The Most Meaningful Jobs

Does your job make the world a better place? Workers in the jobs on this list were most likely to say YES. Find out what the most meaningful jobs are in the list below.


1. Clergy

98% Find Job Meaningful
Median Pay: $46,600

Is it any surprise that clergy members are the most likely workers to say that their jobs make the world a better place? While dedicating your career (and most of your life) to the service of a religious institution won’t make you rich, it will reward you in other ways.

English Professor

2. (tie) English Language and Literature Teachers, Postsecondary

96% Find Job Meaningful
Median Pay: $43,600

English majors get a bad rap, but if you love literature enough to make it through a PhD (which can easily take upwards of seven years of graduate school) and get yourself a college teaching job, you’re likely to feel pretty good about your work despite low pay.

Director of Religious Activities

Photo credit: ITU Pictures / Flickr

2. (tie) Directors, Religious Activities and Education

96% Find Job Meaningful
Median Pay: $37,600

Another religious job rests at the top of PayScale’s list of most meaningful jobs. Directors of Religious Activities and Education aren’t ordained clergy, but they oversee programs for congregation members. These workers only earn a typical salary of $37,600, so it’s definitely not done for a love of money. But since 96 percent of these workers say their job makes the world a better place, they definitely seem to get something out of it.


Photo credit: Phalinn Ooi / Flickr

2. (tie) Surgeons

96% Find Job Meaningful
Median Pay: $304,000

It takes a lot of time, hard work and money to become a surgeon, but the rewards are extremely rich in more ways than one. Ninety-six percent of surgeons say their work is extremely meaningful, and they certainly earn the highest salary on this list – over $300,000 per year!

Education Administrators

5. Education Administrators, Elementary and Secondary School

95% Find Job Meaningful
Median Pay: $76,700

Here’s another statistic that proves that education is meaningful work: 95 percent of Education Administrators at the elementary and secondary school level say that their work makes the world a better place. However, the sentiment clearly changes when you get to the college level – only 76 percent of postsecondary education administrators say the same.

Radiation Therapist

6. Radiation Therapists

93% Find Job Meaningful
Median Pay: $70,200

Radiation Therapists don’t earn nearly as much as surgeons, and certainly don’t have to spend as many years in school, but they are almost as likely to say their jobs are meaningful. And the pay isn’t exactly terrible – the typical Radiation Therapist earns over $70,000 per year.


7. (tie) Chiropractors

92% Find Job Meaningful
Median Pay: $60,100

You know how good it feels when you get relief from an aching back? Chiropractors help masses of people achieve that same feeling, and our statistics show that that is seriously meaningful work. Ninety-two percent of Chiropractors say that their jobs make the world a better place.


Photo credit: Kevin Dooley / Flickr

7. (tie) Psychiatrists

92% Find Job Meaningful
Median Pay: $197,000

Psychiatrists do important work, using a combination of therapy and medicine to help people deal with stress, trauma and mental illness. It’s definitely not easy (and most certainly stressful), but they are rewarded with high salaries (nearly $200,000 per year) and a high sense of job meaning.


9. (tie) Anesthesiologists

91% Find Job Meaningful
Median Pay: $273,000

Anesthesiologists play a crucial role in all kinds of medical treatment – without them, surgical intervention would be nearly impossible. Not only do they earn a handsome salary for this work, 91 percent say their work makes the world a better place.

Rehab Counselor

Photo credit: Wiki Commons

9. (tie) Rehabilitation Counselors

91% Find Job Meaningful
Median Pay: $39,100

Recovering from drug or alcohol addiction isn’t easy, but it changes lives. Working as a Rehabilitation Counselor doesn’t pay a lot, but 91 percent of Rehabilitation Counselors say that their jobs make the world a better place, and we’re pretty sure that each of their success stories feel the same way.

Occupational Therapist

9. (tie) Occupational Therapists

91% Find Job Meaningful
Median Pay: $64,400

Occupational Therapists work with patients recovering from injuries or illnesses, or who suffer from cognitive or developmental conditions. They help improve motor skills and make it easier for these patients to get around. This work drastically improves the quality of life of these patients, so it’s no wonder that OT’s make our list of meaningful jobs.

Kindergarten Teacher

Photo credit: WW Works / Flickr

9. (tie) Kindergarten Teachers

91% Find Job Meaningful
Median Pay: $39,000

Teaching kindergarten is about more than fingerpaint and storytime – these people work tirelessly to set students up for a lifetime of success. Kindergarten teachers have the highest job meaning rates of any K-12 teacher.


Photo credit: CDC Global / Flickr

9. (tie) Epidemiologists

91% Find Job Meaningful
Median Pay: $69,000

If keeping the world safe from rapidly-spreading diseases doesn’t make the world a better place, we honestly don’t know what could. Epidemiologists protect us from things like SARS, Ebola and whatever latest strain of flu is going around. It’s no surprise then that 91 percent are confident that their work makes the world a better place.

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