11 Careers If You Want to Help People (But Don't Want to Be a Doctor)

So, you want to help people. That’s a noble desire—and one you should be proud of! It’s important to nurture this characteristic as you head to college.

Many people channel their desire to help people into traditional medical professions. But what if you don’t want to be a doctor or a nurse, or you don’t feel like you’re cut out for medical school?

Your inclination to serve others can open the door to more career options than you may realize. There are a lot of different ways you can improve your community and the lives of those around you.

11 Careers to Consider If You Want to Help People

In today’s day and age, you don’t need to become a doctor just because you want to help people. You could pursue a number of career paths. Here are 11 other options to consider.

  1. Teacher. Few careers offer you the opportunity to shape the future like education does. Nearly every future leader will depend upon teachers to prepare them for tomorrow. If you like children and want to see them reach new heights in the classroom (and ultimately, outside of it), you may enjoy a career as an educator.
  2. Social worker. Maybe you want to advocate for society’s most vulnerable. Social workers help people—particularly the most at-risk populations—overcome challenges in their everyday lives. It’s a great opportunity to make a tangible and lasting change in the lives of others.
  3. Police officer. If you have a strong desire to protect and serve the people in your community (and are prepared to put your life on the line to do so), consider a career in law enforcement.
  4. Minister. Feel a strong sense of calling to tend to the spiritual needs of your community? Consider serving in ministry either in a local church, a missionary role overseas, or some other non-traditional ministry.
  5. Guidance counselor. High school years are a formative time in a person’s life. As a guidance counselor, you can help students succeed academically, socially, and emotionally as you support them in their path toward graduation.
  6. Dietitian. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for dietitians will grow by 15 percent between 2016 and 2026. With an increase in the number of people impacted by diabetes and other diet-related illnesses, you’ll likely find lots of job opportunities that combine an interest in food, health, and one-on-one time with clients.
  7. Social entrepreneur. Tackle the biggest social problems facing the nation—and the world—by working with others to get nonprofits off the ground. Not only will you get the assurance that you’re making the world a better place, you’ll experience the satisfaction of being a part of new ventures.
  8. Personal trainer. With more and more people struggling with poor diets and lack of physical activity, you can use an interest in exercise and nutrition to help people live longer, fuller lives.
  9. Psychologist. As a psychologist, you can help people process issues from their past or help them through major life transitions and struggles, leading to improved mental health so they can more fully enjoy their life and relationships.
  10. Social justice advocate. Interested in working in the nonprofit world? Find a position within a local organization that allows you to serve others by advocating for justice and causes you believe in. Marketing, communications, project management, and even web development are just some of the positions needed in most nonprofits.
  11. Art therapy. You can use a love of art to help children or adults deal with emotional conflicts, manage addictions, reduce anxiety, and fulfill their long-term goals.

Of course, these ideas are just a start. You can help people through a variety of professions. Your ability to help others isn’t defined by your college major or chosen career; ultimately, it’s defined by the attitude you bring to your work.

Are you passionate about helping others and making a difference? Interested in working toward a degree at Azusa Pacific? Explore the university’s degree programs and consider pursuing an associated major.