Ten Careers Making A Difference

Ten Careers Making A Difference

As you're sitting at your desk, standing at a counter, wielding a hammer orcarrying heavy boxes, would it help you to know that the end of the day youmade a difference? Deep down, do you want to know that you not just providingfor yourself and your family, but at the same time influencing positive changein the lives society's most vulnerable, disadvantaged or downtrodden? You'dbe 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 goalof making the world (or at least a specific part of it) a better place. Employeesworking in non-profits and other socially-responsible businesses tend to havea greater sense of ownership in the organization, recognizing that it is thevehicle by which they are enacting social change. Therefore they more frequentlyenjoy their jobs and are proud of what they do.

Whether for a public, private or non-profit organization, there is a positionwell-suited to your skills and interests in which you can bring about socialchange. In this series, we are hand-picking careers that reveal the diversityof 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.


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Title / Program

Resources

Typical Annual Salary*

1

Postsecondary Teachers

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

$56,000

Summary:

Postsecondary teachers teach beyondthe high school level and instruct on a wide variety of vocational andacademic subjects.

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

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

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

Postsecondary teachers generally have flexible schedules -- they teachin class for about 14 hours a week and then hold office hours for about3 hours a week. Other than these times, postsecondary teachers have thefreedom 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., dependingon 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 fieldis the most significant qualification

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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 businesspractices -- they act as the moral watchdogs of a company. It is theirjob to help ensure that corporations are socially responsible and areheld liable for their actions. They handle a variety of legal, ethicaland reputational risks in areas like antitrust, labor, harassment, accounts,discrimination, advertising and more. Ethics officers work together withcompanies to help them run efficiently. They also ensure their recordsare kept accurately. In doing this, Ethic Officers prevent harm to thestakeholders; stakeholders consist of consumers, shareholders, employeesand executives.

Ethics officers are responsible fordeveloping and holding accountable an organization’s code of ethics. Thisinvolves ethics training programs, ongoing consultations and reporting ofsuch policies.

Education, Certification &Experience:

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

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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 withthe goal of attaining and maintaining change. There is a vast array ofways people can become employed in an activist position. The jobs canrange from making phone calls or writing letters, to working with differentmedia outlets and fundraising committees while meeting with local andhigher level legislators. Activism is any sort of action political orsocial in order to bring about change. When looking into activism, thereis a lot of flexibility in adjusting your career to include activism.There are positions for advocacy in nearly all non-profit organizationsand lobbyist groups.

Education, Certification &Experience:

  • High school diploma or equivalent

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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/assistsa legislator at the federal or state level. Congressional aides have firsthand input on policies and meet with powerful people in the nation.

Duties of a congressional aide include taking calls and answering emailsfrom the constituents on behalf of the legislator. The position also entailsattending meetings, meeting with lobbyist and assisting in researchingand drafting bills. Congressional aides provide assistance and informationto the public while performing clerical tasks.

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

Education, Certification & Experience:

  • Bachelor's Degree in Political Science or related field

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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 thecommunity, consumers and governmental relations. An organization's reputation,profitability and continued existence depend on public relations to someextent. Public relations specialists serve as advocates for nonprofitorganizations, universities and others. Public relation specialists arevital in strategy and policy of current and upcoming projects.

Responsibilities include drafting press releases and contacting peoplein the media who might print or broadcast their material. Public relationsspecialists also arrange and conduct programs to keep up contact betweenorganizations representatives and the public. It is their responsibilityto network for the organization.

Education, Certification & Experience:

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

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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 judicialdisputes without going to court. They assist the parties in transformingthe disputes into manageable issues by dissecting the problem and addressingeach issue individually. The mediator explains each party's state of affairs,and then ensures the understanding of the issues at hand in order to reachan agreement. All hearings are private and confidential, and the processesare 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 positiverelationships.

Education, Certification & Experience:

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

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Title / Program

Resources

Typical Annual Salary*

7

Grant Writer

MichiganState 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 complexproposals 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 onlymedical or information technology grant proposals. Preparing these proposalsrequires a detailed understanding of the science/technology involved inthe project being funded.

Non-profit organizations or corporations may hire grant writers as full-timeemployees or on a per project basis. Some grant writers work for a percentagecommission of the funds they win the organization, although this is frownedupon by most non-profits.

Education, Certification & Experience:

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

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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 informthe public about local, state, national and international events. Theyreport on the actions of public officials, corporate executives and interestgroups, 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 writea story based on information researched and reported by other journalists,providing an interpretation or offering an opinion as commentators orcolumnists.

Education, Certification & Experience:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in journalism, communications, English orpolitical science

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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’slives. Social workers offer assistance on many different levels when helpingpeople cope with situations that are unchangeable or to help resolve asituation. They assist people in helping them cope with a disability,handle substance abuse problems or domestic abuse. Social workers researcha situation and then utilize services to better their situation or helpthem cope with what cannot be changed.

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

Education, Certification & Experience:

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

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Title / Program

Resources

Typical Annual Salary*

10

Environmental Scientist

www.agiweb.org

$63,000

Summary:

Environmental scientists conduct research to identify, reduce and eliminatehazards that affect the environment, people and wildlife. They take andanalyze measurements or observations of air, food, water and soil to determinethe quality of the environment, assess risks due to construction and businesspractices, and required methods to clean and preserve environments. Thesescientists follow established guidelines to design and monitor waste disposalsites, 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 replenishmenton environments, and issues involved in protecting environments.

Environmental scientists may also work on policy-making, helping to identifyways that human behavior can be changed in the future to avoid such problemssuch as water contamination, climate change and the depletion of the ozonelayer. 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: