Many people pursue a specific degree because of how likely it is to result in a high-paying job, how quickly they’re able to make entry into the field or some other immediately obvious benefit. However, only the wise minority of students actually take the time to consider a career path that is fulfilling and in line with their personal goals and morals. Of course, it’s always best to have an ideal balance of both – desirable salary and something that you love to do – and contrary to popular misconception it is possible to have both if you take the time to do your research and strongly consider all options before making any commitments.
After all, you don’t want to be stuck in a degree program for several years, and then putting forth a considerable effort to land your first job, only to then change your mind later on. With that said, here are seven different degrees that you may want to look into if educating and empowering others is something you’re interested in doing in the long-term:
1. School Counseling
If you’d prefer to help children and adolescents, then you may want to consider a degree in education with a specialization in school counseling. The curriculum is specifically geared towards counseling students in the K-12 group, so such programs will equip you to provide potentially life-changing counsel to students of all ages. Best of all, an online master’s degree can be earned in just 2-3 years using a program like Vanderbilt University’s – for more information, click the link: https://peabodyonline.vanderbilt.edu/programs/master-in-school-counseling/.
During your studies, you’ll assimilate theoretical knowledge and practical experience that will help you assess and address any emotional, mental, physical, or social issues that could be affecting a student’s ability to learn and get the most out of their schooling. As a professional counselor, you’ll play a key role in the lives of many students and you’ll undoubtedly have a lasting effect on their memories as they continue to face challenges later in life.
Becoming a psychiatrist is one of the lengthier career paths you can take, typically taking about eight years to achieve the title of “board-certified psychiatrist.” However, in exchange for the challenging and long academic route, you’ll be rewarded with a set of skills that are in high demand and a more detailed understanding of why people suffer from a wide variety of social and emotional disorders.
With scientific knowledge of how to diagnose and help correct these underlying disorders, you’ll be in an ideal position to help people overcome unseen obstacles, reduce stress and other negative emotions, and promote productivity and progress in their daily lives.
3. Clinical Social Work
Earning a degree in clinical social work will make you eligible for a wide range of jobs that let you work directly with clients to help them surmount psychological, biological, social, and spiritual dysfunctions.
As a social worker, you’ll be directly assisting in the recovery and development of troubled families and individuals, so it’s a good job for someone who enjoys working with people on a long-term basis and seeing the positive results of their work in the field. Plus, if you pursue the degree full-time you can graduate in just two years and have the credentials needed to start building your initial experience on the way to becoming a licensed social worker.
4. Marriage and Family Therapy
If you want to help people mend damaged relationships and address family issues, then becoming a marriage and family therapist (MFT) might be an ideal course of action. As an MFT, you’ll help people identify the root of problems within their marriage or family lives.
Of course, such knowledge is also useful to have when you’re trying to raise a family and maintain a healthy marriage in your own time, so it’s a degree that offers skills with benefits that carry over into your personal life as well. After earning your degree, you’ll need to acquire two years of supervised clinical experience before obtaining licensure as a professional MFT.
Although psychology is similar to psychiatry in that it focuses on helping people overcome mental illnesses, psychology takes a non-medicine-based approach. While psychiatrists will typically prescribe medications to help treat disorders, psychologists focus more on psychotherapeutic methods for addressing mental and behavioral issues.
In some states, psychologists have the ability to prescribe a limited range of medications, but usually, psychologists are not responsible for writing prescriptions. Still, despite not having the ability to prescribe medications in most states, the path to becoming a psychologist takes about as long as becoming a psychiatrist – roughly eight years – so it really comes down to personal preference.
There’s a widespread shortage of nurses right now and the demand is expected to increase even further within the next five years. It only takes about two years to become a nurse and there are nursing jobs available almost everywhere, so it’s an ideal route to take if a fast career path and consistent employment are high on your list of priorities.
As a nurse, you’ll be working hands-on with patients, providing the comfort and care needed to help them heal, recover, and enjoy their medical visit or stay. It’s also the most common entry-level position in the medical field because it gives you the chance to work alongside doctors and gain valuable experience.
7. Naturopathic Medicine
Helping people gain control of their physical and mental health via adjustments in diet and lifestyle can be a highly fulfilling job to have. As a naturopathic doctor, you’ll be knowledgeable in the usage of herbs and natural remedies for treating virtually every ailment and disease on a holistic basis. Anyone who has a passion for natural healing and healthcare should consider earning a degree in naturopathic medicine, to not only help people deal with their current health problems but also to educate them about things they can do to sustain their wellbeing in the future.
However, don’t underestimate the requirements for practicing naturopaths, as you’ll have to undergo a four-year degree program followed by 2-5 years of clinical experience in order to start your own practice. On the other hand, naturopathic doctors (NDs) do make a desirable annual salary of almost $75,000 on average, so it’s worth considering this as a long-term career option if it’s something you’re passionate about.
The Importance of Building a Career Around Passion
Anyone who needs to derive a strong sense of purpose from their job should strongly consider a career that is going to have them facilitating positive change in the lives of others. Furthermore, career surveys have repeatedly proven that people who are passionate about their jobs enjoy greater job longevity and a higher chance of climbing the ladder to higher paying positions.
Any job that you don’t enjoy doing will eventually become unbearable. So, for the sake of maintaining a good quality of life and mental state, it’s imperative that you choose a career that you’re not going to eventually despise. The degree types mentioned above are not only geared towards helping people, they’re also complete with their own intriguing educational curriculums that will serve to keep you intellectually busy and fascinated throughout your career.