Careers in Which You Can Make A Difference

All jobs have unique benefits – some pay well, while others offer career progression, or flexible working hours. Of course, not everyone wants the same things out of a career, and the things needed for job satisfaction differ from person to person. That being said, the majority of people want a sense of fulfilment at work to feel satisfied. According to numerous studies, feeling that your work contributes to an important cause is one of the most important factors for job satisfaction. While other research in psychology suggests that helping others is one of the most reliable ways to boost your own mood. To give you some inspiration, here are our top pick of careers you can make a difference in:

Doctor

Doctors help others in a significant way. When someone is  sick or injured, their normal way of life is disrupted and doctors have the unique opportunity to restore these people’s lives to normalcy, and even save some from death. Many doctors say that they get great joy and happiness from successfully helping a very sick patient to recover, or when they are part of a group of specialists who discover a new medicine for a disease. This makes being a doctor extremely rewarding.

To make a start on this successful career, you will need a few qualifications and significant training. This includes a degree in medicine, a two year foundation programme plus specialist training. You have a choice in which field you’d like to specialise in, such as medicine, surgery, paediatrics, and more.

As a doctor, there will be long hours which can include nights and weekends, as the shifts are on a rota basis. Many doctors are also on-call for certain periods of time. The salary depends on the level of training that that employee has received. For example, junior doctors earns between £26,614 – £30,805, depending on the training level. A specialist doctor on the other hand can earn up to £46,208 while training – this will increase once training is completed. If you wish to continue your training, you can become a consultant, who can earn up to £103,490.

A lot of training and studying is needed to succeed in this career, but becoming a doctor will always be rewarding. There are many opportunities for progression, as you are expected to continue learning throughout your career which, if you’re passionate enough, isn’t going to be a bad thing. You will further your knowledge as more medical research findings inform the future.

Carer

If you have a naturally caring personality and you are concerned about the welfare of others, then becoming a professional carer can offer a rewarding career. In this role you will have the opportunity to support someone with their day to day tasks, and make a real difference to their quality of life. Beverley, a carer at Helping Hands, explains how she found job satisfaction in a career helping others – “I am driven and motivated by knowing that I can wake up each day knowing that I will be helping someone in need. Giving time to those who need support is something truly special.”

To become a carer, you first need to decide which type of carer you would prefer. There are many varieties, such as live-in care. Your job roles vary day to day, from small tasks such as food shopping, phone calls and making meals, to organise trips out and family days out. You’ll need to consider your own health when applying for a carer job. You need to know if you’re fit enough, able to cope in stressful and emotional situations, plus willing to sacrifice some of your existing commitments.

Many care jobs don’t require formal qualifications. Most of the time, you’ll just pick it up as you go. The only certificate you are required to have is ‘The Care Certificate,’ which is a set of standards you must follow if you become a carer. There are other applicable qualifications out there which, although they are not compulsory, are beneficial for progression. Like a doctor, becoming a carer takes hard work and dedication, but it is an immensely satisfying career.

Nurse

Similar to doctors, nurses help care for people who are sick or injured. Nurses spend a lot of time with their patients and get to know them on an intimate and personal level. They have the opportunity to build meaningful relationships and make a positive impact on how well someone recovers from an illness or injury. Nurses save lives everyday and play an important role in the healthcare system.

To work as a nurse, you will need a degree in nursing, and register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council. To qualify for the degree, you’ll undergo a series of checks, such as criminal convictions, police records, etc, and have five GCSEs plus two A-Levels. You get to choose the area you’d like to specalise in, such as adult, children or mental health. This job is very flexible and each shift can very, even though they can be long and include nights and weekends. You get the opportunity to work in diverse settings, from hospitals, classrooms or various workplaces, and will come across many opportunities for career progression.

Health And Safety Officer

A career in health and safety can be hugely rewarding and even has the potential to save lives. In the Health and Safety Executives annual statistics for 2018, it was reported that 144 people were killed at work in the United Kingdom and there were 555,000 injuries. Health and safety specialists at Act Associates explain how – “No matter what industry or environment you work in, unfortunately, accidents do happen.  A health and safety professional’s job is to prevent accidents and injury, making people’s time at work as safe and happy as possible.”

Health and Safety Officers can specialise in one area, such as fire safety, construction, or machinery use, or they could provide guidance on all areas. You do not need a degree to make a start in this career, but you will need qualifications such as the NEBOSH certificate. Salaries start form £24,000- £32,000, but this will increase with progression. Similar to doctors, nurses and carers, working hours will vary, but most simply work 9-5.

Police Officer

Police officers spend their days protecting and serving their communities. They are responsible for keeping people safe and have the opportunity to save lives everyday – whether this means pulling someone safely out of a car crash, or providing first aid to a victim of crime before paramedics arrive. Being a police officer also provides the chance to help people choose a better path in life and have the unique opportunity to help people reform and make better life choices.

In 2020, there will be major changes to the police recruitment process for becoming a police officer, which means that you will need a least a degree-level qualification by the time you complete probation.

The usual route is applying directly to the country’s police forces, and you will also need to have A-Levels or equivalent. After 2020, there will be three entry routes: apprenticeships, degree-holder entry or a policing degree, from which you can apply to join a police force as soon as you have graduated.

Teacher

A teacher is often featured on the top list of jobs that can make a difference to the world. While the role can be challenging, it also provides a sense of job satisfaction through knowing that you’re effectively shaping the lives of future generations. Education is also considered to be one of the major aspects which help in improving the society. A teacher acts as a role model for students to look up to, to learn from, and to remember for the rest of their lives. An effective teacher can have a huge impact on students and inspire them to achieve their best. It is therefore important for all teachers to behave in a way that makes them a good role model for their students.

Training to be a teacher can be demanding (as with pretty much every other job on this list, sorry!) but it is worth it. You will need to decide which age group you would like to teach – try and gain experience with a range of ages so you can really know which is right for you. Furthermore, you’ll need to gain a Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) which you can obtain through school or university on an Initial Teacher Training programme (ITT). Once you’ve completed this, you’ll be ready for your induction year in a school or college.. It should be noted that there is a different entry route for Northern Ireland.

The degrees you’ll need will depend on which part of the UK you live in, and your salary will depend on your stage of training. A newly qualified teacher will earn up to £29,664 (varies on location), and as you progress that will rise to £35,008.

Final Thought

Lots of things contribute to job satisfaction, but plenty of people agree that helping others in some way is a great way to get enjoyment from your career. Switching to a more meaningful career doesn’t necessarily mean working in the non-profit sector – there are plenty of jobs where you can help others in some way. Consider one of the above careers and really make a difference to the lives of others!