Having a rewarding career where you help others can be just as satisfying as having a career that pays really well. If you’re thinking about changing careers or starting one for the first time, an accelerated college degree in a field whose professionals help others for a living can help you find a career that is rewarding through and through.
This list covers a wide range of degrees, all available in an accelerated format and online, and considers both the degree to which you help others as well as the potential salary of career avenues available with a specific degree.
All salary data was retrieved from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Payscale.com
1. Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice
While entering a profession as a police officer, EMT, or fire fighter doesn’t usually require a college degree, it can give you an advantage over others. It’s also easy to find a program that offers an accelerated college degree in Criminal Justice online. Salaries range because of the varied career potentials, but someone in public rescue service can expect to make between $40,000 and $60,000 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
With experience and additional training, there are a variety of leadership roles also available in this field that come with a significant pay bump. Since these careers often involve protecting and saving lives, people in these fields find their jobs really rewarding. Of course, the hours of many of these careers are demanding and nontraditional, but the payoff in overall job satisfaction seems to be worth it.
2. Bachelor’s in Education/Special Education
Teaching ranks relatively high on US News and World Report’s Top 100 jobs of 2014 list. In fact, many jobs that involve working with children in some capacity did as well. A bachelor’s in degree in Education or Special Education can prepare you for a variety of careers working in public school systems and private facilities.
High school teachers get paid pretty well, too, averaging about $55,000 per year.
3. Bachelor’s in Religion/Theology
An accelerated college degree in Religion or Theology can prepare you to work in ministry, dedicating your entire life to helping others.
You could teach at a church or church-affiliated school, become a missionary, or train to become a clergy member. With experience and training, clergy members can make over $40,000 per year. Business Insider ranked a degree in Theology as in the top 20 best college degrees for a satisfying career.
4. Bachelor’s in Social Work
Social workers are responsible for advocating for and giving voice to vulnerable communities. Social work can be quite demanding and time-consuming, but it’s also rather flexible. Many social workers have a “home base” office, but travel to private homes and facilities. They might also be called to testify in court hearings. A job as a social worker is very dynamic.
The best part about earning an accelerated college degree in social work online is that many accelerated programs also allow you to go on the pursue your master’s degree, which is necessary to become a licensed social worker. Social workers make about $44,000 per year.
5. Bachelor’s in Counseling
A degree in Counseling is really versatile, because you can go on to become a family and marriage counselor, a children’s or school counselor, a rehabilitation counselor, or a mental health counselor. A bachelor’s degree will help you determine if this is the field you really want to be in before you go on to receive a master’s degree and earn licensure.
Even without a master’s degree, you can still work as an assistant or an advocate. Counselors make about between about $40,000 and $55,000, on average, depending on the specific field.