12 Jobs that Make the World a Better Place
October 4, 2021
Are you looking for a job that’s far more than just a paycheck? Choosing a career path that allows you to help change society for the better can be deeply rewarding—you might even be a part of saving the world.
Below, we’ve listed some careers in public service, green energy, and technical trades. Each of these careers can help make the world a better place. And the best part? You can prepare for quite a few of them here at Unity College through several of our sustainability-focused undergraduate programs.
Public Service Careers
Some careers focus on helping people—from staying safe to finding resources in times of need—through community and public service. It’s for this reason, helping people, that careers in public service can be some of the most rewarding and meaningful jobs available in local communities.
Conservation Law Enforcement
Conservation law enforcement officers are trained in both natural sciences and law enforcement. They use that training to enforce laws regarding the use of our natural resources, including hunting and fishing regulations. Those with this training often work as state or federal fish and game wardens, marine patrol officers, environmental police officers, and park or forest rangers.
While the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not offer specific statistics for professionals in conservation law enforcement, those interested in the field can draw some conclusions based on similar occupations the BLS does spotlight. For example, according to the BLS, forest and conservation workers earn an average of $30,640 per year. Police, on the other hand, earn an average of $67,290. A bachelor’s degree, such as Unity’s Bachelor of Science in Conservation Law Enforcement, can provide the necessary training to break into and advance in this field.
Firefighters risk their lives to provide aid and assistance to people experiencing fire emergencies and other disasters. Those who focus on fighting and managing wildfires face a higher level of complexity in their work. There’s also an increasingly greater need for wildfire-focused firefighting, thanks to the effects of climate change and global warming.
The BLS estimates an average salary of $52,500 per year for firefighters. This field expects to see a 6 percent job growth by 2029. Firefighters need a high school diploma and are required to complete fire academy training. Some states require EMT certification. While a bachelor’s degree is not necessary to serve as a firefighter, it can help open up opportunities for advancement in fire service.
Urban planners have the difficult task of building communities and accounting for projected population growth while protecting the natural environment. These professionals use land plans and programs to help develop the land, finding ways to cope with population growth and community development in a safe and sustainable way.
To get started toward an urban planner career, a Bachelor’s in Environmental Sciences is the first step. However this career path requires a minimum of a master’s degree, which you can also study online with Unity College’s masters in Urban Ecology and Sustainable Planning. The average salary is $75,950 per year, and the expected job growth is 11 percent. Urban planners employed by the federal government are known to earn over $100,000 a year.
Environmental lobbyists serve a unique role, working with policymakers and governmental bodies at multiple levels to advance environmental causes and champion change. You’ll need excellent persuasive and communication skills, plus an ability to get down into the details of whatever policy proposal you’re currently working on.
Change in this field is slow and incremental but incredibly meaningful. Policy change on the local, national or even international level is the starting place for meaningful environmental improvement.
Pay in this field can range greatly depending on the nature of the organization employing you. Many environmental organizations are nonprofits, which can sometimes mean lower overall pay. You may enter this career path by way of a scientific background or more of a political background as well.
For reference, environmental specialists earn a median of $73,230 per year according to BLS, while political scientists earn a median of $125,350 per year. Public relations specialists, on the other hand, make around $62,810.
Some careers allow you to make positive change by caring for the environment. If a profession involving the environment or eco-friendly initiatives intrigues you, these options may be a good fit.
Environmental scientists have a detailed knowledge of natural science which they use to protect the environment and human health in their communities. They monitor the environment for problems like pollution and provide recommendations to their employers about how to address these issues.
According to the BLS, the average salary for this field comes in at $73,230 per year, with a job growth rate of about 8 percent between 2019 and 2029. A bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement to work as an environmental scientist, and the Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Unity College is a great option.
Wildlife biologists study animals and how they interact with the environment. Many wildlife biologists work for state or federal agencies, but there are also opportunities in laboratories, natural parks, and other outdoor environments.
The BLS estimates zoologists and wildlife biologists earn an average of $66,359 per year with an expected growth of 4 percent. A career as a wildlife biologist requires earning a bachelor’s degree such as Unity College’s Bachelor of Science in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology. A doctoral or master’s degree is often necessary to pursue leadership roles.
Environmental lawyers work on legal matters related to environmental concerns. Lobbying organizations and advocacy groups might work with an environmental lawyer on their policy initiatives. Government agencies or industries that produce or work with waste may also hire an environmental lawyer to investigate or ensure compliance with regulations.
The BLS reports a median income of $126,930 per year for all lawyers in 2020. Specialization can affect income potential in this vast field. While you’ll need a law degree to practice as an environmental lawyer, a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies from Unity College can be an effective preparatory degree if you’re looking for a career in environmental law.
Green Landscape Designer
Despite involving lots of plants, landscaping as an industry is far from green. Many harsh chemical products are used to produce a carefully manicured landscape. There’s great potential for green landscape designers to improve the industry, designing spaces in a holistic way that requires less toxic treatment, less natural plant destruction, and less waste.
As a green landscape designer, you’ll work to beautify spaces in as nondestructive a way as possible, using earth-friendly products and designing with climate and a sense of the region in mind. Landscape architects, in general, earn a median of $70,630 per year. Green landscape designers may have similar earnings potential.
Sustainability Manager or Consultant
As a sustainability manager or sustainability consultant, you’ll straddle the fence between business and environmental concerns, leading brands and institutions toward sustainable practices that reflect the latest in climate science.
Pay for consultant and manager positions ranges widely depending on the field. The BLS categorizes environmental consultants as environmental specialists, with a 2020 median pay of $73,230 per year.
If you prefer hands-on, technical industry work, there are several career paths you could choose that lead toward a sustainable, earth-saving future.
Architects design buildings of all sorts, planning down to the finest structural details. As a sustainable architect, you’ll approach the discipline through the lens of sustainability, prioritizing energy-efficient building styles that use renewable products in their construction.
Median pay for architects nationwide was $82,320 in 2020. As an architect with a specific niche, you may be able to increase your income beyond that level.
Wind Turbine Technician
Wind energy is an integral part of sustainable electricity generation, which means that wind turbine technicians will be in increasing demand over the coming decade, as much as 61%, according to the BLS. You can also expect to make around $56,000 per year. If you’re looking for meaningful job opportunities in a growth-oriented field (and you aren’t afraid of heights!), consider the wind electricity field.
Solar Voltaic Technician
Solar is another essential strategy of a green future. The need for skilled tradespeople committed to environmental jobs who can install and repair solar arrays will only grow in the coming years.
Solar voltaic installers make a median income of $46,470 yearly, while electricians with the skills to do more in-depth repairs can make $56,000 or more per year.
As you consider ways that you can make a difference and look for meaningful sustainability jobs available to you, consider Unity College. As America’s Environmental College, we have many degree programs focused on making positive change for the environment. Reach out to an admissions counselor today to learn more.