Striving to Serve Your Nation? Consider These 5 Educational Paths

One question you might have been asked at least once in your life is, “what do you wish to become as you mature?” And the answer to this question might have probably changed gazillion times as the years passed. Nonetheless, let’s admit it – you have always wanted to pursue a career that has got to do with bringing positive change in your country. Professions such as social work, teaching, and firefighting might draw your attention as these allow you to serve your nation.

Now, when the time has arrived to start establishing a career, it’s contingent on you which career pathway to choose to make a real difference. The good news is that educational paths that allow you to work for the betterment of the country aren’t few and far between. There exist a broad spectrum of careers in various fields. You only need to pick the one that aligns well with your interests and do some research.

Ahead is a roundup of academic paths that could serve as a starting point for altruistic individuals:

Law enforcement

Law enforcement is an immensely fulfilling field that allows aspiring professionals to work and live in service to the community. While there are several career opportunities in law enforcement, one of the most active, influential, and rewarding is becoming a police officer. Police officers are dedicated professionals who put their lives at stake to protect the community and prevent crime. The presence of these professionals nurtures a sense of trust and safety.

There are several reasons to become a police officer, including financial perks, advancement opportunities, a fast-paced work setting, and the chance to impact communities positively.

Some of the typical job responsibilities of these law enforcement professionals are:

  • Detain suspects, investigate crime scenes, solve complaints of local community members
  • Come up with outreach programs to educate the citizens
  • Offer transportation to community members with stolen or broken vehicles
  • Issue warrants and commitments to comply with court orders

To become a part of this profession, individuals should obtain a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or other related fields. Further, they must enroll in a police academy to acquire the necessary training.

Public health

It’s a unique area of study that merges various academic domains to form a multipronged approach to the healthcare field. Public health primarily centers on preventing health problems among different populations and promoting healthy lifestyle practices. 

With a combination of inquiry, research, and action, the field engages people appertaining to diverse backgrounds to unearth the underlying cause of health issues. On a given day, the job duties of public health professionals include:

  • Perform meticulous research to prevent the spread of diseases and illnesses
  • Come up with health initiatives and devise various health programs to educate public
  • Identify health hazards and enforce laws, policies, and regulations to ensure health and safety
  • Formulate health delivery systems and take measures to maintain community health

Individuals should develop strong analytical thinking, communication, teamwork, cultural competency, and strategic thinking skills to qualify for this field. Ambitious individuals can expect a median salary of $52,386 each year.

Social work

Individuals who wish to help vulnerable communities and want to be a key driver for change can pursue a career in social work. It’s a profession that encompasses an understanding of change, social development, coherence, people empowerment, and social-economic development.

Social work is a complex yet incredibly gratifying field that enables the emotionally-strong individuals to challenge outdated systems and policies. It also allows professionals to fight for justice and make the entire country a better place to live for all its residents.

Let’s review some of the typical job responsibilities of social workers:

  • Organize support packages to help people reduce dependencies
  • Monitor the client’s progress and make amendments to treatment plans if necessary
  • Arrange resources, provide crisis intervention, and advocate on the client’s behalf

The rewarding field of social work is likely to grow by 12% by 2030, translating to a world of career opportunities for aspiring social workers. However, the earning potential of each career in social work varies. For instance, the average salary for healthcare social workers is $60,840 annually. In contrast, the median annual wage of child and family social workers is $49,150.

Education

The field of education might draw the attention of those who wish to shape the younger minds of the nation, make a tangible difference in their lives, and help them become the leaders of tomorrow. Educators unarguably play an integral role in inspiring students and helping them reach their full potential. 

The cause-driven professionals in this field believe in the transformational power of education and work to leave a long-lasting impact on individuals and society. The knowledge teachers and other educators, directly or indirectly, impart to students continue onto the upcoming generations.

As an educator, individuals can expect to perform the following responsibilities:

  • Oversee classrooms to foster a conducive and positive learning environment
  • Evaluate progress reports and plan educational events
  • Create curriculum patterns and research the newest educational techniques

The field is likely to witness a growth rate of 10%, adding almost 920,500 new employment opportunities. However, to avail of these job opportunities, individuals should develop critical thinking, creativity, effective communication, and adaptability skills.

Psychology

Mental health disorders are one of the most common health conditions in the United States. According to the National Institute of Mental Health findings, around 52.9 million people battled mental illness in 2020. Also, approximately 40.3 million adults (aged 12 or above) suffered from substance abuse disorder in the same year. These staggering statistics show how critical it is to help people work through these challenging health problems. 

Individuals interested in counseling and therapy can choose to build a career in psychology. Psychologists gain an in-depth understanding of human behavior and mental functioning. In turn, these professionals assist people in coping with stress, depression, and anxiety symptoms and contend with traumatic events.

The job duties of psychologists include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Conduct psychological tests and diagnose mental and behavioral illnesses
  • Formulate treatment plans that align with the patient’s needs
  • Collaborate with case managers and treatment facilities to develop care plans

According to BLS, the 2021 median salary of psychologists was $81,040 per year. But to earn this lucrative salary, one must earn a doctoral degree and state licensure to work. 

Final Words

While our professions are a means to earn a living, it’s crucial that we also find them purposive and meaningful. More often than not, too many people wish to serve their country. However, only a few possess the courage and dedication to turn their wish into reality. 

For such people, making a real difference is equally satisfying, if not more, than a massive paycheck at the end of every month. If you’re one of these individuals, here’s the good news. Irrespective of your interests and skills, plenty of ways exist to build a career that allows you to make a significant impact. 

The educational paths outlined above are just a few of the many you can pursue. So, pick the one that piques your interest and research a bit more to gain in-depth insight. This way, you’ll get closer to embarking on a rewarding and purpose-driven career.

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