While most people focus on the monetary aspect of a job, they often forget about the enjoyment factor. How can you spend most of your waking life doing a job whose only reward is a big paycheck? It doesn’t seem like much of a life to me!
So, instead of just searching for monetary rewards, start looking at what’s meaningful to you, what you would feel satisfied doing day in and day out, and how you would push yourself to strive for more within that position.
To set you on the right path and give you some suggestions, we’ve compiled a list of the 20 most rewarding careers out there.
What makes a career rewarding?
First off, it’s important to understand what actually makes a career feel rewarding. Well, it depends entirely on your own personal situation and the things that are most important to you. For some, a rewarding career will involve a company that has a great company culture; for others, it could be about flexibility and work–life balance.
Here are a few factors that can make a career feel rewarding:
With the cost of living constantly increasing, it makes sense that a career with good pay can feel rewarding. Having a career that pays well means that when you’re not working, you have the financial means to have fun and create memories. As the saying goes: you work to live, not live to work.
Great company culture
For a company to have a good company culture, they need to be welcoming, and the working environment needs to be positive. If the company has regular team-building days and social gatherings, that’s a good sign, and you’re likely to leave the office feeling happy and satisfied.
Opportunities for professional growth
Another thing that makes a career feel rewarding is when the company offers you opportunities to grow professionally. Training and upskilling can help a person feel accomplished, and they, ultimately, reap the rewards as they progress through their career.
Working in a company that respects its employees and takes responsibility and accountability for their wellbeing is another factor that makes people feel appreciated and satisfied. Many companies reward employees who follow their code of ethics, too, which understandably gives people motivation and drive in their work.
A healthy work-life balance
Having a set schedule for work creates boundaries that lead to a better work–life balance. You don’t want to be working 15 hours a day and be unable to switch off. When your work stays in the office and you can relax in your downtime, you’re onto a winner.
The most fulfilling jobs
Taking all these factors into account, we’ve put together a list of the most fulfilling jobs for you to consider if you’re just starting your career or even looking to make a change.
1. Preschool teacher
Average salary: $30,210
While preschool teachers don’t earn a high salary, they do find their job fulfilling. As they’re primarily responsible for a child’s early education, they find great satisfaction knowing that they’ve helped a human being grow and develop their skills.
Average salary: $49,720
Regardless of the religion that you follow, as a clergy, you’ll be responsible for arranging religious workshops and offering spiritual assistance. While dedicating your entire life to your faith won’t bring you much money, it will ensure you’re entirely satisfied.
3. ESL teacher
Average salary: $61,000
As an ESL teacher, you can teach English in any country and at any level you prefer, allowing you to move around without worrying about your career. It’s also a valuable job that lets you share your knowledge with others and help them develop their language skills.
Average salary: $208,000+
Although being a surgeon is stressful, it’s also rewarding, as you have such a significant impact on helping your patients. Depending on your field of study, you can focus on particular surgeries, illnesses and procedures — finding your niche is entirely up to you!
Average salary: $208,000+
Some people might not have even considered anesthesiology, but without this important profession, surgeons wouldn’t be able to carry out their duties and perform critical surgeries. To follow this career, you will need to complete a degree in medicine and a further four years of higher education in anesthesiology.
Average salary: $160,370
Like doctors and English teachers, dentists are in high demand all over the world. By helping relieve dental pain and fixing cavities, dentures and root canals, dentists can enjoy a satisfying and rewarding career.
Average salary: $45,160
As a counselor, you can work in a variety of fields, from rehabilitation and mental health to school counseling. Through therapy and guidance, you can help your clients achieve more and get back on a healthy track, giving them the ability to transform their lives for the best.
Average salary: $102,900
Psychologists play an important role in today’s society by helping people overcome mental illness, trauma and stress. Although it’s certainly not an easy profession and it takes years of education to qualify, it’s extremely gratifying in terms of both personal development and monetary rewards.
Average salary: $75,000
A chiropractor uses spinal adjustments and manipulation to relieve their patients of back, neck and shoulder pain. As a result, this fast-growing job has become a meaningful contribution to desk workers and physical laborers who suffer from various aches and pains.
10. Occupational therapist
Average salary: $85,570
Occupational therapists work with patients that have suffered from recent illnesses or trauma and devise treatment plans to help improve their mobility skills. Although it’s a difficult job that requires a lot of stamina, it’s extremely rewarding when you witness a patient cross a hurdle and get better.
11. HR manager
Average salary: $126,230
HR managers oversee the hiring and contractual process in an organization, and they’re also responsible for a happy and fair workplace. Their day-to-day duties can vary, which includes resolving employee conflict and arranging induction days. This variety, however, is very rewarding for office professionals, and HR managers love creating equality within the workplace.
12. Athletic trainer
Average salary: $48,420
Athletic trainers are highly qualified professionals that treat professional athletes and help them overcome any injuries, while also providing therapeutic plans. Becoming an athletic trainer is different from becoming a personal trainer in that you will need to complete an accredited bachelor’s or master’s degree, as well as obtain certification in athletic training.
Average salary: $77,600
Nurses play a huge part in the overall healthcare system. They provide direct patient care in hospitals, clinics or home visits, and they’re essential to the recovery of a patient. Nurses are hands on with all their patients, and they form strong bonds with them. Although challenging, their work is gratifying, as they’re responsible for their patients’ health.
14. Laboratory assistant
Average salary: $57,800
Laboratory assistants assist researchers and scientists during lab tests and experiments. They’re responsible for assessing samples and identifying illnesses and preparing diagnostics. To succeed as a lab assistant, you need great attention to detail and time management skills.
Average salary: $127,990
If you’re the voice of reason and the type of person that likes to seek justice, then a career as a lawyer could be ideal for you. Depending on the type of lawyer you want to be, you could be solving murder cases, fighting legal battles for music labels or solving property debates. What you will need is a forceful personality and the determination to succeed.
Average salary: $61,650
As a dietitian, you’ll be helping individuals and organizations to create nutritional diet plans and follow a healthier lifestyle. As you see admirable results on your clients, you’ll feel great satisfaction in your ability to transform people’s lives for the better.
Average salary: $46,770
As a paramedic, no two days will be identical. While on the job, you’ll need to respond quickly to emergency calls, as you’ll be the first person to arrive on the scene and treat patients. Although the pay isn’t extremely high, paramedics can save people’s lives, and that in itself is extremely rewarding for many people.
Average salary: $50,700
Like paramedics, firefighters are also the first to respond to emergency calls and arrive on the scene. They put their lives at risk to save other civilians from burning buildings but are grateful that they are able to do so.
Average salary: Variable
Being a musician is an enriching career. You not only get to follow your passion but also bring joy to your listeners through your talents. While this career is ideal for those who are musically gifted, it’s hard to break into the industry and receive an income that you can live off. On the other hand, those that do make it in the music industry can enjoy a lucrative career.
20. Software developer
Average salary: $120,730
In such a digital age, software developers are in high demand. These tech gurus are responsible for designing and creating the functionality of a working website. As a fast-growing freelance gig, software developers can enjoy a great work–life balance with a high salary attached to it.
While these career paths are deemed rewarding, you may find meaning in a different one that’s better suited to your own interests. What’s important is that you choose a career with the intent of being happy within your position.
It’s also important to remember that everyone has different needs and desires when it comes to their career, and what a friend finds rewarding might not be rewarding for you. So, take this into account when you’re making decisions about your career.
Which of these jobs appeal the most to you? Let us know in the comments section below.
Originally published on May 15, 2019. Updated by Hayley Ramsey.