Back To Career News

The 7 Jobs That Offer the Highest Meaning


You don’t need to get fulfillment from your job: sometimes, a decent salary is enough. But if you know you’re a person who can’t be happy unless their days are spent doing something meaningful, these occupations might be a place to start your hunt for your next career.


(Photo Credit: francisco_osorio/Flickr)

Note that salaries vary widely, here, as do stress levels and sense of job satisfaction. Some of these occupations also require a significant investment on the education front, so you’ll want to research each thoroughly, before you start making plans to change careers.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

1. Clergy

High Meaning: 97 percent

Salary: $45,400

Typical Education: Masters (non-MBA)

High Satisfaction: 89 percent

High Stress: 68 percent

2. Directors, Religious Activities and Education

High Meaning: 97 percent

Salary: $35,900

Typical Education: Bachelors

High Satisfaction: 88 percent

High Stress: 61 percent

3. Surgeons

High Meaning: 94 percent

Salary: $299,600

Typical Education: Doctors of Medicine (MD)

High Satisfaction: 82 percent

High Stress: 79 percent

4. Education Administrators, Elementary/Secondary

High Meaning: 93 percent

Salary: $75,900

Typical Education: Masters (non-MBA)

High Satisfaction: 87 percent

High Stress: 85 percent

5. Chiropractors

High Meaning: 93 percent

Salary: $58,700

Typical Education: Doctorate (Ph.D.)

High Satisfaction: 65 percent

High Stress: 52 percent

6. Fire Fighters

High Meaning: 93 percent

Salary: $43,500

Typical Education: Associates

High Satisfaction: 84 percent

High Stress: 78 percent

7. Radiation Therapist

High Meaning: 93 percent

Salary: $69,800

Typical Education: Bachelors

High Satisfaction: 80 percent

High Stress: 64 percent

To see PayScale’s full list of 450+ jobs, and how each compares for job meaning, salary, stress, and satisfaction, go here.

Tell Us What You Think

What’s more important to you when it comes to choosing a career: money or meaning? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
Read more from Jen

Leave a Reply

5 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
1 Comment authors
Mike MacJohn the RevelatorNick_In_DetroitTarantotawster Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Mike Mac
Mike Mac

Chiropractors are 1 of the 3 physicians recognized by licensure and insurances

Medical Doctor

Doctor of Osteopathy

Doctor of Chiropractic you stated the education was a Ph.D it is not;Like any physician it is a Doctorate in the chosen Medical discipline.


Clergy. If you know any clergy… what they openingly state and what they how satisfied they actually are… are generally two different things.


The top 2 are religious?  Why not a horoscope writer or other form of self-deception?  This is disgusting.

John the Revelator
John the Revelator

Dear Jen, 

Explaining the method of selection here would be essential. Clergy? What are you smoking? Add witches then. Fireman? C’mon.Schoolmasters – whoa! Chiropractors, surgeons? Mein God! Despicable places to get into




Interestingly, I think that Clergy, Directors of Religious Education and Chiropractors belong in the least meaningful list.  

What Am I Worth?

What your skills are worth in the job market is constantly changing.