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Meet Your 9 Possible Social Justice Careers

Turn your activism into a viable, meaningful career. We've compiled a list of the top 9 jobs that will spark change. 

January 18, 2023

Takashi Ohno

So, you’ve volunteered at your local homeless shelter, gone to protests, and canvassed for a local representative. While your work makes an active difference, there’s only so much time to devote to helping others during non-work hours. 

If you have the passion for turning your activism into a viable, meaningful career but need help narrowing your interests, we’ve compiled a list of the top 9 jobs that have an impact

1. Lawyer

A career in law may be for you. 

You can specialize in the type of law you want to practice and create an umbrella for who you want to serve. Becoming a Defense Attorney, Immigration Lawyer, Employment Lawyer, or Human Rights Lawyer are just a few specializations that allow you to do the greater good.

If you’re unsure if you want to go to law school, becoming a paralegal is a great way to gain experience at a law office. It will also allow you to refine your writing and other hard skills while understanding the intricacies of your state’s laws. While working as a legal professional can be immensely rewarding, expect to work long hours starting out with a salary on the lower end of the salary range.

Median Pay: $127,990

Job Growth: 9%

Education Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree & Juris Doctor Degree

 

2. Social Work

Social Workers empower individuals and families to overcome significant social challenges. They can work in schools, healthcare, community development organizations, prisons, child welfare, and other similar settings. 

While there isn’t an average day-to-day, you can expect to deescalate an individual's mental health crisis, provide social support when dealing with substance abuse, and diagnose and help treat mental health issues.

You would be in direct contact with your community's most vulnerable and help them get employment, housing, and other help that they may need.  

Are you unsure if you want to pursue a career in social work? Interning or volunteering your time at schools, prisons, and shelters for unhoused people is a great way to interact with your community and meet professional social workers.

Median Pay: $50,390

Job Growth: 12%

Education Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree // Most programs require a Master’s Degree

 

3. Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) Specialist

Are you interested in reforming outdated corporate practices? Do you want to ensure that all people employed by your company feel safe, included, and accepted regardless of their background? Well, a career in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) may be for you. 

Your daily responsibilities might include developing policies that promote diverse hiring practices, updating corporate policies to accommodate the mental & physical health of your employees, and teaching employees to be more accepting of different cultural backgrounds.

Want to explore this career path? Interning in a human resources or DEI department will help you gain invaluable experience implementing employee-conscious practices. 

Note on Median Pay & Job Growth: Since this is a relatively new field in corporate offices, statistical data is not provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some articles cite a surge in hiring for these positions. Still, there isn’t a comprehensive job growth projection for the next ten years. And while these exponential job growth numbers are promising, they do not reflect the national average or poll a large chunk of the workforce. 

Education Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree 

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4. Community Health Workers

The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us that there is a huge need for cohesive health practices that protect people at the local, state, and national levels. 

Having a career in public health means that you would promote healthy lifestyles in your municipality, gather and analyze health data to promote better health outcomes, and refer individuals to health, housing, and mental health services to lessen the barriers to quality healthcare.

You can typically find a community health worker in a public health department, nonprofit, or healthcare facility. 

Median Pay: $48,860

Job Growth: 17%

Education Requirements: Bachelor's Degree // Some programs require a Master's or Doctoral Degree

 

    5. Community Development Specialist

    What would your day as a community development specialist look like? Well, you would be involved in urban planning, assessing low-cost housing needs, and playing a role in your municipality's revitalization efforts.

    Taking part in a revitalization project might include adding green space in a community and making sure that there are healthy food options and reliable healthcare. You would work closely with city planners, social workers, construction agencies, and urban planning departments (water, sewage, waste management) to accomplish these goals.

    If you want to improve your area's quality of life and reduce the impacts of climate change, a community development career can help make tangible changes.

    Median Pay: $74,000

    Job Growth: 15%

    Education Requirements: Bachelor's Degree

     

    6. Social Policy Analyst

    In short, social policy analysts study current laws' impact and propose policy changes to better serve people at the local, state, or national levels. 

    You would compile new and existing data to map out macro trends of a law's effect, analyze said data to identify potential solutions, and propose changes that would promote quality education, employment opportunities, and healthcare while working to reduce discrimination and promote social health

    While holding this position you may not interact with community members as frequently as a social worker or a teacher. Still, you get to work with government, academic, and nonprofit entities to develop these laws that can bring about better social health.

    Median Pay: $122,510

    Job Growth: 9%

    Education Requirements: Bachelor's Degree & Master's Degree

     

    7. Fundraiser

    As a fundraiser for a nonprofit, consulting firm, or other organization, you would be writing the proposal that ultimately gets your team's social justice initiatives funded. You would also identify potential donors, create and organize fundraising events and maintain a transparent relationship with donors and recipients.

    While you may not have the resources of a larger institution, you may have more opportunities to facilitate a smaller but more tailored approach to the mission that you are serving. You will also directly interview community members to gather information to understand how best to collect and allocate your nonprofit's resources.

    Median Pay: $60,660

    Job Growth: 16%

    Education Requirements: Bachelor's Degree

     

    8. Medical Interpreter

    While applications like Google Translate may make it seem like professional translators are becoming obsolete, that could be further from the truth. Over 20% of American households, or 59.5 million people, speak a non-English language at home. 37 million speak Spanish at home, and that number is expected to grow during this decade.

    Like most fields in healthcare, being a medical translator requires you to possess both technical knowledge and emotional intelligence. Communicating a medical prognosis in two languages is imperative to ensure that patients get effective, prompt healthcare and that doctors and patients are on the same page.

    Median Pay: $49,110

    Job Growth: 24%

    Education Requirements: Bachelor's Degree

     

    9. Teacher

    Becoming a teacher gives you an exclusive opportunity to educate students of all backgrounds, gain invaluable learning experience with the students and communities you serve, and provide children of all socioeconomic backgrounds opportunities to shape a more equitable future. 

    As a teacher you will play an active role in your students' learning and development, positively affect students and families for years to come, have access to professional development and educational resources, and build relationships with fellow teachers, educational partners, and supporters.

    Working as a teacher is a great way to serve your community and understand where the social meets the political. 

    Median Pay: $61,350

    Job Growth: 8%

    Education Requirements: Bachelor's Degree with additional certification based on the state you teach

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    Interested in more posts like this?

    Check out our blog The Fuse to learn, grow, and imagine a more equitable future, the role you can play, and how to be part of that change.
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