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What Are The Best Careers For People Who Want To Help Others?

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Jobs and careers have changed hugely in just a few decades. Our grandparents, perhaps even our parents, would have chosen a career path and stuck to it. They would have either studied in further or higher education and gained qualifications for a specific job, or they would have left school and started work somewhere, staying there until retirement for the most part.

Things are different now. Now we are a lot more free to make different choices, and we understand that our job needs to make us happy, otherwise we will become sick and even potentially shorten our lives through stress. So, although we might start in one profession, over time we might realize that we should be looking elsewhere.

That’s not the case for everyone, of course. Some people find their perfect job and work in it until they retire, and they love every second (or almost every second – remember, there will always be difficult days no matter what you do). These are the people who have found a career that suits their needs and their personality.

Whether you are changing careers in middle age (or even older, perhaps) or you are just starting out and you don’t know which direction to go in, it can be daunting; there is so much choice. That’s why we have put together this useful list detailing some of the best careers for those who want to help others. If this sounds like you, then read on and you should be sure to come across something that makes you think.

Substance Abuse and Behavioral Counselor

 Behavioral counselors are specialist therapists who work with people suffering from addiction. It might be addiction to drugs or alcohol, for example. In reality, the substance that the client is addicted to is not important; it’s the addiction itself that is the issue, and it is this addiction that a counselor like this will work though.

Sessions might be done in a group environment, or on a one to one basis, and this will depend on how you prefer to work, what works best for individual clients, and what your training has told you is the best direction to take.

Counseling for substance abuse requires you to be a caring person in order to understand what the client is going through. The counselor will set up recovery goals and put treatments in place to cure the addiction, and hopefully set the person on the right track. It’s all about understanding what caused the addiction in the first place and dealing with that first.

Mental Health Counselor

 As a whole, the human race tends to be rather hard on itself. We put ourselves under enormous pressure every day just to try and keep up with everyone around us, never stopping to think that everyone else is doing the same – and so it goes on. It’s no wonder that mental health is so fragile, and that record numbers of people are suffering from depression and anxiety amongst other mental illnesses.

It’s not just everyday pressures that cause mental issues either. It can be, amongst other things:

  • Grief
  • Relationship problems
  • Financial worries
  • Brain chemistry
  • Abuse
  • PTSD

Again, a mental health counselor will need to work out what has caused the mental health problems before they can start treating it. This will take a wide range of knowledge, plus you will need to know how to speak to people in the right way – training is paramount to get this right.

When you are a mental health counselor, you might work in your own practice, but you could also work elsewhere including in prisons, schools, hospitals, or in other workplaces.

Interpreter or Translator

 In order to be a good interpreter or translator, you need to be a caring person. Although the technical aspect can be carried out by anyone who can speak more than one language fluently – including sign language – there needs to be an element of understanding as well, in order to really know what the nuances of each word may mean. Remember, in some languages one word can have numerous meanings, and it’s the understanding of the meaning that will make the rest of what is being said make sense.

An interpreter is someone who works with spoken forms of communication, and a translator is someone who works with written texts. Although the job is similar, they shouldn’t be confused. Both, however, need to ideally have that element of empathy to help them be exceptional in their work and in bridging cultural and language barriers.


 When it comes to helping people, nurses are the ones to talk to. They have to be there, day in, day out, for their patients, and they have to help them through some of the most difficult times of their life. They are there for every moment, whether that’s a birth, an illness, surgery, or even death. Nurses are the ones who can explain what is happening to family and friends as well as the patient, and ensure that everyone is as comfortable and well cared for as possible.

It’s not an easy job; in fact, it can be extremely hard and often traumatic as there is a lot to deal with. You need to be an exceptionally caring person to be a nurse, but the gratitude and feeling of satisfaction in your job is unparalleled, and it is for this reason that many choose this career.

You can become a nurse at any time in your life as long as you have undertaken the right training. This might be a basic nursing degree, or you might choose to do more and take one of the online DNP nurse executive programs that exist.

For a career that really can last a lifetime and that is different and challenging every day, nursing could be the right choice for you.


 The very best teachers are the ones who care about their students. Whether you are teaching kindergarten, elementary school, or high school, it’s hugely important to get to know the children you are teaching and understand how to make your subject, or school in general, more interesting. The better you can do that, the more they will want to learn and push themselves, and the more they will be able to do with their lives.

Teachers can be massively and positively influential on children, and some of the greatest minds and business people in the world have cited that it was their favorite teacher who helped them to get where they are now.

Depending on whether you are going to be teaching a specific subject or if you plan to be more generalist (and therefore more likely to teach younger pupils) you will usually need to have a degree in either that subject itself, or in teaching. What you need will depend on what area of teaching you want to get into, so it’s best to find this out first before you start to study.

You can easily get into teaching later in life assuming you have the qualifications, and this can often be a good move. You will have gained a lot of life experience that you can share with the children, potentially making you a valuable asset in their own lives.

 Dietician and Nutritionist

 People’s diets, in the west at least, have become much worse in recent years. Although convenience food has been created through a need – we just don’t have the time, or so we say, to cook from scratch, and it’s much easier to pick something up that is pre-cooked and only needs heating up, for example – that doesn’t mean it’s what we should be eating.

This has had a detrimental effect on the overall health of people around the world, and instances of obesity, diabetes, heart complaints, and even cancer linked to a poor diet are on the rise.

Therefore, a dietician and nutritionist can be extremely helpful. They can teach people why what they are eating is bad for them, and show them what they can do to change their diet.

It’s one thing to know about food, but it’s quite another to know about people, and to be successful in this career, you need to know about both and use that knowledge to help as much as possible.

 Marriage Therapist

 Modern life has a lot to answer for, and marriage – even one that was once very strong – can fall victim to its pressures. For some couples, seeing a marriage therapist is the best way to deal with the problems, and can potentially save their marriage completely.

A marriage therapist will need to be able to understand the situations and to not judge, no matter what the reasons might be for the relationship breakdown. They need to listen to their clients as they talk about their feelings and experiences within the relationship, and they need to try to get the couple to talk together, asking the right questions and pointing them in the right direction to get the answers they both need to hear.

Some therapists have their own practices whereas others work for the government or healthcare organizations.

If you truly want to help people, this could be the ideal career for you. Putting a marriage or partnership back together after it has fallen apart is not something everyone can do, and it’s important to note that in some cases it is better for the couple to separate if they are just not going to be happy together.


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About Anas Alaoui

Anas Alaoui

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