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10 jobs where you can make a difference in the world

We tend to think of good jobs in terms of things like salary and benefits, but for many one of the most important factors is feeling like their job has purpose. If you’re looking for a way to make a bigger positive impact on the world, here are 10 jobs you might consider:

1. High school teachers generally teach students from the 9th through 12th grades. They usually specialize in one subject area, such as math, science, or history. They may teach several different classes within that subject area and help prepare students for life after graduation. They teach academic lessons and various skills that students will need to attend college and to enter the job market.

  • Average salary – $58,696.55
  • Typical entry level education – Bachelor’s degree

2. Police officers pursue and apprehend people who break the law. They then warn, cite, or arrest them. Most police officers patrol their jurisdictions and investigate suspicious activity. They also respond to calls, issue traffic tickets, and give first aid to accident victims.

  • Average salary – $59,489.00
  • Typical entry level education – High school diploma

3. Agricultural and food science technicians research ways to improve the efficiency and safety of agricultural establishments and products. They play an important role in maintaining and expanding the nation’s food supply.

  • Average salary – $37,875.00
  • Typical entry level education – Associate’s degree

4. Agricultural engineers attempt to solve agricultural problems concerning power supplies, the efficiency of machinery, the use of structures and facilities, pollution and environmental issues, and the storage and processing of agricultural products.

  • Average salary – $76,214.60
  • Typical entry level education – Bachelor’s degree

5. Surgeons treat injuries, diseases, and deformities through operations. Using a variety of instruments, a surgeon corrects physical deformities, repairs bone and tissue after injuries, or performs preventive or elective surgeries on patients. Although a large number perform general surgery, many surgeons choose to specialize in a specific area.

  • Average salary – $240,380
  • Typical entry level education – Doctoral or professional degree

6. Firefighters control and put out fires, and respond to emergency situations where life, property, or the environment is at risk.

  • Average salary – $47,914.40
  • Typical entry level education – Postsecondary non-degree award

7. Certified nurse midwives provide care to women, including gynecological exams, family planning services, and prenatal care. They deliver babies; manage emergency situations during labor, and may provide surgical assistance to physicians during cesarean births. They may act as primary care providers for women and newborns. Nurse midwives also provide wellness care, educating their patients on how to lead healthy lives by discussing topics such as nutrition and disease prevention.

  • Average salary – $90,920.20
  • Typical entry level education – Master’s degree

8. Reporters inform the public about news and events happening internationally, nationally, and locally. They report the news for newspapers, magazines, websites, television, and radio.

  • Average salary – $45,207.60
  • Typical entry level education – Bachelor’s degree

9. Environmental engineers use the principles of engineering, soil science, biology, and chemistry to develop solutions to environmental problems. They are involved in efforts to improve recycling, waste disposal, public health, and water and air pollution control. They also address global issues, such as unsafe drinking water, climate change, and environmental sustainability.

  • Average salary – $85,506.60
  • Typical entry level education – Bachelor’s degree

10. Occupational therapists treat injured, ill, or disabled patients through the therapeutic use of everyday activities. They help these patients develop, recover, and improve the skills needed for daily living and working.

  • Average salary – $79,325.40
  • Typical entry level education – Master’s degree

*Occupation descriptions from the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook. Salary and Education data from Emsi.

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