birth plan, educates the soon-to-be parents about pregnancy, childbirth and newborn care, provides support during labor and delivers the baby.

12. Neurosurgeon

National average salary:  $110,008 per year

Primary duties: Neurosurgeons are physicians who specialize in the surgical treatment of conditions that affect the nervous system, spine and brain. They also help manage conditions that affect how well blood flows to the brain. They may also be involved in a patient’s post-treatment rehabilitation.

13. Emergency medicine physician

National average salary: $191,929 per year

Primary duties: Emergency medicine physicians provide urgent medical assistance to patients who have life-threatening conditions. Some common emergencies they treat are gunshot wounds, heart attacks, broken bones and respiratory distress. 

14. OB/GYN

National average salary: 226,648 per year

Primary duties: An OB/GYN is a physician who specializes in women’s reproductive health, pregnancy and childbirth. Some OB/GYNs offer a wide range of services that treat women at all stages of life, whereas others may focus on medical care for the reproductive system. 

15. Cardiology physician

National average salary:  $292,694 per year

Primary duties: Cardiologists specialize in diagnosing and treating conditions of the heart and blood vessels. Some of the most common health problems they treat include heart rhythm disorders, heart attacks, heart defects and infections and coronary artery disease.

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