Check out these careers that could help others as well as improve your happiness.
Do you dread going to work every day? You're not alone.
According to a 2009 survey, "I Can't Get No... Job Satisfaction," from the Conference Board, less than half of Americans are satisfied with their jobs.
If you're ready to take control of your career happiness, good news: There are careers out there that tend to be more fulfilling.
Keep reading to learn more.
Career #1: Psychologist
Do people turn to you when in need of a good listener or some wise advice? If you feel happy when helping people work through their problems, you might want to think about pursuing a career as a psychologist.
As a psychologist, you could study human behavior by observing how people relate to one another and their environment, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Your insights might help people at home, at work, or as they struggle with substance abuse.
Career change coach Janet Cranford highlights the differences between the two main types of psychologists. "Clinical and counseling psychologists help people understand themselves better, resolve problems that are getting in the way of living fully, and communicate more effectively. Research psychologists contribute to broader knowledge about behavior, which may affect many lives."
Things to Think About: Regardless of type, "a good psychologist is caring, empathetic, intuitive, emotionally mature, self-aware, open-minded, and patient," says Cranford.
Education: According to the Department of Labor, a bachelor's degree in psychology might be needed to prepare to pursue some master's in psychology programs. Most clinical, counseling, and research psychologists need to earn a doctoral degree. But a master's in psychology could be sufficient for industrial-organizational psychologists or school psychologists, says the Department.
Career #2: Elementary School Teacher
Do you get excited when thinking about helping shape the next generation of young minds? Consider preparing for a fulfilling career as an elementary school teacher.
As an elementary school teacher, your daily activities might include planning and assigning lessons, preparing and grading tests, and maintaining discipline in the classroom, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. And as you teach the fundamentals to children, you may be able to help them grow into confident and successful members of our society.
Things to Think About: "Elementary school teachers have the opportunity to teach children a love of learning that hopefully will last them a lifetime," Cranford says. "Good elementary school teachers are patient, organized, enthusiastic about learning, creative, and have a healthy sense of humor. And of course they enjoy being around children."
Education: A bachelor's degree in elementary education is required to pursue an elementary teaching position, according to the Department of Labor. You'll also need to get your teaching license to teach in a public school.
Career #3: Registered Nurse
If you like providing personal care to loved ones in times of difficulty, you may find happiness in a career as a registered nurse, where you could witness the most intense moments of human experience, from the beginning of life to its end.
As a registered nurse (RN), the U.S. Department of Labor says that you could treat and educate patients as well as provide them with advice and emotional support. During a typical day, you might administer medication, consult with physicians, and even run immunization clinics or blood drives.
Things to Think About: "It's worth remembering that patients often have more contact with nurses than doctors these days," Cranford says. "A good nurse is caring, empathetic, calm, patient, flexible, a good listener, and pays attention to details."
Education: One path you could take to prepare for a registered nursing career is earning your associate's degree in nursing, says the Department of Labor. The program's coursework and hands-on clinical experience could help you get ready for the national licensing examination.
Career #4: Social Worker
Do you feel passionate about standing up for people who can't always protect themselves? You may be able to make a positive difference by pursuing a career as a social worker.
As a social worker, you may help people deal with family and personal problems, life-threatening diseases, inadequate housing, or substance abuse, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. You may also assist families involved in serious domestic conflicts - sometimes involving child or spousal abuse, adds the Department of Labor.
Things to Think About: "Social workers counsel, educate, and empower people to make the most of their strengths, and connect them with community resources to help them function as independently as possible," Cranford says. "They are compassionate, caring, nonjudgmental, and have a commitment to social justice and an appreciation of diversity."
Education: According to the Department, a bachelor's degree in social work is the common route to qualify for most direct-service social work careers. A bachelor's in a related field like psychology or sociology could also work for some employers. Some social work positions may require a master's degree in social work.
Career #5: Physical Therapist Assistant
Do you gain happiness from little kindnesses like holding open a door for someone on crutches or helping an older person cross the street? You may be able to take your helpful nature to the next level by pursuing a career as a physical therapist assistant.
Physical therapy assistants could help patients improve movement and manage pain after injuries, illnesses, or surgery, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Under the supervision of a physical therapist, you might assist with therapeutic treatments such as applying hot and cold packs, giving massages, or providing electrical stimulation, adds the Department of Labor.
Things to Think About: "As a physical therapist assistant, you can help people regain their mobility and independent physical functioning," Cranford says. "Physical therapist assistants should be in good physical condition, have patience, good communication skills, and the ability to motivate."
Education: An associate's degree in physical therapy assisting is generally needed to pursue a career as a physical therapy assistant, according to the Department. Check to make sure that the program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education.
Career #6: Veterinary Technician
Were you one of those kids who always brought stray animals home? You could experience happiness each day as a veterinary technician where you could put your empathy for animals to work.
As a veterinary technician, you could monitor the behavior and condition of animals, perform laboratory tests on urine or blood, and assist veterinarians with surgical procedures or dental cleanings, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Things to Think About: "Veterinary technicians change the lives of animals and the people who love them," Cranford says. "They care for and heal animals, which are often people's pets. They also educate people about the best ways to maximize the quality of life for their pets."
Education: An associate's degree in veterinary technology is a common education path for veterinary technicians, according to the Department of Labor. And you may need to pass a credentialing exam, depending on your state.
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