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Ten Careers Making A Difference

Ten Careers Making A Difference

As you're sitting at your desk, standing at a counter, wielding a hammer or carrying heavy boxes, would it help you to know that the end of the day you made a difference? Deep down, do you want to know that you not just providing for yourself and your family, but at the same time influencing positive change in the lives society's most vulnerable, disadvantaged or downtrodden? You'd be surprised how many paying jobs are out there calling your name.

The field of not-just-for-profit work is challenging, engaging and ever changing. The work environment is usually positive; everyone shares the ultimate goal of making the world (or at least a specific part of it) a better place. Employees working in non-profits and other socially-responsible businesses tend to have a greater sense of ownership in the organization, recognizing that it is the vehicle by which they are enacting social change. Therefore they more frequently enjoy their jobs and are proud of what they do.

Whether for a public, private or non-profit organization, there is a position well-suited to your skills and interests in which you can bring about social change. In this series, we are hand-picking careers that reveal the diversity of employment opportunities in the business of making a difference. This is neither an exhaustive nor ranked list, but just ten careers of many that can have an impact on the world.


#

Title / Program

Resources

Typical Annual Salary*

1

Postsecondary Teachers

www.preparing-faculty.org
www.acteonline.org

$56,000

Summary:

Postsecondary teachers teach beyond the high school level and instruct on a wide variety of vocational and academic subjects.

  • College and University faculty
  • Technical Education Teachers
  • Graduate Teaching Assistants

Teaching involves developing lectures and lesson plans that coincide with a class agenda, and grading exams and papers to evaluate students' success. Qualified teachers have the ability to present the material to students and be able to respond to their learning needs. A significant amount of research is involved in teaching, while staying up-to-date on developments in appropriate fields of study.

Postsecondary vocational education teachers provide instruction in specialized areas that get the student ready for a specific area or career. Vocational teachers may teach classes in x-ray technology, culinary arts, auto mechanics, paralegal assistance, cosmetology, and more.

Postsecondary teachers generally have flexible schedules -- they teach in class for about 14 hours a week and then hold office hours for about 3 hours a week. Other than these times, postsecondary teachers have the freedom to plan their lectures and do research when it suits them.

Education, Certification & Experience:

  • Ranges from expertise in a particular field to a Ph.D., depending on subject taught and type of educational institution
  • Ph.D. is the most commonly held degree at research universities
  • At technical institutes, experience and expertise in the related field is the most significant qualification

#

Title / Program

Resources

Typical Annual Salary*

2

Ethics Officer

accounting.smartpros.com
www.corporatecompliance.org
www.salary.com

$120,000 - $200,000

Summary:

Ethics officers are responsible for ensuring the legality of business practices -- they act as the moral watchdogs of a company. It is their job to help ensure that corporations are socially responsible and are held liable for their actions. They handle a variety of legal, ethical and reputational risks in areas like antitrust, labor, harassment, accounts, discrimination, advertising and more. Ethics officers work together with companies to help them run efficiently. They also ensure their records are kept accurately. In doing this, Ethic Officers prevent harm to the stakeholders; stakeholders consist of consumers, shareholders, employees and executives.

Ethics officers are responsible for developing and holding accountable an organization’s code of ethics. This involves ethics training programs, ongoing consultations and reporting of such policies.

Education, Certification & Experience:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in accounting or related field
  • Certificate in Ethics and Compliance

#

Title / Program

Resources

Typical Annual Salary*

3

Activist / Advocate

www.idealist.org
www.sierraclub.ca
www.care.org
www.amherst.edu

$20,000-35,000

Summary:

Activists work for causes that are important to them whether it is socially, politically or environmentally. Activism is an intentional action with the goal of attaining and maintaining change. There is a vast array of ways people can become employed in an activist position. The jobs can range from making phone calls or writing letters, to working with different media outlets and fundraising committees while meeting with local and higher level legislators. Activism is any sort of action political or social in order to bring about change. When looking into activism, there is a lot of flexibility in adjusting your career to include activism. There are positions for advocacy in nearly all non-profit organizations and lobbyist groups.

Education, Certification & Experience:

  • High school diploma or equivalent

#

Title / Program

Resources

Typical Annual Salary*

4

Congressional Aide / Legislative Counsel

www.careerplanner.com
www.fabjob.com
www.payscale.com

$30,000-60,000

Summary:

A congressional aide or legislative counsel is someone who works/assists a legislator at the federal or state level. Congressional aides have first hand input on policies and meet with powerful people in the nation.

Duties of a congressional aide include taking calls and answering emails from the constituents on behalf of the legislator. The position also entails attending meetings, meeting with lobbyist and assisting in researching and drafting bills. Congressional aides provide assistance and information to the public while performing clerical tasks.

Legislators maintain two offices; a local office and an office at the capitol. The congressional assistant stays at one of the two offices, and is responsible for scheduling and attending meetings on behalf of the legislator. Congressional aides take notes and conduct research to advise the legislator on the appropriate actions to be taken on a current bill -- this is vital in drafting bills put forth by the legislator.

Education, Certification & Experience:

  • Bachelor's Degree in Political Science or related field

#

Title / Program

Resources

Typical Annual Salary*

5

Public Relations Consultant

www.prsa.org

$50,000

Summary:

Public relations specialists are the face to the public of the organization. They handle all of the media and campaigns surrounding the organization. They maintain positive and mutually beneficial relationships with the community, consumers and governmental relations. An organization's reputation, profitability and continued existence depend on public relations to some extent. Public relations specialists serve as advocates for nonprofit organizations, universities and others. Public relation specialists are vital in strategy and policy of current and upcoming projects.

Responsibilities include drafting press releases and contacting people in the media who might print or broadcast their material. Public relations specialists also arrange and conduct programs to keep up contact between organizations representatives and the public. It is their responsibility to network for the organization.

Education, Certification & Experience:

  • Bachelor's Degree in public relations, journalism, or another communications-related field
  • Public relations internship or related work experience

#

Title / Program

Resources

Typical Annual Salary*

6

Mediator

www.acrnet.org

$50,000

Summary:

Mediators are neutral parties who come up with a resolution to judicial disputes without going to court. They assist the parties in transforming the disputes into manageable issues by dissecting the problem and addressing each issue individually. The mediator explains each party's state of affairs, and then ensures the understanding of the issues at hand in order to reach an agreement. All hearings are private and confidential, and the processes are less formal than a court trial. The mediator will offer suggestions, but the ultimate decision lies with the disputing parties.

Mediators offer a peaceful alternative to taking disputes to court - people often use mediators when they want to maintain or rebuild positive relationships.

Education, Certification & Experience:

  • A Bachelor’s Degree in public policy or related fields
  • Specific training/experience standards vary by state

#

Title / Program

Resources

Typical Annual Salary*

7

Grant Writer

Michigan State University's Professional Writing Program
www.indeed.com

$42,000

Summary:

Grant writers work for corporations, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and government agencies doing research, developing and authoring complex proposals for funds through grants. In order to do this, they must:

  • familiarize themselves with the organization and its programs
  • compile detailed financial and budgeting information
  • find potential funding opportunities to apply for
  • write, edit and monitor the progress of the grant application

Grant writers may choose a field of specialization, such as writing only medical or information technology grant proposals. Preparing these proposals requires a detailed understanding of the science/technology involved in the project being funded.

Non-profit organizations or corporations may hire grant writers as full-time employees or on a per project basis. Some grant writers work for a percentage commission of the funds they win the organization, although this is frowned upon by most non-profits.

Education, Certification & Experience:

  • Bachelor's Degree and/or professional writing program plus several years working experience within the field are usually required.

#

Title / Program

Resources

Typical Annual Salary*

8

Journalist

www.princetonreview.com

$46,000

Summary:

There are many types of journalists, including local newspaper reporters, foreign correspondents, magazine feature writers and freelance book reviewers. News analysts and reporters prepare stories and make broadcasts that inform the public about local, state, national and international events. They report on the actions of public officials, corporate executives and interest groups, and present points of view on current issues.

Journalists use a specific kind of writing when organizing the material, selecting an angle or focus and writing their stories. They may also write a story based on information researched and reported by other journalists, providing an interpretation or offering an opinion as commentators or columnists.

Education, Certification & Experience:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in journalism, communications, English or political science

#

Title / Program

Resources

Typical Annual Salary*

9

Social Worker

www.socialworkers.org
www.aswb.org
  • Child, family and school social workers: $37,000
  • Medical and public health social workers: $43,000
  • Mental health and substance abuse social workers: $35,000

Summary:

People are drawn to social work by a strong desire to help improve people’s lives. Social workers offer assistance on many different levels when helping people cope with situations that are unchangeable or to help resolve a situation. They assist people in helping them cope with a disability, handle substance abuse problems or domestic abuse. Social workers research a situation and then utilize services to better their situation or help them cope with what cannot be changed.

  • Child, family and school social workers seek to improve the social and psychological functioning and overall wellbeing of children and their families. Social workers help connect families and children with appropriate organizations and program to meet their needs, and seek government assistance for these families to ensure their well-being.
  • Medical and public health social workers provide psychosocial support to individuals and families who are coping with chronic, acute or terminal illnesses. They help plan for the patients’ needs after their discharge from the hospital and even coordinate with social programs to ensure the patient gets the appropriate care.
  • Mental health and substance abuse social workers assess and treat individuals with mental illnesses or substance abuse problems. Services to treat these individuals include group and individual therapy, crisis intervention, social rehabilitation and teaching everyday living skills.

Education, Certification & Experience:

  • Bachelor's Degree minimum requirement, Master’s degree in social work or a related field standard
  • Certification, registration or license requirements vary by state

#

Title / Program

Resources

Typical Annual Salary*

10

Environmental Scientist

www.agiweb.org

$63,000

Summary:

Environmental scientists conduct research to identify, reduce and eliminate hazards that affect the environment, people and wildlife. They take and analyze measurements or observations of air, food, water and soil to determine the quality of the environment, assess risks due to construction and business practices, and required methods to clean and preserve environments. These scientists follow established guidelines to design and monitor waste disposal sites, preserve water supplies and reclaim contaminated land and water. This requires having an understanding of Federal environmental regulations, the impacts of degradation, conservation, recycling and replenishment on environments, and issues involved in protecting environments.

Environmental scientists may also work on policy-making, helping to identify ways that human behavior can be changed in the future to avoid such problems such as water contamination, climate change and the depletion of the ozone layer. They may specialize in a subfield such as ecology and conservation, chemistry or biology as it applies to their field.

Education, Certification & Experience:

  • Master's Degree in environmental science, life science, chemistry, geology, geophysics, atmospheric science or physics

Resources:

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