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I Want a Career Helping Others – What Are My Options?

The urge to help others is a natural one. During the holiday season, people are more likely to donate to nonprofit organizations. For some people, though, the desire to give goes beyond donating to a holiday toy drive or food drive. Many people make a career out of providing a valuable or life-saving service to those in need. If this interests you, there are several paths you can take. Here are three options worth considering if you’ve decided that a career assisting others is what you want.

Working to Alleviate Addiction

Addiction touches us all in one form or another. If you’ve seen a loved one suffer, you know how frustrating it can be to feel like there’s nothing you can do. But if you work in a field that tries to alleviate addiction, then there are concrete steps you can take to help. Working as a substance abuse counselor allows you to focus on treating people. That treatment can happen in either group settings or on a one-on-one basis. To do this, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree, plus clinical experience and the right kind of licensing.

Once you’ve obtained the necessary credentials, you’ll find that you can work in a variety of environments. You may decide to work in an Ontario rehab to help people who have recently decided that they want to get better and are seeking inpatient treatment. If you’d rather help people who are in outpatient treatment, then you can work in an office setting. You may decide to work alone in your own private practice, or you may be happier working in a facility with other substance abuse specialists. The work is often stressful, but it can be very rewarding to aide someone on the road to sobriety.

Helping the Mentally Ill

Mental illnesses like depression and anxiety can seem like a uniquely American issue, but that’s not the case. The World Health Organization says that one in four people around the world will deal with a mental or neurological disorder at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, about two-thirds of those people will never get treatment. Stigma is an issue, as is a basic lack of access.

You can relieve some of that pain by devoting your career to assisting the mentally ill. To accomplish this, you’ll first need some education and training. A psychology degree is a good start, and if you don’t have time to go to a brick-and-mortar school, don’t fear. You can also look into an online counseling psychology degree. If the institution you’re studying at has the proper credentials and certification, then it won’t matter much if you get your degree online or in a more traditional manner.

Helping the mentally ill means you’ll work to both diagnose and treat people. For someone who is struggling with something like bipolar disorder, it’s often a huge relief to hear that yes, there is a name for what they’re dealing with. But finding a name for the condition is only the beginning. They must also commit themselves to treatment methods that often include things like talk therapy and medication.

Teaching Children

Until now, the list has mostly focused on careers that help more adults than children. But teaching is different, as you’re focused on educating kids so they’ll turn into functional adults. And yet, if you know any teachers, you know that it’s a profession in crisis. Those who teach feel underappreciated and overworked more often than not. Parents and administrators can both apply pressure to educators, so it’s not a job for the faint of heart.

But it’s still an essential job. Students with unhappy home lives depend even more on teachers who believe in them and help them reach their potential. A few good teachers can be the difference between a student who graduates and goes on to college and one who drops out and struggles to keep their head above water.


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