Well-Paying Career Paths that Make a Positive Impact on the World


An interesting study from Net Impact found that people are willing to take a pay cut if it means they are creating positive impact in the world. The report found that financial security still mattered but the ability to “work for an organization whose values are like my own” was very much present in responses.

A positive impact is subjective as it depends on your personal beliefs. The impact may be to create a better local environment for children, reduce waste and clean the environment, help the elderly, further scientific research, support a charity/church, or to simply be helpful to others.

Interestingly enough – many of these well-intended jobs & careers do pay well.

Those interested in making a difference, earning good pay, and are willing to set their sights on a new career outlook should consider one of the following:

Registered Nurse

Love people? Want to ensure their mental and physical well-being at any age? Becoming a registered nurse is perfect for those that have real compassion for their fellow humankind. The satisfaction of helping others is like no other type of career; you will work in a high-paced environment, constantly learn the trade, and be well rewarded for your efforts. You can continue to work as a practical nurse while working toward your RN and from there you have countless options such as working at a hospital or simply being a caregiver to those in need.

Median Pay: ~$57,500

Information: Why Nursing? As explained by Nurse without Borders.

Criminal Justice (Variety)

A career in one of the many criminal justice opportunities can lead to a variety of impact on all levels of our society. You may be out there protecting the community through a local police force, aiding with parole, work as a paralegal, counseling for substance abuse, and more. These careers in criminal justice keeps the world safe but also aid with the rehabilitation of individuals.

Median Pay: ~$37,000-$57,000+

Information: See the career opportunities at GMercyU.


As science continues to understand our mind we have been able to greatly identify mental illness and disorders. A surprising majority of individuals have some form of disorder which is why psychiatry is in such a high demand. By choosing this career you are directly impacting the well-being of an individual but also have an indirect value to those families from the individuals seeking treatment. Being there to help people through tough times and to understand their minds is a truly wonderful choice.

Median Pay: ~$170,000

Information: Personal reflection on why one became a psychiatrist (great inspiration!)

First Responders

It was hard to decide which to fit into this list but “first responders” would be an appropriate group because each are fulfilling. In this regard it’s the firefighters, EMTs, paramedics, and the like. This field will have you up-close and personal with making a positive impact. You will be there to save a life, prevent further damage, and console those in distress. Though the work may be stressful – at the end of the day you know you’re doing something meaningful to our community.

Median Pay: ~$30,000+

Information: The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians’ overview of first responders.


Should this be listed as a career? It’s hard to say but since entrepreneurship can take you in any direction it’s worth mentioning. Yes, you do have the opportunity to make an incredible amount of money depending on your industry, product/service, and how hard you’re willing to push but not every business you start needs to just be about the dollar. You could decide to be non-profit, focus on green energy, work to improve the local community, aid abroad, and so much more. It is a risky proposition but it’s certainly fulfilling and can have great meaning to life.

Median Pay: Depends on you, the product/service, and the market

Information: A fantastic discussion about starting a business on Quora.

To find meaning in your work and be dually compensated for your efforts is quite the wonderful match. You can fulfill your desire to help make the world a better place but also find comfort in knowing that you will have financial stability. There are many other jobs that exist beyond this list worthy of your research; it’s just a matter of matching your ideals and goals to the appropriate profession and starting your journey through education and hard work.

What type of meaningful job would you take if you were to match your ideals and goals?