Career Chemistry: Best Jobs for Social People
Teacher. Demand will be strong at all levels, from preschool through college. Although colleges increasingly hire instructors course by course, with no benefits, teaching generally offers good job security, with lifetime tenure possible after just a few years. Teachers usually get summers off, and there's the satisfaction that comes from helping the next generation to flower. A growing downside: Political mandates are requiring more public schools to have mixed-ability classes, which can water down the curriculum and challenge even the most talented and hardworking professionals.
More info: About.com's education portal; The First Year of Teaching by Pearl Rock Kane
Registered nurse. Jobs are plentiful, in settings ranging from hospitals to homes and specialties in every medical field. Just be detail-oriented: Every year, many patients die from medical errors. If you're capable of carefully deciphering a physician's scrawled orders, calculating doses perfectly, assiduously administering a wide range of treatments, and reassuring anxious patients—often under stress, in the middle of the night—please sign up.
More info: Department of Labor profile: Registered Nurse; About.com's nursing portal
Physical therapist. Today, the job involves less one-on-one time with patients, working muscles or joints, and more effort designing each patient's overall rehab program and training. The physical therapist often trains lower-level assistants to implement the program. Another change in this field: Training requirements have been ratcheted up. A three-year doctorate in physical therapy is increasingly needed, in addition to a college degree.
More info: American Physical Therapy Association
Social worker. This career affords unmitigated do-gooding, often including the pleasure of giving away cash and other resources, compliments of taxpayers. And the pay is improving, averaging about $50,000 per year. Plus, social work offers great job security: It's hard to foresee conditions under which the need for social workers in the United States will decline. This is another career in which the training requirements have been ratcheted up: Now, a master's degree is usually needed.
More info: National Association of Social Workers; The New Social Worker Online; Days in the Lives of Social Workers by Linda May Grobman
Occupational therapist. This job calls for big-time patience. The tools are a combination of computers, psychology, and limb braces, plus a healthy dose of common sense. Using those, you help people with physical setbacks, like stroke survivors and accident victims, regain the ability to do life's basic tasks, from buttoning a shirt to driving a car.
More info: American Occupational Therapy Association
Employment interviewer. Human resource departments and employment agencies use these interviewers to match applicants with openings. This career demands an excellent BS detector to suss out how legitimate that glowing reference is and distinguish between strong candidates and those who have merely been coached on how to interview well. A college degree is usually required, but the training mostly comes on the job.
More info: 45 Effective Ways for Hiring Smart by Pierre Mornell