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8 Careers in Social Justice You Should Consider

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In a time when social and economic injustices are receiving much-needed attention, you may wonder how you can become a career activist.

If you’re passionate about human rights, equal rights, and making a difference, then a career in social justice might appeal to you. A study conducted in 2018, found that nine out of ten respondents were willing to accept less money for meaningful work. If you’re someone who can relate to these statistics and wants to promote equality, then here are eight social justice careers highlighted for you. We have also mentioned the average salary, primary responsibilities, and requirements to make things easier for you.

Social justice careers

The following are some of the more common careers in social justice.

1. Social worker

A social worker’s goal is to improve the lives of individuals and families by teaching them mechanisms to overcome everyday challenges. These challenges may include abuse, unemployment, mental illness, addiction, and trauma.

A social worker can provide help in a wide variety of settings and ways, but most commonly through one-on-one counseling sessions, so they are able to develop a bond of trust with the client and provide more personalized care.

To get into social work, you will need an undergraduate degree in either social work or related fields such as psychology or sociology. Depending on your path in social work, you may also require a master’s degree.

Obtaining one is not a hassle as many reputable institutes offer online masters of social work programs that concentrate on child welfare, school social work, mental health, or community and social systems. In some states, you must also hold a social work license to get the title of social worker and provide services. The average annual salary of a social worker in the United States is 59,944 dollars.

2. Journalist

Journalists are responsible for researching, interviewing, reporting, and writing to inform the public about current events. Through journalism, you can bring social issues to the forefront and discuss them critically.

Journalism that focuses on social justice and human rights include investigative journalism, watchdog journalism, and online journalism. Typically, journalists tell stories about vulnerable populations, expose injustices, and work to hold societal powers accountable.

Working in this field, you will need a journalism degree as a minimum requirement. A related field of studies such as English, creative writing, or political science may also be acceptable to some employers. If you decide to pursue this career, your average salary in the U.S. will likely be $31,445 per year.

3. Lawyer

A lawyer who practices social justice has several duties, which include, but are not limited to, human rights, social justice, public interest, government, immigration, and civil rights. As a lawyer, you are likely to spend most of your time in the courtroom and in a fast-paced office. It is also possible that you will be asked to visit clients’ homes, workplaces, prisons, or hospitals to speak with witnesses and experts. Lawyers usually work more than forty hours per week.

To become a lawyer, you must complete three years of law school to receive a Juris Doctor (JD) degree and pass the state bar exam. Lawyers without a JD can take the bar exam in some states, including Virginia, Washington, Vermont, and California. Obtaining and maintaining a license in journalism will require continuing education and renewal. The average yearly salary of a journalist in the United States is $51,158.

4. Victim advocate

As a victim advocate, you lend support to victims of abuse, human rights violations, and domestic violence. Advocates can provide victims with emotional, financial, and legal assistance to aid them in their decision-making and return to normal living. An advocate is knowledgeable about resources like housing, counseling, finding employment, and filing legal claims.

Victim advocates usually hold bachelor’s degrees in Social Work, Criminal Justice, Psychology, or Victimology. If this career seems more aligned with your values, many universities encourage you to pursue a master’s degree in psychology, criminal justice, or social work. The average salary for this career is $42,094 per year.

5. Grant writer

A grant writer’s main responsibilities include identifying and creating proposals for companies and organizations seeking funding from government or private agencies.

Many nonprofits and nongovernmental organizations receive funding from grants. The grant writer is responsible for researching grants, reviewing grant guidelines, and writing proposals that meet the requirements.

It is common for grant writers to hold a bachelor’s degree in Technical Writing, English, Communications, or a related field. Alternatively, they may study a subject related to the organization or sector they write grants for, such as environmental science or political science. In the U.S., their median salary is $50,330 per year.

6. Policy analyst

The main duty of a policy analyst is to research national trends relating to social, economic, international, and other political issues. Using their research, they can raise public awareness and influence public policy and political events.

To help with policy development and program implementation, they evaluate current policies and draft reports based on their findings. They may specialize in one area or work on multiple topics.

A bachelor’s degree in public policy or political science is essential for policy analysts. In most cases, these professionals will need a master’s degree, such as a Master of Public Administration, Master of Public Policy, or Master of Public Affairs. Their average salary in the USA is $83,379 per year.

7. Lobbyist

The main duty of a lobbyist is to advocate a particular position on behalf of individuals and organizations to influence legislators. They advocate legislation or amendments to existing regulations to influence new legislation. Lobbyists typically find the rules, structures, and processes of the federal government very complex.

These professionals often hold a bachelor’s degree and come from a range of academic backgrounds. Those with degrees in law, political science, journalism, public relations, communications, or economics are often in demand in the industry.

Salary data for lobbyists is not readily available, but salaries for public relations managers ($61,229), political affairs officer makes ($107,055), and campaign managers ($63,347) are on par with lobbyists.

8. Community developer

Community developers are responsible for developing programs and projects, obtaining funding, and uniting marginalized communities. Some of their main duties include working with stakeholders, understanding legal regulations, assessing community needs, and researching local trends.

As a community developer, you could work for nonprofits, government agencies, or corporations.

A community developer typically holds a bachelor’s degree in social work or economics. Those who pursue a master’s program in this area will gain skills in urban planning, economic development, or public planning. Payscale.com reports a national average salary of $61,835 for community developers.

Conclusion

If you like to work in an industry that doesn’t stress you out over deadlines and gives you a sense of purpose, then pick one of the above-mentioned careers in social justice. While there are some challenges associated with pursuing a career in social justice, such as higher emotional burdens and lower earnings potential, having meaningful work may increase your self-esteem, job satisfaction, and overall positivity.

 

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