Top Social Services Careers

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Top Social Services Careers

School Psychologist
Ranking 1

Median Salary $68,000 (Do Not Chase the Dollar - Chase Your Passion)
Educational Requirements Masters
Exploring the Dream Psychologists study cognitive, emotional, and social processes and human behavior by observing, interpreting, and recording how people relate to one another and their environments.
Living the Dream Some psychologists work independently, conducting research or working with patients. Others work as part of a healthcare team, collaborating with physicians and social workers or in school settings, working with students, teachers, parents, and other educ
Reaching the Dream Although psychologists typically need a doctoral degree or specialist degree in psychology, a master’s degree is sufficient for some positions. Practicing psychologists also need a license or certification.

Maintenance and Repair Worker
Ranking 2

Median Salary $35,000 (Do Not Chase the Dollar - Chase Your Passion)
Educational Requirements Diploma
Exploring the Dream General maintenance and repair workers fix and maintain machines, mechanical equipment, and buildings. They work on plumbing, electrical, and air-conditioning and heating systems.
Living the Dream General maintenance and repair workers often carry out many different tasks in a single day. They could work at any number of locations, both indoor and outdoor. They may work inside a single building, such as a hotel or hospital, or be responsible for th
Reaching the Dream Jobs in this occupation typically do not require any formal education beyond high school. General maintenance and repair workers often learn their skills on the job. They start by doing simple tasks and watching and learning from skilled maintenance worke

Speech-Language Pathologist
Ranking 3

Median Salary $67,000 (Do Not Chase the Dollar - Chase Your Passion)
Educational Requirements Masters
Exploring the Dream Speech-language pathologists (sometimes called speech therapists) assess, diagnose, treat, and help to prevent communication and swallowing disorders in patients. Speech, language, and swallowing disorders result from a variety of causes, such as a stroke, brain injury, hearing loss, developmental delay, a cleft palate, cerebral palsy, or emotional problems.
Living the Dream Speech-language pathologists held about 134,100 jobs in 2012. Most speech-language pathologists work full time and almost half work in schools.
Reaching the Dream Speech-language pathologists typically need at least a master’s degree. They must be licensed in most states; requirements vary by state.

High School Teacher
Ranking 4

Median Salary $55,000 (Do Not Chase the Dollar - Chase Your Passion)
Educational Requirements Bachelors
Exploring the Dream High school teachers help prepare students for life after graduation. They teach academic lessons and various skills that students will need to attend college and to enter the job market.
Living the Dream High school teachers work in either public or private schools. Generally, they work school hours, which vary somewhat, but most also work evenings and weekends to prepare lessons and grade papers. However, most do not teach during the summer.
Reaching the Dream High school teachers must have a bachelor’s degree. In addition, public school teachers must have a state-issued certification or license, which may require an academic background in the subject(s) they will be certified to teach.

Nail Technician
Ranking 5

Median Salary $19,000 (Do Not Chase the Dollar - Chase Your Passion)
Educational Requirements Diploma
Exploring the Dream Manicurists and pedicurists clean, shape, and beautify fingernails and toenails.
Living the Dream Manicurists and pedicurists usually work in a nail salon, spa, or hair salon. The job involves a lot of sitting. Those who own a mobile grooming company must travel to their clients’ homes. About 27 percent of manicurists and pedicurists were self-employe
Reaching the Dream Manicurists and pedicurists must complete a state-approved cosmetology or nail technician program and then pass a state exam for licensure, which all states except Connecticut require. 

Middle School Teacher
Ranking 6

Median Salary $53,000 (Do Not Chase the Dollar - Chase Your Passion)
Educational Requirements Bachelors
Exploring the Dream Middle school teachers educate students, typically in sixth through eighth grades. Middle school teachers help students build on the fundamentals they learned in elementary school and prepare them for the more difficult curriculum they will face in high school.
Living the Dream Middle school teachers work in public and private schools. They generally work school hours when students are present, and use nights and weekends to prepare lessons and grade papers. Most do not work during the summer.
Reaching the Dream Middle school teachers must have at least a bachelor’s degree. In addition, public school teachers must have a state-issued certification or license.

Lawyer
Ranking 7

Median Salary $113,000 (Do Not Chase the Dollar - Chase Your Passion)
Educational Requirements Doctorate
Exploring the Dream Lawyers advise and represent individuals, businesses, and government agencies on legal issues and disputes.
Living the Dream The majority of lawyers work in private and corporate legal offices. Some work for local, state, and federal governments. The majority work full time, and many work long hours.
Reaching the Dream All lawyers must have a law degree and must also typically pass a state’s written bar examination.

Child and Family Social Worker
Ranking 8

Median Salary $42,000 (Do Not Chase the Dollar - Chase Your Passion)
Educational Requirements Bachelors
Exploring the Dream Social workers help people solve and cope with problems in their everyday lives. One group of social workers, clinical social workers, also diagnose and treat mental, behavioral, and emotional issues.
Living the Dream Social workers are employed in a variety of settings, including mental health clinics, schools, child welfare and human service agencies, hospitals, and private practices. They generally work full time and may need to work evenings, weekends, and holidays
Reaching the Dream Although most social workers need a bachelor’s degree in social work, clinical social workers must have a master’s degree and two years of post-master experience in a supervised clinical setting. Clinical social workers must also be licensed in the state

Exterminator
Ranking 9

Median Salary $30,000 (Do Not Chase the Dollar - Chase Your Passion)
Educational Requirements Diploma
Exploring the Dream Pest control workers remove unwanted creatures, such as roaches, rats, ants, bedbugs, and termites that infest buildings and surrounding areas.
Living the Dream Pest control workers must travel to clients’ sites. To inspect sites, workers often kneel, bend, and crawl in tight spaces. Because there are health risks associated with pesticide use, workers are trained in pesticide safety and sometimes wear protective
Reaching the Dream State laws require pest control workers to be licensed. Most workers need a high school diploma and receive on-the-job training, usually lasting less than 3 months.

Elementary School Teacher
Ranking 10

Median Salary $53,400 (Do Not Chase the Dollar - Chase Your Passion)
Educational Requirements Bachelors
Exploring the Dream Kindergarten and elementary school teachers prepare younger students for future schooling by teaching them basic subjects such as math and reading.
Living the Dream Kindergarten and elementary school teachers work in public and private schools. They generally work school hours when students are present and use nights and weekends to prepare lessons and grade papers. Most kindergarten and elementary school teachers do
Reaching the Dream Kindergarten and elementary school teachers must have at least a bachelor’s degree. In addition, public school teachers must have a state-issued certification or license.

Hairdresser
Ranking 11

Median Salary $23,000 (Do Not Chase the Dollar - Chase Your Passion)
Educational Requirements Diploma
Exploring the Dream Barbers, hairdressers, and cosmetologists provide hairstyling and beauty services.
Living the Dream Barbers, hairdressers, and cosmetologists work mostly in a barbershop or salon. Physical stamina is important, because they are on their feet for most of their shift. Many work part time, and nearly half were self-employed in 2012
Reaching the Dream All states require barbers, hairdressers, and cosmetologists to be licensed. To qualify for a license, candidates are required to graduate from a state-approved cosmetology program.

Patrol Officer
Ranking 12

Median Salary $55,000 (Do Not Chase the Dollar - Chase Your Passion)
Educational Requirements Diploma
Exploring the Dream Police officers protect lives and property. Detectives and criminal investigators, who are sometimes called agents or special agents, gather facts and collect evidence of possible crimes.
Living the Dream Police and detective work can be physically demanding, stressful, and dangerous. Police officers have one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations. Working around the clock in shifts is common.
Reaching the Dream Education requirements range from a high school diploma to a college, or higher, degree. Most police and detectives must graduate from their agency’s training academy before completing a period of on-the-job training. Candidates must be U.S. citizens, usu

Recreation and Fitness Worker
Ranking 13

Median Salary $24,000 (Do Not Chase the Dollar - Chase Your Passion)
Educational Requirements Bachelors
Exploring the Dream Recreation workers design and lead leisure activities for groups in volunteer agencies or recreation facilities, such as playgrounds, parks, camps, aquatic centers, and senior centers. They may lead activities such as arts and crafts, sports, adventure programs, music, and camping.
Living the Dream Recreation workers are employed in a variety of settings, including summer camps, recreation centers, parks, resorts, and cruise ships. Many workers spend much of their time being physically active in the outdoors.
Reaching the Dream Education and training requirements for recreation workers vary with the type of job, but workers typically need at least a bachelor’s degree.

Taxi Driver and Chauffeur
Ranking 14

Median Salary $23,000 (Do Not Chase the Dollar - Chase Your Passion)
Educational Requirements Diploma
Exploring the Dream Taxi drivers and chauffeurs drive people to and from the places they need to go, such as airports, homes, shopping centers, and workplaces. They must know their way around a city in order to take both residents and visitors to their destinations.
Living the Dream About a quarter of taxi drivers and chauffeurs worked part time in 2012. About one in seven taxi drivers and chauffeurs had variable schedules. Work hours for these workers vary. Evening and weekend work is common.
Reaching the Dream Most taxi drivers and chauffeurs go through a brief training. Many states and local municipalities require them to get a taxi or limousine license. Although a high school diploma is not required, many taxi drivers and chauffeurs have one.

Interpreter and Translator
Ranking 15

Median Salary $45,000 (Do Not Chase the Dollar - Chase Your Passion)
Educational Requirements Bachelors
Exploring the Dream Interpreters and translators convert information from one language into another language. Interpreters work in spoken or sign language; translators work in written language.
Living the Dream Interpreters work in schools, hospitals, courtrooms, and conference centers. Many translators work from home. Self-employed interpreters and translators frequently have variable work schedules. Most interpreters and translators work full time during regul
Reaching the Dream Although interpreters and translators typically need at least a bachelor’s degree, the most important requirement is to have native-level fluency in English and at least one other language. Many complete job-specific training programs.

Preschool Teacher
Ranking 16

Median Salary $27,000 (Do Not Chase the Dollar - Chase Your Passion)
Educational Requirements Diploma
Exploring the Dream Preschool teachers educate and care for children, usually ages 3 to 5, who have not yet entered kindergarten. They teach reading, writing, science, and other subjects in a way that young children can understand.
Living the Dream Preschool teachers work in public and private schools, childcare centers, and charitable organizations. Many work the traditional 10-month school year, but some work the full year.
Reaching the Dream Education and training requirements vary based on settings and state regulations. They range from a high school diploma and certification to a college degree.

School Counselor
Ranking 17

Median Salary $54,000 (Do Not Chase the Dollar - Chase Your Passion)
Educational Requirements Masters
Exploring the Dream School counselors help students develop social skills and succeed in school. Career counselors assist people with the process of making career decisions, by helping them choose a career or educational program.
Living the Dream School counselors work in public and private schools. Career counselors work in colleges, government agencies and career centers, and private practices. Both types of counselors generally work full time.
Reaching the Dream Most school counselors must be credentialed and have a master’s degree in school counseling or a related field. Many employers prefer that career counselors have a master’s degree. Career counselors who work in private practices may also need a license.

Paralegal
Ranking 18

Median Salary $47,000 (Do Not Chase the Dollar - Chase Your Passion)
Educational Requirements Associates
Exploring the Dream Paralegals and legal assistants do a variety of tasks to support lawyers, including maintaining and organizing files, conducting legal research, and drafting documents.
Living the Dream Paralegals and legal assistants are found in all types of organizations, but most work for law firms, corporate legal departments, and government agencies. They usually work full time, and overtime is sometimes needed to meet deadlines.
Reaching the Dream Most paralegals and legal assistants have an associate’s degree or a certificate in paralegal studies. In some cases, employers may hire college graduates with a bachelor’s degree with no legal experience or specialized education and train them on the job

Auto Mechanic
Ranking 19

Median Salary $37,000 (Do Not Chase the Dollar - Chase Your Passion)
Educational Requirements Diploma
Exploring the Dream Automotive service technicians and mechanics, often called service technicians or service techs, inspect, maintain, and repair cars and light trucks.
Living the Dream Most automotive service technicians and mechanics work in well-ventilated and well-lit repair shops. Although automotive problems often can be identified and fixed with computers, technicians perform many tasks with greasy parts and tools, sometimes in un
Reaching the Dream A high school diploma or the equivalent is typically the minimum requirement to work as an automotive service technician or mechanic. Because automotive technology is becoming increasingly sophisticated, some employers prefer automotive service technician

Landscaper and Groundskeeper
Ranking 20

Median Salary $26,000 (Do Not Chase the Dollar - Chase Your Passion)
Educational Requirements Diploma
Exploring the Dream Grounds maintenance workers provide a pleasant outdoor environment by ensuring that the grounds of houses, businesses, and parks are attractive, orderly, and healthy.
Living the Dream Many grounds maintenance jobs are seasonal, available mainly in the spring, summer, and fall. Most of the work is done outdoors in all kinds of weather. The work can be repetitive and physically demanding, requiring frequent bending, kneeling, lifting, an
Reaching the Dream Most grounds maintenance workers need no formal education and are trained on the job. Most states require licensing for workers who apply pesticides.

Bartender
Ranking 21

Median Salary $19,000 (Do Not Chase the Dollar - Chase Your Passion)
Educational Requirements Diploma
Exploring the Dream Bartenders mix drinks and serve them directly to customers or through wait staff.
Living the Dream Bartenders work at restaurants, bars, clubs, hotels, and other food service establishments. During busy hours, they are under pressure to serve customers quickly and efficiently. They often work late evenings, weekends, and holidays. Nearly half worked pa
Reaching the Dream Most bartenders learn their skills through short-term on-the-job training. No formal education is required. Although most states require workers who serve alcoholic beverages to be at least 18 years old, most bartenders are 25 or older.

Bus Driver
Ranking 22

Median Salary $37,000 (Do Not Chase the Dollar - Chase Your Passion)
Educational Requirements Diploma
Exploring the Dream Bus drivers transport people between various places—including work, school, and shopping malls—and across state or national borders. Some drive regular routes, and others transport passengers on chartered trips or sightseeing tours.
Living the Dream Bus drivers, especially transit and intercity bus drivers, had a higher rate of work-related injuries and illnesses in 2012 than the national average. Most injuries to bus drivers were due to highway accidents.
Reaching the Dream Bus drivers must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and complete a training program. In addition, they often need a high school diploma.

Delivery Truck Driver
Ranking 23

Median Salary $29,000 (Do Not Chase the Dollar - Chase Your Passion)
Educational Requirements Diploma
Exploring the Dream Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers pick up, transport, and drop off packages and small shipments within a local region or urban area. They drive trucks with a gross vehicle weight (GVW)—the combined weight of the vehicle, passengers, and cargo—of 26,000 pounds or less. Most of the time, delivery truck drivers transport merchandise from a distribution center to businesses and households.
Living the Dream Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers have a physically demanding job. Driving a truck for long periods of time can be tiring. When loading and unloading cargo, drivers do a lot of lifting, carrying, and walking.
Reaching the Dream Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers typically enter their occupations with a high school diploma or equivalent. They undergo 1 month or less of on-the-job training. They must have a driver’s license from the state in which they work.

Fabricator
Ranking 24

Median Salary $36,000 (Do Not Chase the Dollar - Chase Your Passion)
Educational Requirements Diploma
Exploring the Dream Assemblers and fabricators assemble finished products and the parts that go into them. They use tools, machines, and their hands to make engines, computers, aircraft, ships, boats, toys, electronic devices, control panels, and more.
Living the Dream Most assemblers and fabricators work in manufacturing plants. Some of the work may involve long periods of standing or sitting. Although workers may be exposed to harmful chemicals or fumes, the work is not inherently dangerous. Most work full time, and t
Reaching the Dream The education level and qualifications needed to enter these jobs vary depending on the industry and employer. Although a high school diploma is enough for most jobs, experience and additional training is needed for more advanced assembly work.

Garbage Collector
Ranking 25

Median Salary $35,000 (Do Not Chase the Dollar - Chase Your Passion)
Educational Requirements Diploma
Exploring the Dream Collect refuse on designated route and dump refuse from containers into truck. 
Living the Dream NA
Reaching the Dream NA

Janitor
Ranking 26

Median Salary $22,000 (Do Not Chase the Dollar - Chase Your Passion)
Educational Requirements Diploma
Exploring the Dream Janitors and building cleaners keep many types of buildings clean, orderly, and in good condition.
Living the Dream Most janitors and building cleaners work indoors. However, some work outdoors part of the time, sweeping walkways, mowing lawns, and shoveling snow. Since office buildings are often cleaned while they are empty, many cleaners work evening hours. The work
Reaching the Dream Most janitors and building cleaners learn on the job. Formal education is not required.

Maid and Housekeeper
Ranking 27

Median Salary $19,600 (Do Not Chase the Dollar - Chase Your Passion)
Educational Requirements Diploma
Exploring the Dream Maids and housekeeping cleaners perform general cleaning tasks, including making beds and vacuuming halls, in private homes and commercial establishments.
Living the Dream Most maids and housekeeping cleaners work full time. Part-time maids and cleaners—particularly those who work at hotels and hospitals—often work evenings and weekends. The work can be physically demanding.
Reaching the Dream No formal training or education is required. Most workers learn on the job.

Restaurant Cook
Ranking 28

Median Salary $22,000 (Do Not Chase the Dollar - Chase Your Passion)
Educational Requirements Diploma
Exploring the Dream Cooks prepare, season, and cook a wide range of foods. This may include soups, salads, entrees, and desserts.
Living the Dream Cooks work in restaurants, schools, hospitals, private households, and other places where food is served. They often work early mornings, late evenings, holidays, and weekends.
Reaching the Dream Most cooks learn their skills through short-term on-the-job training and related work experience. Although no formal education is required, some restaurant cooks and private household cooks attend culinary school.

Security Guard
Ranking 29

Median Salary $24,000 (Do Not Chase the Dollar - Chase Your Passion)
Educational Requirements Diploma
Exploring the Dream Security guards and gaming surveillance officers patrol and protect property against theft, vandalism, terrorism, and illegal activity.
Living the Dream Security guards work in a wide variety of places, including public buildings, retail stores, and office buildings. Gaming surveillance officers work mostly in casino observation rooms, using audio and video equipment. Because many buildings and casinos ar
Reaching the Dream Most security guard jobs require a high school diploma. Gaming surveillance officers sometimes need additional experience with security and video surveillance. Most states require guards to be registered with the state, especially if they carry a firearm.

Sports Coach
Ranking 30

Median Salary $28,000 (Do Not Chase the Dollar - Chase Your Passion)
Educational Requirements Diploma
Exploring the Dream Coaches teach amateur or professional athletes the skills they need to succeed at their sport. Scouts look for new players and evaluate their skills and likelihood for success at the college, amateur, or professional level. Many coaches are also involved in scouting.
Living the Dream Coaches and scouts often work irregular hours, including evenings, weekends, and holidays. Full-time coaches usually work more than 40 hours a week for several months during the sports season. Coaches travel frequently to sporting events. Scouts may be re
Reaching the Dream Coaches and scouts typically need a bachelor’s degree. They must also have extensive knowledge of the game. Coaches typically gain this knowledge through their own experiences playing the sport at some level. However, although previous playing experience

Teacher Assistant
Ranking 31

Median Salary $25,310 (Do Not Chase the Dollar - Chase Your Passion)
Educational Requirements Diploma
Exploring the Dream Teacher assistants work under a teacher’s supervision to give students additional attention and instruction.
Living the Dream Teacher assistants work in public and private schools, childcare centers, and for religious organizations. About 4 in 10 worked part time in 2012. Most do not work during the summer.
Reaching the Dream Educational requirements, which vary by school district and position, range from a high school diploma to an associate’s degree.

Waiter and Waitress
Ranking 32

Median Salary $19,000 (Do Not Chase the Dollar - Chase Your Passion)
Educational Requirements Diploma
Exploring the Dream Waiters and waitresses take orders and serve food and beverages to customers in dining establishments.
Living the Dream Waiters and waitresses work in restaurants, bars, hotels, and other food-serving and drinking establishments. During busy hours, they are under pressure to serve customers quickly and efficiently. About half worked part time in 2012. This often includes e
Reaching the Dream Most waiter and waitress jobs are at the entry level, and workers learn their skills through short-term on-the-job training. No formal education is required.

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