Social justice careers are becoming increasingly valued. In just the last decade, for example, the term “social justice” has become an increasingly common part of everyday language. As people work at every level to find balance, justice, and equality in the world for people of all backgrounds and income levels, this field of work has exploded.
According to Human Rights Careers, when you pursue an education and career in this field, you have the knowledge and opportunity to protect human rights, ensure access to resources, assure everyone’s protection under civil rights, and much more.
Many people who are impassioned by the thought of working in social justice often wonder if there’s a way to earn a living while helping others. The great news is that there are several careers you’re likely to love. Here are three to consider.
3 Trending Social Justice Careers
1. Social Worker
As a social worker, you’ll have the opportunity to work toward bigger-picture community goals by helping one person at a time. Ultimately, even at the macro social work level, the goal is to help people struggling to work within the existing system for various reasons. Social work can be a difficult but very often rewarding social justice career.
Social workers help individuals find, use, and develop coping tools to overcome life’s difficulties. They help individuals lead healthier, happier, and more fulfilling lives. Some struggles people face include substance abuse, childhood neglect, physical and emotional abuse, financial challenges, or a range of issues that affect the mentally disabled and elderly. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the need for compassionate social workers will grow at a higher-than-average rate over the next decade.
2. Public Defender
As a public defender, you’ll work as an attorney at the local, state, or federal level of government. Most often, you’ll provide legal representation to financially disadvantaged defendants. Anyone facing criminal charges must receive the same protection of rights as anyone else in their position. People who have the money to hire expensive criminal defense attorneys can often fare better, but it shouldn’t be that way.
It’s important to know when going into this social justice career that you’ll carry a heavy caseload. You won’t earn as high a salary as attorneys working in the private sector. However, your experience in taking this path can lead to better opportunities in the future. These might include private firm partnerships and possibly a chance at becoming a judge.
To work in this position, you’ll need to earn a law degree. You’ll also need to successfully pass the bar exam in the state you intend to practice.
As a lobbyist, you might find yourself working at the local or national level. That decision will be based on your interests and the needs you see that stoke your passions.
Sometimes your work in this field might appear similar to the work done by social service workers. You’ll frequently work on behalf of marginalized populations and victims of human rights violations. Working at the national level, you might spend a good deal of time in the nation’s capital. There, you’ll advocate for laws and policies that benefit human and civil rights on behalf of the population you’ve chosen to serve.
People who want to pursue this line of work can expect to earn anywhere from $70,000 to $125,000. Of course, this depends on the organization and geographic location. Prepare to take this career path by enrolling in a political science degree program. This will prepare you for a future career in social justice and public service.
Serve the Public and Improve the World Through Your Career in Social Justice
Social justice offers you multiple ways to serve the public. Whether you choose to work one-on-one with local people in need as a social worker, defend vulnerable populations accused of crimes or push for laws that protect communities, you will get to apply your passion for the good of others.