It might sound like a trite cliché, but children really are the future. The children and young people of today will be leading society in the not-so-distant future, so it is essential that you and others give children the support and tools they need to be the best version of themselves.
So, what better way to spend your career than shaping the future? If you are considering a career change or are about to take your first steps into the world of work and want to use your skills and time to help young people, here are some potential paths to consider.
Become a teacher or private tutor
When people think of working with young people, the most obvious choice is to become a teacher or a private tutor. Teachers are responsible for helping children to learn the knowledge they will need to succeed in society, as well as the social skills and practical experience that will help them to thrive. From teaching academic subjects to helping young people recognize their talents and potential, a good teacher is often remembered by their students for life. Teachers might work in schools, but they can also work in colleges, universities, special education facilities, hospitals, or institutions for young offenders. Some may choose to become a private tutor to teach children outside of school hours and/or to help them overcome particular challenges.
Become a doctor
One of the most highly respected careers that a person can choose is that of a doctor. Depending on the field of medicine that you pursue and where you are practicing, you could literally be saving lives or, at the very least, greatly improving the quality of people’s lives. Whether you are working on medical research to find cures or improved medication, treating chronic conditions, or performing life-saving surgery, being a doctor is a rewarding but challenging career. It also requires a lot of study and many years of commitment to the training before you can become a licensed doctor.
Become a nurse
While doctors often spend a lot of their time assessing patients, diagnosing conditions, and prescribing treatment, a nurse works on the frontline of practical caregiving. Nurses work in a wide variety of settings, from hospitals and local medical clinics to schools, mental health facilities, geriatric nursing homes, and even visiting patients at home. Nurses can specialize in caring for babies, children, and/or young adults where they can not only help those who are unwell but also guide them towards healthy lifestyle choices.
Become a psychologist or therapist
Psychology is a varied field of study and can lead to several careers. For example, a clinical psychologist or counselor would work with young people with mental health issues, whereas a neuropsychologist would treat young people with injuries to the brain. Psychologists may also help children with learning difficulties or work with young offenders to prevent them from reoffending.
Become a social worker
A social worker will work with a family or young person who is in need of additional support or guidance. Social workers can work with people of all ages, but it is possible to focus on children and young people, e.g., working in child protection, safeguarding, fostering, or adoption. Social workers might also work with young people who have broken the law to help them get back on a more positive path. Social workers will help people to access the programs and services they need to improve their lives and will act as an intermediary between numerous other services like doctors, teachers, and the prison service. Obtaining a criminology degree can be a great first step if you want to help young people to avoid a life of crime through social work or to support young offenders as a probation officer.
Work in public service
While it may not involve working with young people directly, sometimes the best way to help a group of people in society is to advocate for them where the decisions are being made, i.e., local and national government. Working in public service often means that you will not meet the people you are working on behalf of, but you can make a significant impact on their lives nonetheless. Whether you run for office or advise on policies that relate to young people, you could bring about real and lasting change.
Become a lawyer
Becoming a lawyer may not be your first thought when looking for a career that helps young people, but the study of law is much wider than many people realize. You might choose to work in criminal law to help young people who have been accused of a crime, but it is not all about prosecuting or defending criminals. Lawyers can act on behalf of children who are at risk of abuse or neglect or children who are seeking asylum after fleeing war-torn countries. Family lawyers work with families that have been affected by divorce or separation with the aim of reaching a positive resolution for the children.
Work or volunteer for a children’s charity
Working for a children’s charity can be a fantastic way to make a difference while also enjoying a varied career. There are plenty of different roles in the charity sector, including fundraising, marketing, administration, event management, lobbying to affect government policy, campaigning for societal change, and all the other office-based tasks that go along with this. Depending on the size of the charity, you might get to see the impact of your work first-hand if you come into contact with the children that you help, but some national or international charities make the biggest impact further afield.
Of course, charity work is not always the best paid as the majority of the organization’s income needs to go to the intended beneficiaries. If salary is a concern for you, then there is always the option of pursuing a different career but giving some of your free time to a children’s charity. Click here for more on volunteering with a charity.
As you can see, there are lots of opportunities for you to help young people. Think about where your skills and strengths lie and see how you can achieve your chosen path.