A commitment to social justice instills a deep desire to become an agent of change. Whether you long to be an advocate for underserved communities in your own country or your goal is to help improve life for oppressed or underrepresented populations around the world, a background in social justice can help you attain these goals or find work in a vast number of related career fields. Here are five examples of top jobs for those who study social justice.
1. International Humanitarian Careers
An education in social justice helps prepare you for employment in a variety of positions with international charities and agencies such as UNICEF, FAO and World Bank. With the right experience and skill, you could participate in emergency relief efforts, urban development, foreign diplomatic missions, immigration law or cultural research. Supporting education for international social justice career opportunities includes social and medical science, psychology, political science, cultural studies, women’s studies, LGBT studies, non-profit management studies and criminal justice.
2. Social Worker
Becoming a social worker is a rewarding way to influence the course of social justice. Social workers are mental health professionals who help individuals and families overcome life’s difficulties to live happier, healthier lives. If you choose this career, you will deal with difficult issues on a daily basis; these might include financial challenges, substance abuse, physical and emotional abuse, child neglect, issues affecting the elderly and mentally disabled and more. Although the profession is challenging, it allows you to directly influence lives in a tangible way. The U.S. Department of Labor projects a higher-than-average growth rate for social work positions during the next decade.
3. Victim Advocate
Victim advocates provide practical and emotional support and help in finding resources and information about victims’ rights in the event of a crime. They may accompany families to court proceedings or help them submit forms and statements. Those who work as victim advocates typically have a strong background in criminal justice and social work. They must be able to navigate the legal system and work with other social and legal agencies, medical providers and even creditors to provide assistance to victims throughout every step of the legal process and emotional recovery.
4. Social Justice Specialist or Consultant
Teaching the principles of social justice can be done in a classroom, but for a specialist or consultant, there is the potential to operate in a much wider scope. Public speaking may be an important aspect of your job. In a corporate or non-profit setting, you may be responsible for providing support to humanitarian organizations by overseeing education and orientation policies for employees or volunteers. Unlike traditional teaching careers, this role may provide opportunities to help create new policies or advocate for change as an authoritative figure.
5. Correctional Officer
Law enforcement and criminal justice are closely related to social justice. Probation and parole officers, also called correctional treatment specialists, monitor and support probationers and parolees to prevent them from committing new offenses. While the criminal justice system deals with the crime, the correctional officer influences social justice by helping the offender learn to interact with society in a more productive way. The job is not for everyone. It involves working in potentially dangerous environments and with unpredictable, violent people. However, for some, it is an extremely fulfilling role despite the stress involved, and it provides an important service to society.
Craft Your Career in Social Justice
A social justice or related degree can be a stepping stone that leads to a wide variety of exciting opportunities, but making careful educational choices is always essential. Talk to your academic advisor to determine the most practical path to your specific career goal.