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As part of its data package on The Most and Least Meaningful Jobs, PayScale examined jobs with high meaning, but relatively low salaries. If feeling like you are contributing something meaningful to the world is important to you, consider these careers with modest pay packages.
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counselors
Mental health counselors make, on average, a little over $40,000 per year and 87 percent of them believe they are making the world a better place. States vary in their licensing requirements, but in general, licensed mental health counselors typically have a master's degree and have completed post-graduate supervision under the aegis of an experienced mental health counselor.
Counselors specializing in substance abuse make a little less than mental health counselors at $35,300 per year. Eighty-five percent of substance abuse counselors find their jobs meaningful.
Teaching and Childcare
Teaching is generally a highly meaningful but low-paying job. The older the student, the more money (on average) the teacher makes. Middle school teachers make on average about $42,900 per year nationwide. Eighty-six percent say they find their jobs meaningful. Eighty-nine percent of kindergarten teachers find their jobs meaningful, but they only make, on average, $35,500 per year. Preschool and child care administrators make on average $32,400 per year, but they tie with kindergarten teachers for job satisfaction and meaning.
At 97 percent of respondents finding meaning in their jobs, the most meaningful job in this data package is Director of Religious Activities and Education. Median pay is just under $36,000 per year, but it seems that the sense of job satisfaction far outweighs the relatively modest salary.
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