14 Rewarding Jobs That Help People and Pay Well (& Make a Difference)

Want to make a difference and earn a comfortable salary doing so? Read our list of most rewarding jobs that help people in various ways to find satisfying, meaningful, and fulfilling careers to consider.

If you’re looking for a new career, chances are high that you have some requirements.

Maybe it’s making a difference or having a high satisfaction with your job. Of course, making a comfortable salary while also helping others would be nice, too.

Luckily there are quite a few jobs out there with high levels of satisfaction and good pay. Not to mention, they’re personally rewarding jobs, as well.

So if you’re ready to get out there and make a mark on the world, we’ve got a list of fourteen rewarding jobs for you!

Read on below to learn more. 

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In no particular order, here are more than a dozen of the most fulfilling jobs that pay well:

1. Speech-Language Pathologist

Speech-language pathologists have an extremely rewarding career. They get to assist people with speech issues such as stroke victims, people who suffer from swallowing disorders, and others. Day to day, an SLP might help people young and old to communicate better, reduce stuttering, make sense of what they read and hear, and work on literacy, among other things.

While becoming a speech-language pathologist requires a clinical master’s degree, the pay is good, if not great. Salaries for SLPs start at around $55k a year, but most make nearly six figures annually or more.

So not only can you have a job where you help people live better lives, you can also make a comfortable living doing so. 

2. Dental Hygienist

While the idea of working with people’s teeth may make some people squeamish, dental hygienists regularly report some of the highest levels of job satisfaction.

It’s a very necessary service and a good hygienist can make someone’s dreaded dental visit a little more tolerable. 

Plus, the hours are great and the work is relatively low-stress. The job is always in high demand so salaries are much higher than you’d expect. 

Related Read: 40+ Best Summer Job Ideas for High School & College Students

3. Teacher

Almost everyone has a teacher who made an impact on them growing up. Why not become that person for someone else?

While teaching is notoriously underpaid and overworked, many teachers are in it for life despite that.

You have a direct positive influence on children’s lives. Getting to see a child grasp something new or grow into a better person is fulfilling in and of itself. This makes teaching one of the most rewarding jobs out there.

And if you play your cards right, with the right certifications and school district choices, you can actually make a very comfortable salary. 

4. Physical Therapist

Similar to speech-language pathologists, physical therapists work with people who have been injured or disabled in some way. 

The job description entails helping your patients develop exercise routines and movements that will alleviate their pain or restore their range of motion. 

Imagine helping someone injured in an accident learn how to walk again. Physical therapy is definitely one of the jobs that make a difference. 

Additionally, the salary ranges for certified physical therapists are very comfortable, and you will always be in high demand. 

Related Read: Best Jobs For College Students

5. Forester

Forestry is one of the oldest professions in the world. If you are the type of person who likes to work out in nature every day, being a forester might be an extremely rewarding job.

Forestry involves taking care of trees and other native forest plants and animals. If you’re a firebug, you can also get a controlled burn license and help prevent forest fires. 

Being a forester means being on the front lines of conservation and wilderness preservation. And most foresters make a very good salary, with ranges into the six figures depending on experience and qualifications. 

6. Substance Abuse Counselor

While this profession is not for the faint of heart, a person with a great deal of empathy and understanding can excel as a substance abuse counselor.

Substance abuse counselors deal with people who struggle with drugs and alcohol addiction, helping them to get sober and stay sober. 

And what could be more rewarding than giving someone a new lease on life? 

Certified substance abuse counselors can bring home a decent salary, as well. If you add on a master’s degree in psychology, you’ll find yourself in massive demand and one of the most fulfilling careers. 

Related Read: 75+ First-Time Job Ideas for Teens & College Students

7. Service Dog Trainer

If you’re a dog lover, this is the perfect job for you. Service animals provide a much-needed companion to veterans and disabled people.

However, they have to be trained in order to behave well in public and provide the care that their owner/handler needs. 

There are many different service dog specializations, and it’s a good idea to pick an area to become an expert in. 

Service dogs are incredibly expensive, and most of that expense goes to paying their trainers. 

So if you love working with dogs and want to help people in need, this may be a great and rewarding job for you.

8. Software Developer  

This one may come as a bit of a surprise, but software developers consistently rank as some of the most satisfied with their jobs.

Software development entails coming up with technological solutions to people’s problems. Whether it’s mobile phone games or complex business software, software developers have high job security and salary. 

Additionally, this is a well-paid career that does not require a college education. Many software developers are self-taught, and many websites offer classes on programming and related topics. 

Another appeal of this career is that it has a high level of remote work. So if working from home during your own hours appeals to you, this might be a good fit.

Related Read: 13 Best Work From Home Jobs for Remote / Online Work

9. Firefighter

Firefighters are culturally revered as heroes. As first responders, it is your job to save lives. 

Firefighters respond to emergencies such as fires and car accidents. Most firefighters are EMT trained, as well. 

Some firefighters can specialize in things such as wildfire fighting or search and rescue. Whichever path you choose as a firefighter, you will be directly making an impact on people’s lives and wellbeing. 

Firefighters make a comfortable salary and work odd but very tolerable hours. 

10. Data Analyst

Data analysts are like a hybrid of a statistician and a programmer. 

They collect data and run it through specially-written programs in order to clean it up and analyze it for patterns and trends.

Many data analysts work from home, and it can even be done as a freelance or consultant profession, allowing you to set your own hours and terms.

Not to mention, data analysts are in extremely high demand. It is one of the fastest-growing job fields that commands a high salary.

If you want to become a data analyst, start learning programming languages such as Python. A bachelor’s degree in a statistics-heavy science or math field is also a common job requirement. 

Related Read: 10 Best Cover Letter Tips & Tricks Sure to Score Job Interviews

11. Dietitian

Dietitians are trained medical professionals who consult with patients about nutrition and overall health. 

If you have a passion for helping people overcome eating disorders, or simply want to help people live their healthiest lives, this might be a great job for you.

Dietitians evaluate a patient’s needs and goals for health and weight loss/gain. They then develop a diet plan to help them meet those goals.

Dietitians can specialize in a number of sub-fields. Eating disorders, obese patients, diabetic patients, and children are common specializations for dietitians. 

This is a very well-paid field that requires an advanced degree and certifications. Most dieticians operate a private practice, which contributes to overall job satisfaction as they set their own prices and hours. 

12. Occupational Therapist

While it sounds similar to a physical therapist, an occupational therapist’s job deals more with personal struggles in the workplace. 

Occupational therapists often work with patients from childhood. These patients usually have mental struggles such as ADHD or autism.

Occupational therapists help their patients learn to adapt and thrive in traditional work environments. 

This is a job well-suited for people who want to help others succeed and find meaning in their own lives. 

Related Read: 55 Resume Tips, Hacks & Expert Advice to Help You Score a Job Interview

13. Personal Trainer

This is another great job for you if you like helping people achieve their goals and be their best.

Personal trainers assist people with physical activities such as lifting weights or running.

You need a strong grasp of kinesiology and proper form. Many personal trainers major in kinesthetics in college, although some seek alternative certification.

It goes without saying that personal trainers are in excellent physical condition themselves. If you like to break a sweat and pump iron, being a personal trainer might be a great fit for you.

Additionally, most personal trainers work for themselves. You can set your own hours and prices, which is great for work-life balance. And when you are at work, you’re getting to work out while encouraging your clients!

14. Optometrist

Optometrists are highly-educated medical professionals. But rather than dealing with internal diseases and emergencies, optometrists help people to see.

Besides doing eye examinations and prescribing glasses and contacts, optometrists can also specialize in areas such as vision therapy, sports vision, elderly care, and pediatrics. 

Optometrists make a median salary of over $100k, making them one of the highest-paid jobs on this list. They also generally operate their own practices. 

Related Read: 10+ Job Search Tips & Tricks to Up Your Chances of Landing an Interview

What Makes a Job Rewarding For You?

No matter where your passions and interests lead you, there is certainly a fulfilling and rewarding career path for you out there.

Balancing your personal and professional time while making a decent salary and being satisfied with your job is important to your overall happiness with life. And remember that it’s never too late to change careers to find more rewarding jobs!

Whether you are just getting started in your career or looking to make a change in your chosen profession, Goodwall’s got you covered. Head back over to the Goodwall Blog to check out all our other professional career resources. And, if you have any questions, feedback, or other entries to add to our list of meaningful jobs that pay well and careers that make a difference, leave us a comment below!

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Goodwall Team
Written By Goodwall Team
This article was written by the Goodwall team or by a contributor for publication on Goodwall. Goodwall is dedicated to helping students, entrepreneurs, and young professionals reach their full potential. We'll share thought-provoking and supportive articles on career advice, self-improvement, navigating the college landscape, climate action, social impact, and more. On the business side, we'll talk about SMB subjects related to community, diversity, talent acquisition, case studies, and enterprise.

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