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The basics
Study abroad : Career Prospects

Fulfilling careers that make a difference

Use this guide to find a career that makes a difference and the degree you need to qualify.

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Want a career that makes you feel good on a daily basis while also helping others? Many of us want to feel satisfied and fulfilled at work. But which careers are most likely to give you a sense of pride and achievement while also positively contributing to society? We explore some of the most rewarding professions and what you need to study in order to qualify for these roles.




Working as a nurse, doctor, physician, radiologist etc. is sure fire way to help others while also gaining a high level of job satisfaction. The world needs people with the skills and knowledge required to provide healthcare to those who are unwell. This line of work can be challenging but it is also one of the best professions if you enjoy helping people on a one-to-one basis.  


To work in a healthcare profession, you will most likely need a degree, particularly if you want to become a nurse or a doctor. There are also many other degrees that are relevant for the healthcare industry as shown below:





What could be better than helping young people to learn and grow as individuals? If this sounds appealing, you might want to consider a career as a teacher. This might be at primary, secondary or even university level. Keep in mind that if you want to become a university lecturer, you will need both a masters and a PhD.


To have a successful career as a teacher, you need to be passionate about helping young people reach their potential. Teaching can be demanding as you will need to have the authority to command a classroom, gain the respect of your students while at the same time helping them to enjoy learning. You also need to be conscious of the homelives of your students as this may be affecting their wellbeing and learning.


The teaching qualifications you need can vary according to each country so make sure you check the requirements before applying. In many cases, you will need an undergraduate degree in addition to a teaching course which will usually take one year to complete. Your undergraduate degree doesn’t necessarily need to be in teaching or education so you can study what most interests you at this stage.




Our mental health is as important as our physical health and so we need counsellors and therapists to help us cope with anything we might be going through. This might include supporting people suffering with depression, anxiety, grief, divorce, unemployment and so on. While this can be a challenging profession, it is also hugely rewarding as you get to see the progress your patients are making, helping them to live the best life possible.


Counsellors and therapists need to possess a range of skills including:


  • Empathy
  • Listening
  • Good communication
  • Compassion
  • Patience
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Calm manner


While counsellors and therapists have similar roles, there is a major distinction between the two. Counsellors work with more immediate issues whereas psychotherapists deal with more deep-routed issues over a longer period of time.


Most therapists need a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in a relevant field such as psychotherapy or psychology, with some also pursuing a PhD. Whereas to become a counsellor, you don’t necessarily need a degree, although this can boost your chances of finding work. You might instead study a counselling diploma which usually takes about one to two years to complete.




What do you feel strongly about? Is your government acting in a way that doesn’t sit comfortably with you? Do you feel passionate about certain causes? A career in politics might be particularly rewarding and fulfilling for you. Activism and policy changes can have a profound impact on society and so this is vital for improving the lives of others. Here are a few examples of careers in politics:


  • Member of parliament (MP)
  • Political journalist
  • Civil service
  • Human rights
  • Charity work
  • Policy officer
  • Public relations


If you are interested in any of these professions, you should consider getting a bachelor’s degree. Common subjects for these roles include:



Social work


Social workers help to make a difference to people’s lives through solving some of society’s most complex problems. As a social worker, you will help a range of people including adults, children, families, and vulnerable people. Your work might involve dealing with a crisis or potentially harmful situation for those involved. This makes social work a demanding job and so to be successful you will need to develop the following skills:


  • Remaining calm in stressful situations
  • Listening skills
  • Communication skills
  • Compassion
  • Empathy
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Knowledge of self-care
  • Analysis of risk
  • Leadership
  • Critical thinking


In most cases, to become a social worker you need a bachelor’s degree in social work. However, if you studied a different subject at undergraduate level, you would need a master’s degree. At both levels, you need to make sure that your course is accredited. In the UK, your degree needs to be approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).


Want to find a degree in social work that’s completely right for you? Use our course matcher tool now to find out which universities would accept you.

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