5 Careers That Make A Difference

Jeff Oakes was a successful architect earning six-figures and living his dream in San Francisco. But, when two of this close friends died unexpectedly, his priorities changed. Oakes quit his cushy job, moved to India and now teaches rural villagers business principles. His only means of income is selling custom clothing made from fabric manufactured by the villagers. Oakes told Concordia Online that he has yet to turn a profit with his new business, but he wakes up everyday excited about bringing positive change to the world.

Psychologist Oliver Robinson of the University of Greenwich in London describes Oakes’ situation as a quarter-life crisis. Young adults go through the traditional steps in life of college, career, marriage and kids; however, there comes a point in many people’s lives when meaning becomes more important than money. Robinson and his colleague interviewed 50 self-described crisis sufferers and found that 80 percent said it was a positive experience.

Everybody must work to support themselves, but some careers can offer more meaning and purpose in life than others. Interested in careers that make a difference in the lives of other people? These five options may fit the bill.

Organic Farming

The Non-GMO Project estimates that 80 percent of the food Americans eat contain genetically-modified organisms. Whether it’s vegetables sprayed with weed-resistant chemicals (like Roundup herbicide), beef raised on GMO grain or processed foods containing GMO soy and corn products, it’s a difficult task to find all-natural food in the U.S. today.

Organic farming takes commitment and dedication. Profits are low and work hours are long, but the growing anti-GMO movement in America will vigorously support you. Those wishing to sell produce or meat with an organic label must get USDA certification. There are no formal education requirements and most of the trade can be learned through hands-on experience. The USDA also provides grants and loans for those interested in organic farming.


The Federal Trade Commission received more than 2 million consumer fraud and identity theft complaints in 2013, reports National Criminal Justice Reference Service. Unfortunately, this only accounts for reported incidents. A 2014 study by Javelin Strategy & Research found that identify fraud occurs every 2 seconds in the U.S.

The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies (NICCS) is one of the best online resources for information on careers and education in the field. You also can get involved in Cyber Competitions, which simulate real-world identity crime and defensive maneuvers. Or, you can get hands-on experience at an identity protection company like LifeLock.


The 2006 General Social Survey by the University of Chicago found that 80 percent of firefighters were “very satisfied ” with their jobs. Firefighters are some of the most respected people in the community and provide a priceless public service.

One way to become a firefighter is to volunteer for your local station. You’ll need CPR training and must pass a physical examination before earning your hard hat. FireScience.org also recommends a fire science degree, but it is not necessary in all jurisdictions.

Registered Nurse

There are two positives to becoming a registered nurse: you can make a direct impact on thousands of people’s lives and you can earn a relatively high wage.

Those wishing to become nurses can enter the field as a certified nursing assistant (CNA). This will help you gain valuable experience to prepare you for licensure as an RN. Check out all the different CNA to RN college programs available that allow you to work while you learn.

Veterinary Technician

The Humane Society estimates there are 2.7 million dogs and cats euthanized every year. Animal lovers cringe when they hear these stats, so you may want to do your small part as a veterinary technician.

Animal shelters are always in need of vet techs to administer medications, assist in surgery and do anything else that is needed. An associate’s degree is required to enter the field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the job market for vet techs to grow 30 percent by 2022, so now is a good time to enter the field.


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