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5 Careers with Purpose: How to Find Your Next Impactful Opportunity

If you’re on the search for a new career, consider one that gives back to the community. Perhaps you are just beginning college and hoping to make a difference with your career path. Or, maybe you are looking for a new opportunity that contributes to the greater good. No matter your stage of life, there are plenty of jobs that can be impactful and provide a sense of purpose. Here are just five ideas, along with a few alternative yet related opportunities that you might be interested in pursuing.

Caregiver

The role of a caregiver is one of great responsibility. You may be providing care for a loved one at home or for multiple individuals in a senior living or other healthcare facility. Caregiving responsibilities are generally rewarding while also being incredibly demanding. The job brings unexpected challenges and changing roles. As a caregiver, you will be tasked with a variety of duties including household chores, individuals’ health and wellness, and attending to  their personal care. Overall, caregivers must exude empathy and patience at all times.

Perhaps the description of a caregiver sounds interesting to you but maybe a bit too daunting. Consider a position as a senior life enrichment coordinator. In this role, you would work to coordinate social activities for older adults at a senior center or senior living community. If you’re drawn towards the health and wellness side of a caregiving role, consider becoming a home health aide or a dietician.

Firefighter

Firefighters provide a vital service that many people don’t think about until there’s an emergency. Firefighters’ key role is to locate and rescue fire victims. Beyond fighting fires, firemen respond to other emergencies in their community: traffic accidents, medical emergencies, and some natural disasters. The job requires good communication skills, physical stamina, courage, and compassion. While some firefighters receive a salary, up to two thirds of firemen work as volunteers.

If the fast pace of responding to emergencies sounds intriguing, you may also consider a job as a police officer or paramedic. Both roles also respond to emergencies; however, police tend to focus on the legal and criminal side of emergencies while paramedics work to stabilize individuals involved.

Teacher

Many people have a teacher who touched their lives at some point in their educational career. If you aim to work with children or youth, then becoming a certified teacher might be the job for you. Teachers develop curriculums and lesson plans and present them to their students. They are responsible for maintaining a safe environment for students with the ultimate goal of helping each individual learn and grow. Effective teachers should be good listeners and collaborators. They must be adaptable, prepared and engaging

If you’re interested in making a difference in the lives of children or youth, but not up for the day-to-day role of a teacher or don’t have the educational requirements, consider a similar position. A daycare worker, Sunday school teacher, substitute teacher or babysitter all play important roles in the development of children.

Veterinarian

For some people, making a positive impact goes beyond the issues of humankind. Animal lovers have equal opportunities to make a difference in society. When animals of any kind are sick or injured, families turn to veterinarians to help their pets. They advise clients on animal care, conduct physical exams, provide emergency care and administer medication. Vet candidates should have strong critical thinking, interpersonal, problem-solving, and analytical skills. The job requires a doctorate in veterinary medicine and state licensure.

If you’re an animal lover, but looking for a different role, consider becoming an animal care and service worker. In this position, you can attend to or train animals in a zoo, pet store, stable or aquarium. If you’re looking for a volunteer position, most local animal shelters or humane societies are always in need of helping hands.

Environmental Engineer

If your passions include improving the environment, consider applying your eco-awareness to your career path. An environmental engineer works to develop ecological strategies to tackle issues like erosion and air or water quality. Their overall goal is to help individuals and companies minimize their effects on the environment.

Engineering positions require a bachelor’s degree; however, there are plenty of other ways to make an environmental difference without becoming an engineer. Consider a job as a meteorologist: they are invaluable at preparing communities for natural disasters while also tracking and combating the effects of climate change. Another option is the ever important (yet often overlooked) job of trash and recycling collectors. Not only is the job growth high for this field, but the majority of workers report that they feel their job makes the world a better place or helps to make someone else’s life better.

Make a Difference in Your Next Job Opportunity

If you’re looking for a sense of purpose in your life, try finding a job or volunteer position that allows you to make an impact. Determine where your passions lie and begin searching for opportunities. No matter your qualifications or even availability, you’re certain to find a role that allows you to make a difference and contribute to the greater good.

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