jobs that help peopleReally, any way you cut it, if you’re working and contributing to something – you’re helping someone, somewhere, in some capacity. But maybe working as a line cook isn’t your idea of a helping profession (and who could blame you). If you want to really make an impact on someone’s life, and get a paycheck while doing it, here’s the list of jobs that help people for you. This list is by no means exhaustive so don’t think that these are the only true options available to you. Seeking a career change? Try the course the YOU plan for career change.

Okay, here we go.

Human Rights Advocate

One of my favorite types of people are those who stand up for what is right and actively tries to change what is wrong. Call them justice-seekers. As a human rights advocate you’re probably going to work for a non-profit that seeks to speak for those whose voices cannot be heard. It’s an important job that should be taken very seriously as many human rights groups have, and will continue to, create change in policies and institutions that smother the opportunity for individuals to rise above their plight. As an International Social Justice major, I found that there are so many institutionalized regulations existing that continue to restrict certain groups of people from having access to basic human rights, like food, shelter, clean water and accessible healthcare. It’s saddening to know that many global economic policies are a huge source of human rights violations, and corrupt governments that feed into these policies for self-gain are also incredible contributors to injustice worldwide. Human rights advocate’s salaries vary greatly, depending on the organization, the mission, the country you’re based out of and your experience. Intriguing? Redesign your career in this course.

Human rights advocates don’t just fight for people in developing nations (so many believe this to be the case) they fight for marginalized groups of people who live in every nation, sovereign and “advanced”, or not. They fight for ethnic groups, women, children, disabled peoples, the elderly, the impoverished, prisoners, trafficked people, the LGBT community, child soldiers, refugees and the list goes on. In college I worked for CASA, Court-Appointed Special Advocates, a non-profit that provides professional volunteers to advocate for abused or neglected children who are involved in a courtroom struggle. It’s a humbling experience, an experience that will surely change the life of the child you’re representing, and you.

A couple of organizations to check out are the International Rescue Committee (IRC), Human Rights Watch (HRW), American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and Amnesty International (AI).


In the broad sense, being a caretaker involves – drum roll – taking care of others. It’s basically an all-encompassing title, but the label caretaker usually has specific implications. In college, I applied for a caretaker position I found on Craigslist, not really knowing what that meant. My employer was a college graduate student who had Cerebral Palsy and was bound to a wheelchair for most of her waking hours. My job was to help her get dressed in the morning before school, grocery shop for her, take her to class, clean her house, help her with physical therapy, write emails and even transcribe her thesis (typing was difficult for her). I became her right-hand woman, there to assist her whenever she needed it. One night, someone broke into her house and shattered several of her windows. Luckily she wasn’t home but when she arrived and discovered what had happened – she called me. I came over and spent five hours picking up glass all over her house. It was a delicate job because if she stepped on a piece of glass that caused her to jump and lose her balance, she could have fallen and ended up bed ridden for months.

Caretakers may do more intensive self-care for those who need it, like bathing and bathroom help, which are considered Activities of Daily Living or, ADL’s. This job isn’t for the faint of heart. Caretakers can get paid anywhere from $8/hr to $25/hr depending on the level of care and the area you are working in. There are no certifications required, however, having basic CPR training and a compassionate nature are good things. Check out for a listing of jobs in this field of work.


Working in the medical field is obviously a people helping job. You work with patients all day to cure them of ailments and save lives. It’s a tough job with long hours and a lot of training involved but it is well worth it. A nurse can be a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), Registered Nurse (RN), Nurse Practitioner (NP), or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). An LPN usually obtains an ADN (Associates Degree in Nursing); an RN usually obtains a BSN (Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing) or an MSN (Master’s Degree in Nursing) and a DNP receives a PhD. There are a lot of acronyms in the medical field, so get used to it! Check out this course on a sure-fire way to get into Medical School. Nurses treat patients, obtain medical histories, administer medicine, provide emotional support, give medical advice, take vitals, plan and promote programs of wellness, give immunizations and intervene during emergency situations. Nurses with associate degrees can enjoy an average salary of $38,000. Nurses with Bachelor’s degrees and higher will see between $65,000 and $90,000 depending. To get your foot in the door you can start off by becoming a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) or an MA (Medical Assistant) which require less training and are easier jobs to obtain. Read this article on what becoming a Medical Assistant entails.

While living in Texas I worked in a rehabilitation center that housed mostly elderly people who couldn’t care for themselves anymore. I got trained by the center, for free, to become a CNA and began working while I was still in class. The training was three weeks long and there was a state test to take at the end. My job included changing bedding for patients, bathing them, feeding them, answering their questions, cleaning and changing catheters, transporting them, and dressing them. You basically do the work that the nurse or doctor doesn’t have time to worry about. It’s a great job, but it’s exhausting. The patients I dealt with often had dementia or Alzheimer’s which made my days quite humorous (Mr. Ortiz was a daily escapee, he would break out of his room in his wheelchair and head straight for the alarm ridden doors. If he made it, he’d wheel as fast as he could to the main road to hitchhike, if someone stopped him he would tear pieces of the chair cushion out and throw it at you while yelling something in Spanish) and emotional (Ms. Eleanor waited for her dinner party to begin at 7PM sharp, every day, and refused to eat until her table was set and dinner guests arrived – her table was a cafeteria table in the center, I “set” the table and wheeled other residents over to accompany her so she would eat, she was stuck in 1947 her son told me). CNA’s can start off making anywhere between $7 and $10 an hour and make up to as much as $15-$18 depending on experience.


Working in the Emergency Management field is not for everyone. EMT’s and Paramedics provide on-site care for people in emergency. EMT’s, or Emergency Medical Technicians are like the nurses of the field, except they are there to keep you alive until they can pass you off to more proper care at the hospital. Paramedics are considered the doctors of the field, they call the shots and have the training to intubate (create an airway if there is none through the neck), administer IV’s and diagnose what needs to happen in transit. To become an EMT you have to take a fairly intensive class that includes lectures, practicums and role plays to make sure you can react to any given situation on the road. You’ll learn how to splint broken bones, extricate people from cars after accidents, to check for DCAP—BTLS (deformities, contusions, abrasions, punctures, burns, tenderness, lacerations and swelling) and to tie tourniquets – amongst a plethora of other tasks. If you work well under pressure and don’t mind blood, this is a great job for you. As a public servant you receive great benefits and can be prideful of your work every day saving lives. EMT’s generally make around $30,000 a year (not enough if you ask me) and Paramedics around $50,000 a year.

I worked as an EMT in college and the scenes you’re called to can range from asthma attacks and depression to fatal car accidents and attempted suicides. It’s hard work and it’s emotionally taxing, but you are trained on how to cope with these situations mentally as well as physically.

Social Worker

Social workers, or case workers, or highly trained individuals who specialize in helping people and families who are in need of some extra support. This can include poverty, substance abuse, legal trials, unemployment, homelessness, child delinquency or those affected by natural disasters. Social workers rely heavily on communication skills and patience. It can be difficult when a client comes through the doors demanding help without much to work with. Luckily, state assistance programs like welfare, HUD, food assistance, childcare assistance, rehabilitation and employment counseling can help these people get back on track and gain control of their life again. Read about 6 social work careers to consider pursuing.

You’re responsibilities will include obtaining information about the ongoing problem, medical histories and background information; helping fill out necessary paperwork to apply for social assistance programs, monitoring the situation as it progresses and checking in with the clients, providing emotional support, counseling and advising clients on the best course of action and even doing home inspections for child custody disputes and domestic violence occurrences. The scope of social work is so vast that there is no possible way to cover it all here. Much like human rights advocates, social workers possess the power to change lives for any person that needs it, children and adults alike. Social workers undergo training at a four year institution to receive their BSN (Bachelors in Social Work) or their MSN (Masters in Social Work). Social works, on average, get paid around $45,000 a year.


Teachers are arguably one of the most critical helping professions there are. Without teachers, all of the certifications required to do any of these other jobs would be impossible. Teachers guide our youth to become independent, educated critical thinkers that contribute to the greater good of our global community. It goes without saying that teachers are some of the hardest working, most underpaid (don’t let that deter you) individuals in our society. It’s not easy trying to manage a classroom full of distracted and hormone ridden high-schoolers – but they do it. It’s not easy to design lesson plans that both follow the state curriculum requirements and engage ADD elementary aged students to learn seemingly mundane subjects – but they do it. Learn more about how to Master Your Classroom in this course.

Becoming a teacher is a very rewarding job that will keep you satisfied and entertained for years on end. Plus, you get to have a serious summer vacation. Such a bonus. Professors teach post-secondary classes and require more training then a K-12 teacher does. It offers you more flexibility and the opportunity to earn tenure, or work on side research projects while getting paid. To become a teacher you often need at least a Bachelor’s degree, if not a Masters and to become a certified Educator. K-12 teachers usually get paid somewhere around $50,000 and college professors around $60,000.

Guide Dog Trainer

If you are interested in a helping profession but aren’t all that people savvy – guide dog training may be perfect for you. You work closely with animals who then provide long-term assistance for people who are disabled in some fashion. Training dogs requires a lot of dedication and patience as you can’t just tell them what to do when you want them to do it – until you teach them how. In the course Dog Training 101 you can learn dog training fundamentals. You begin training dogs when their puppy’s on basic disobedience and acceptable behavior. Because guide dogs usually accompany their human partner everywhere they go, these dogs must be on their best behavior at all times, in all different venues. Seeing-eye dogs are the most popular example of guide dogs. They assist blind people in getting around from day-to-day, literally acting as their eyes. These dogs respond to vocal commands and after a while they become aware of their owners needs and will accommodate them without even asking. It can be hard to spend day after day with an animal companion only to pass them off to someone who needs them, but it’s a job that will give you pride and is perfect for an animal lover. To become a trainer, you’ll need to get qualified by the Association of Pet Dog Trainer. Salaries range from $36,000 to $56,000 depending.

Hopefully these options have given you some food for thought. Of course, there are so many more care-giving positions out there, but this will help you start thinking about a new career path. Learn the 7 essential steps to getting your dream career in this course.

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