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10 Jobs That Pay Well and Make a Difference in Your Community 

October 4, 2023

From ancient spiritual traditions to modern medical research, there is substantial proof that happiness and fulfillment can come from helping others. But with working 40 hours or more each week in a full-time job, you may be wondering how to find the time and energy outside of work to help others when you are trying to support yourself and your family. 

Many roles focused on community improvement are volunteer or low-paying, but you don’t have to take time outside of work to help others. There are ways to follow your interests, help your community and earn money in well-paying careers. 

If you are interested in helping others and bettering your community, you do not have to sacrifice your financial stability. There are many fields, including education, medicine and law that offer well-paying careers and fulfillment. 

Health Informatics Specialist 

Within modern medicine, there is a group of professionals who work with medical data as a method of improving patient care, medical research and public health. These professionals, known as health informatics specialists, use data analysis and information technology to improve health care accessibility and patient privacy in a variety of medical and research settings. 

With the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of telehealth, the field of health informatics is growing rapidly and offering a variety of lucrative opportunities for health informatics specialists, managers and directors. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, health information specialists earn between $34,970 and $103,380 annually. These specialists develop skills that translate well to high-level roles, with health informatics managers earning an average salary of $141,000, and health informatics directors earning an average salary of $170,000. 

Making a difference in your community as a health informatics specialist requires specific skills such as medical terminology, financial management, data analysis, coding and an understanding of ethical and legal issues within the medical field. These skills can be developed through training and education, such as a Master of Science in Health Informatics, and hands-on experiences and guidance from current professionals in the field. 

Physician Assistant  

A physician assistant (PA) is a medical professional who diagnoses, monitors and treats patients in a variety of health care settings. Physician assistants are trained in a broad scope of medical knowledge, and may choose further training in a specific medical specialty. 

Physician assistants earn between $82,830 and $168,120 annually. This field is growing rapidly, with a projected growth of 27% between 2022 and 2032. Professionals entering this field will have access to a wide range of positions that offer them the chance to help patients while earning a competitive salary. 

Becoming a physician assistant requires a high level of education and training. In earning a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies or a similar degree, a student will learn the skills they need to confidently take the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam and start their career. 

School Principal 

Schools are filled with professionals who are working to better their community and contribute to the lives of young people. These professionals, including teachers, aide, and administrators, are led by school principals. A principal plans class schedules, evaluates teachers, plans ongoing training events for staff, guides and disciplines students and manages the school’s budget. 

A career as a school principal comes with countless opportunities to help students, teachers, and parents, and the level of responsibility is reflected in the principal’s salary. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for elementary, middle and high school principals is $101,320. This position requires several years of teaching experience and a master’s degree in educational leadership or administration. 


Lawyers can help many people within their community through work as public defenders, civil rights lawyers and family law attorneys working within the foster care system. Many lawyers work every day to help populations facing adversity within their communities, helping them to find justice. 

The projected job outlook for lawyers shows an 8% increase from 2022 to 2032, with 39,100 annual job openings each year. Lawyers earn between $66,470 and $239,200 annually. With the availability of jobs and the possible earning potential, becoming a lawyer is a promising career choice for those interested in helping others in a high-earning role. 

Occupational Therapist  

For community members living with illnesses, disabilities and injuries, occupational therapists provide ongoing support and care. These professionals are trained to help clients with their goals to live independently and improve their quality of life. 

According to BLS, occupational therapists earn between $63,320 and $123,870, and the field is expected to grow 12% in the next decade. By earning a master’s degree in occupational therapy, students learn the essential knowledge and skills in anatomy and kinesiology to meet this projected need and help those in their community.   

School Guidance Counselor 

School guidance counselors work with students as they grow and work towards their goals. These counselors guide students through behavioral and social challenges, but they also guide students and parents regarding educational and career goals. 

Most states require that school guidance counselors earn a master’s degree in psychology or a related field. School guidance counselors earn between $38,280 and $98,530, and the field is projected to grow 5% in the next decade. This growth provides counselors with many opportunities to work with students and help the young people in their communities. 

Civil Engineer 

Communities depend on infrastructure systems such as utilities, facilities, roadways and tunnels. These systems provide vital resources, and civil engineers work to plan and complete the construction of these essential projects. 

In earning their bachelor’s degree, civil engineers develop their knowledge of physics, math, engineering and construction for projects that will better their communities. According to BLS, civil engineers earn between $61,040 and $138,690 annually. This field is projected to grow by 5% in the next decade, providing aspiring civil engineers with many opportunities to contribute to the planning and construction of community infrastructure. 

Environmental Scientist 

Communities around the world are facing environmental dilemmas that impact everything from agriculture to water quality, leading to financial and public health issues. As these delimmas arise, more professionals are needed to address and solve these issues, including environmental scientists. Environmental scientists work in laboratories and the field to better understand the natural world. Their research helps communities respond to the environmental changes they are experiencing. 

According to BLS, environmental scientists earn between $46,920 and $130,770 annually. The field is expected to grow by 6% in the next decade, reflecting the interest that individuals and communities have in climate change and environmental hazards. 

Social Worker 

Social workers work in a variety of settings and roles, but all with the same central goal: to help people cope with the problems they are facing in their lives, which may be worsened or left unaddressed due to societal inefficiencies. With this wide-faceted goal, social workers can work in schools, hospitals, private practices and social services agencies. Whether a social worker is advocating for a child in foster care, or working as a counselor in private practice, they spend their days helping others through difficult situations. 

Social workers earn between $36,600 and $87,300 annually, and the field is expected to grow 7% in the next decade. Earning a bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) trains individuals to work in non-clinical settings with knowledge of social welfare policy, human psychology and ethics. A master’s degree in social work (MSW) trains individuals to use their skills in clinical settings as licensed counselors. 


Veterinarians help their communities by caring for animals, varying between domestic, agricultural, large or exotic animals. This task benefits communities in a variety of ways. For example, some veterinarians work with pets and service animals, providing medical treatment and preventative care for animals that bring happiness and support to people. Other veterinarians work with livestock, ensuring public health through the prevention of disease in food animals. 

Veterinarians earn between $62,350 and $174,500 annually, and the field is projected by the BLS to grow 20% between 2022 and 2032. These professionals must earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree and earn the necessary certifications and licenses required by their state. Once they have completed their training, veterinarians can begin caring for beloved animals in their community.