When individuals graduate from high school, they often look to one of a few paths;
Find a job
Join the military, or
Sign up to enter a program such as the Peace Corps.
Whatever the chosen path may be, many 17 and 18-year-olds do not know for sure what they want to do career-wise for the rest of their lives. This often makes choosing a job or a college major a difficult choice. Many people wonder, “do I go for pre-med?”, “do I work at a grocery store to gain experience first?” or “should I enroll in community college to save money?” The possibilities are truly endless, and this makes many people choose the wrong path.
If the above scenario describes you or you are not satisfied with your current career, here are a few rewarding career paths you can always pursue at any time.
1. Civil Law Profession
The law profession is a complex and meaningful one. In fact, with so many paths to take in the legal field itself, it’s no wonder there are approximately 1.34 million lawyers in the United States currently.
In 2018, the median average salary for lawyers was approximately $120,000. After earning a bachelor’s degree, those seeking to become lawyers must apply to and attend law school, and getting in is no easy task. It takes a high LSAT score, exceptional grades in undergraduate studies, and the proper volunteer work and extracurriculars to stand out among other applicants.
If you’re looking to make a rewarding career change, consider these aspects of becoming a lawyer. While it takes a significant amount of work to become a lawyer, it can also be a very rewarding career depending on the experiences you gain, the specialty you choose, and the law firm, government entity, or nonprofit organization you choose to work for after graduating from law school.
A rewarding career change in the legal field means choosing a specialty that is appealing, interesting, and important to you personally. What are some of these specialties?
a. Family law: A family law attorney essentially helps families and couples in several different ways. They may help couples in mediation, divorce, or adoption processes. Family law also deals with child custody, establishing paternity, and the emancipation of minors.
If you are interested in the legal field, care about and are sociable with people, want to help families and couples through difficult times, and want to advocate for children and individuals in difficult circumstances, then making a rewarding career change and becoming a family law attorney may be a great fit for you.
b. Criminal law: If you are interested in criminal law and want to help innocent victims in dangerous, difficult, and/or uncertain situations, then becoming a criminal defense lawyer may be the right move for you.
Studying criminal law includes learning about socioeconomically disadvantaged populations who are more likely to be convicted of crimes whether they have committed them or not. This rewarding career change means you must have empathy and understanding for any person in any circumstance.
If you seek to become a policy-maker and want to fight to change laws you view as unfit or prejudicial, a career in criminal law is a great way to dive into the world of crime, politics, and making a change in the country.
c. Environmental law: If you care about the environment and seek to make and enforce bigger environmental changes and policies in the country, world, and planet, then making a rewarding career change and entering this particular field of law may be the best route for you to pursue.
Environmental lawyers can work for private practices specializing in this field of law, or they can work for government entities. Either way, environmental lawyers fight to protect and preserve our planet as well as advocate for better environmental practices and laws to be put into place.
Law offers many career options; with so many fields to choose from based on your interests and passion. And, you can make a rewarding career there.
2. Work at a nonprofit law firm
If you are interested in the law and helping people on a bigger level but don’t have an interest in attending law school, working for a nonprofit agency or nonprofit government entity law firm may be a great alternative.
Nonprofit law firms provide free legal services and advice to socioeconomically disadvantaged families and individuals. These services may adhere to evictions, issues paying rent, food stamps, and other financial problems. Essentially, paralegals, legal secretaries, lawyers, and other personnel working in a nonprofit law firm all contribute to one of the many goals of nonprofit law agencies; closing the gaps in accessing to justice and legal representation for people who cannot afford legal services otherwise.
If you don’t want to attend law school, consider obtaining certification or earning a bachelor’s or associate’s degree to become a legal secretary or a paralegal. If you already have a degree, you may be able to make a rewarding career change and obtain one of these positions now.
3. Care for patients in healthcare
Your idea of a rewarding career change may not include the law. In fact, you may want to help people by joining the healthcare profession. There are several avenues to consider depending on your previous experience and your willingness or ability to obtain more professional schooling. What avenues are there to choose from?
First, you may consider going back to school and earning an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Nurses can have flexible schedules and can make great money. Nurses can work in hospitals, private practices, nursing homes, or schools. If you love working with children, being a nurse at an elementary school may be a great fit for you.
If you want to help patients recover from surgery or help women give birth, working in a hospital would be best. If you want to provide care to elderly people and make them feel comfortable, working for an independent senior living facility or a nursing home would be a great job for you.
Another avenue in the healthcare industry that would allow for a rewarding career change is working in the nonprofit sector. Nurses, doctors, other healthcare providers, and administrative personnel can work in nonprofit agencies and government entities. While the pay may be lower, providing the necessary resources as well as healthcare for uninsured people may be an important cause that you are passionate about.
If you don’t want to go back to school and obtain a degree to become a nurse, doctor, physical therapist, physician assistant, or another healthcare professional, then becoming an administrator or customer service representative for a healthcare nonprofit agency would be a wonderful position for you. It would allow you to help socioeconomically disadvantaged individuals seek the medical attention they need and not have to worry about insurance restrictions or high hospital bills.
4. Help patients as a therapist
Another field within the healthcare profession involves providing mental health counseling or therapy to individuals seeking help for a variety of reasons. You can choose to go back to school and obtain a master’s degree in mental health counseling or another specific avenue of counseling.
Aside from one, two, or three-year master’s degree programs, earning a doctoral degree in psychology, psychiatry, or another related field would take several years. If you wish to make a rewarding career change and become a counselor or therapist, research your options and programs that would work best for you depending on your previous schooling and financial situation.
Counselors and therapists can help individuals with a number of issues, diagnoses, and in a number of situations. First, marriage counseling helps couples resolve issues in their marriage. Couples may seek help with conflicts involving infidelity, differing parenting strategies, communication, and/or unmet emotional needs. By helping couples resolve their issues, you would be guiding them to learn from one another, grow together, and help families move forward.
Second, mental health counseling is another rewarding career that allows you to diagnose and counsel patients with a range of mental health issues and disorders. These issues may include eating disorders, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorders, and personality disorders.
Counseling patients would require exceptional listening and communication skills, organizational skills, ethical knowledge, respect, professional practice, and good education. Counselors can truly help patients by allowing them to see their issue or disorder and providing them guidance to treat and manage it.
Becoming a counselor or therapist would truly be a rewarding career change that would allow you to help people mentally and personally every day.
Individuals who do not have a physical condition might need to see a mental health counselor about personal issues and dilemmas. For example, a woman undergoing hormone replacement therapy for fertility may be experiencing emotional pressure, and fear of uncertainty about the success of the treatment. A mental health counselor would help her through this situation by offering guidance and support after carefully listening to all she has to say. If you wish to help people in a meaningful way, making a rewarding career change and becoming a counselor or therapist may be something to truly consider.
5. A community landscaper
Aside from joining the legal and healthcare industries, there are several other jobs that would allow for a rewarding career change to help people and the Earth. If you love being outside, taking care of the Earth, and contributing to your community in meaningful and impactful ways, then consider becoming a landscaper or gardener for your town or city.
Becoming a landscaper or gardener for your town or city can mean you get to contribute to making it beautiful through tree maintenance and care, lawn mowing, pulling weeds, planting flowers, and utilizing decorative mulch to make a park look and feel clean and beautiful for visitors. Taking care of plants and other natural features in parks would allow you to make a contribution to your community in a meaningful way.
You could help organize and take part in town or city-led initiatives that involve cleaning up parks, rivers, and highways, preserving wildlife and natural beauty, and educating the public about recycling and other environmentally-conscious ways to run a household. You could also lead volunteer gardeners and organize school field trips that allow students to learn about the environment as well as landscaping and gardening.
While being a landscaper may not make a lot of money to afford luxury vehicle rentals or boats, the meaningful days spent making your community a natural and beautiful place may be worth a whole lot more to you. If this is an avenue you’d like to take, consider making this rewarding career change for the betterment of your community and the Earth.
Role of passion and deep interests
All of these career opportunities above have one thing in common – adding value to the world and its people. Being a lawyer or in a law firm allow you to help families and individuals by bringing change through law enforcement and policy development.
Nonprofit services in the law firm or healthcare give you an opportunity to help individuals obtain services they couldn’t be able to access otherwise. Healthcare also comprises many subspecialties that help individuals physically and mentally as doctors, nurses, therapists, and counselors.
By becoming a landscaper, you can beautify the environment through your vocation.
However, in any area you want to choose, you must put your peculiar passions first. Let your deepest interests guide you in your choice because it can only be truly rewarding if you are passionate about it.
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