There may be many reasons why you’re considering a career change. We often hear from people who have the urge to use the wealth of skills and experience that they’ve built up over the years, to help a worthwhile cause.
Some of the most satisfying job roles are those which help to significantly improve other people’s lives, or that contribute to a bigger cause or sense of purpose.
Plus, there’s plenty of research to show that people who spend their time helping and supporting others are more likely to feel happier as a result. And most people would agree that doing good feels good!
With this in mind, we’ve pulled together 14 rewarding roles that may not be the easiest nine-to-fives out there, but ones that should give you a great sense of reward, and allow you to make a real difference in the world.
1. Speech and language therapist
Would you like to provide life-changing treatment for adults and children who have difficulties with important functions like speaking, eating, drinking, and swallowing? As a speech and language therapist, you could.
Speech and language therapists typically work in hospitals, schools, and nursing homes. They treat a range of different patients, from people recovering from degenerative conditions like strokes and cancer (whose speech or swallowing functions may have been impaired) to children with disabilities and/or learning difficulties including deafness and dyslexia (whose speech can be slow to develop).
They’ll also undertake a full assessment of the problems before devising an appropriate treatment plan which could involve activities, exercises, and strategies to help.
To get started as a speech and language therapist, you’ll usually need to complete an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in speech and language therapy that’s approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
Entry without a degree can still be possible if you apply for a role as a speech and language therapy assistant, where you’ll receive on-the-job training.
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2. Charity work
While many positions with charities are voluntary, there are a large number of paid charity jobs that are offered at a variety of different levels.
Working for a charity – especially a national or global charity – is a very meaningful way to spend your time, regardless of the position you take on. This is because you’ll be working towards helping that charity do amazing things for the greater good.
There’s a wide range of job roles available; from being a manager of a charity shop to coordinating children’s play at a charity-run activity centre.
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3. Animal rehoming and welfare officer
Would you love to help dogs and cats find their forever homes?
By working as a rehoming and welfare officer or assistant, you could be responsible for helping families and animals choose one another and settle into their new lives – which can be a very rewarding and heartwarming experience!
Many dogs in rescue and rehoming centres have complex needs that could result from their previous owner(s) neglecting, abusing, or abandoning them, so it’s important that they find an owner who can be understanding and patient. This is where you would step in.
Charities like Battersea Cats and Dogs Home and Dogs Trust often have rehoming roles available so it’s best to check in with your local branch to find out whether there’s anything available that might be of interest.
You often don’t need any experience to get started – just a big heart and a genuine love of animals.
Ready to apply for this rewarding position?
4. Emergency call handler / medical dispatcher
If you can stay calm under pressure and would like to help save lives, why not consider working as an emergency call handler?
People call the police, ambulance, and fire services at all times of the day and night and how their call is handled could be the difference between life and death.
When a person calls 999, emergency call handlers will direct the correct services to the people that need them and will often stay on the phone with the person who has made the call until the service they’ve requested has arrived.
During this time, people can be particularly anxious or distressed, especially if they or someone they’re with is in immediate danger, so it’s up to the call handler to keep them calm and help them do the best they can in that situation until help arrives.
As an emergency call handler, you’ll make a huge impact on the people in your community, which can be very satisfying. Plus, most employers will offer training on the job as long as you have a calm, composed, and positive nature.
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Working in childcare, you could make a significant difference in a family’s life by making sure that their children are safe, mentally stimulated, and well looked after whilst their parent(s) and/or carer(s) are away or at work.
If you love children, then there can be great reward in being able to help guide,support, and inspire them on a daily basis. Most parents find it tough being away from their children, but a good childminder will bridge the gap between children and their families, making their time apart as pleasant as possible.
There are various roles available in childcare too, such as nannies/childminders, early years educators, and babysitters.
If you’re looking for somewhere to start, then you could consider training in an early years education role with N Family Club, which has an apprenticeship programme designed specifically for over 50s career changers.
Apprenticeships are flexible, with full and part-time roles available and include plenty of opportunities for learning and progression.
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6. Assistance dog trainer
Assistance dogs are canine heroes who guide, lead, and assist people with disabilities such as sight or hearing loss, helping them to live as normal a life as possible.
These dogs act in such a protective and helpful manner that sometimes it’s hard to believe that they aren’t human! But as clever as they are, there’s a lot of behind-the scenes-training that goes on before they’re ready to be paired with a person with a disability.
An assistance dog’s training has to be flawless, otherwise, they could end up leading the person they’re helping into danger (for example, leading a blind person into a busy road). As an assistance dog trainer, you could teach puppies everything they need to know to make a disabled person’s life that little bit easier – which can be very rewarding.
There’s no set route to becoming an assistance dog trainer, but it does help if you have a degree in animal behaviour or plenty of experience with dogs.
If you don’t have any relevant qualifications or experience, then the best way to get involved is to look out for opportunities with charities like Guide Dogs UK and Hearing Dogs for Deaf People – as they’ll often take people with little or no experience and train them on-the-job in paid positions.
If you’d like to find out more about what this involves, then it’s best to get in touch with charities directly – so you’ll get a better idea about whether it’s the right role for you.
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Children and young people look up to their teachers not only as educators of curriculum-based learning, but as pillars of wisdom who can inspire, guide, and encourage them while they establish their place in the world.
Most of us will remember our favourite teacher(s) even decades later because they were such a positive influence on our life and learning.
There are many people out there who could benefit from your extensive skills and life experience in the classroom – and with dedicated programmes to help experienced individuals retrain into the profession, there’s no better time to learn to teach.
If you’re looking for a place to start, Now Teach offers a specialised recruitment and support programme for experienced professionals who want to retrain as teachers.
Once accepted onto the programme, you’ll be guided through the entire process of becoming a qualified teacher, from applying to teach and finding a school placement, to achieving newly qualified teacher status (NQT).
If you’re interested in finding out more…
Midwives play a very special role because they’re trusted to deliver the most precious gift that any of us will ever see: life! So for that reason alone, midwifery scores top marks on the job satisfaction scale.
Many people often describe midwives as having one of the most privileged jobs in the world, because they’re actively contributing to the continuation of the human race.
Not only will you get to be a key witness to the miracle of new life entering the world on a daily basis, but you’ll also get to play a key role in supporting women and their families on their pregnancy journey.
Midwifery degree courses take around three years to complete and are typically full of mature students who are looking to start a second career and want to use their skills and life experience to help others.
Want to find out more?
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If you’re a natural nurturer, then a career as a nurse could be a very fulfilling way to spend your time. Nurses work with doctors and other healthcare professionals to try to ease or eradicate the discomfort of patients who’re injured or unwell.
A nursing career carries a great sense of purpose because every day you’re responsible for helping to nurse patients away from sickness and towards health.
With such a high demand for nurses, there are now apprenticeship routes into nursing for those who are willing to first get a job as a healthcare assistant.
Or for those who’d rather take the traditional route, there are plenty of universities around the country that offer vocational nursing degrees – and it’s now very common to see people adopting nursing as a career later in life when they have the advantage of life experience.
Although nursing may have a slightly longer training period than some other rewarding professions, the role comes with a great degree of flexibility and plenty of opportunities to progress into more senior roles.
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10. Care worker
As a care worker, you could be the ray of sunshine that someone needs to get through the day. The role is designed to give people who are in need of care (young or old) the help and support they need to be able to live happier lives.
Although this help and support is usually practical (e.g. cooking, cleaning, washing, and dressing), you may also provide emotional support to clients and their families if the care receiver is suffering as a result of illness or disability.
With so many people out there in need of care, many employers are happy to take on people with little or no experience and train them on the job. As long as you’re kind and compassionate with strong communication skills, you could apply today.
If you’re looking for some inspiration, then why not check out Lina and Caroline’s story? They became care workers with The Good Care Group in later life.
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11. Funeral director
Although becoming a funeral director is a slightly unusual way to make a difference, most of us – at some point in our lives – will be grateful to the person that helps to ease the pain of saying goodbye to someone we love.
As a funeral director, you’ll be providing support and comfort to people during some of the toughest times of their lives by taking care of their loved one’s funeral arrangements, from start to finish.
Someone who has just lost a family member or a friend will have a lot on their plate already, and trying to plan a funeral during this time can be difficult – which is where a funeral director steps in.
An individual or a family will usually express their wishes about the funeral to the funeral care team, who will then get to work to make sure that everything is taken care of.
Employers will often take on candidates with little or no experience at all and provide full training – as long as they have the right attitude towards the job. Alternatively, if you have extensive experience in the customer service industry (but not necessarily in funeral care), you may still be able to apply for a role as a funeral director.
Funeral directors perform many of the same tasks as funeral arrangers but have added responsibilities – as they oversee and guide the entire funeral care process.
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12. Life coach
If your friends and family often turn to you for advice and you love helping and inspiring them, then it’s worth considering a career as a life coach.
Life coaches help people take control of and improve their lives in a variety of different ways. We all know how it feels to worry about taking the wrong path in life or to dream about something that feels totally out of reach. But life coaches inspire, motivate, and encourage people to take positive steps forward and get the most out of life.
You don’t need any formal qualifications to become a life coach – just confidence in your ability to motivate and inspire others.
However, if you want to enhance your credibility in the role and make sure that you’re equipped with as many tools as possible to help clients, then you should consider taking an industry-recognised life coaching qualification. This is easy to do from the comfort of your own home and will show you how to make anything possible for both yourself and others.
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13. Relationship counsellor
Relationships matter and the quality of our closest relationships can have a significant impact on how we feel about ourselves, how we choose to live our lives, and how we treat those around us.
Therefore, the work that a relationship counsellor does with couples can be incredibly important in helping people to achieve happiness, not only with each other, but as individuals and families as well.
Research has shown that frequent and unresolved conflict between parents is one of the biggest factors in the poor well-being and mental health of children. Relationship counsellors work to resolve arguments and difficulties as a priority.
A relationship counsellor won’t offer couples advice. Instead, they will listen, encourage them to listen to each other, and ask questions that’ll prompt couples to explore their feelings further.
While the aim of counselling is usually to help couples get back on track, sometimes it can also bring about the end of a relationship if one or both people in a pairing discover that they would actually be happier apart.
There are no set standards for becoming a relationship counsellor, but you’ll need to undertake some theoretical and clinical training before you can work independently with clients.
Tavistock Relationships offers an Introduction to Counselling and Psychotherapy course – set out over several weeks – which is specifically designed to give people with little or no clinical experience greater insight into what it’s like to be a relationship counsellor.
Upon successful completion of the course, you’ll be able to secure a place on a Tavistock Relationships Masters Programme, which will help you to become a fully-qualified relationship counsellor.
Interested in getting qualified?
For more inspiration...
14. Personal trainer
By becoming a personal trainer, you could help people take steps towards being happier, healthier, and more comfortable in their own skin.
It’s about much more than helping people look good – regular exercise boosts energy and confidence so the role is as much about helping people’s minds as it is their bodies.
Seeing the progress that people make from the start of their fitness journey can be very satisfying – especially when you know that you’ve played a part in it.
We should all be able to feel good about ourselves, and personal trainers try their best to make that happen by working one-on-one or in groups with clients to help them achieve their fitness goals. As a personal trainer, you’ll usually work in gyms or have the option to become self-employed if you want greater flexibility and control over your schedule.
Although you don’t need any formal qualifications to become a personal trainer, it’s advisable to take a recognised qualification to improve the safety and credibility of the service you’ll be offering.
To get inspired, why not check out Jaqueline’s story about becoming a personal trainer in real life?
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While our careers are a way for us to pay our bills and fund our lifestyles outside of work, it’s also important that we find them rewarding and full of purpose. This is why, if you’re thinking about a career change, you might want to consider a role in which you can make a positive difference in people’s (and even animals’) lives.
We hope that this list of 14 rewarding roles has given you a little bit of inspiration. For more job ideas, why not check out the careers section of our website? Here, you can find articles such as Unique roles you might not have considered and Top driving jobs that offer flexibility and freedom.