When we think of humanitarians, we usually envision groups of people in white, combing through the rubble of an earthquake or giving water to a little child. We think of people who respond to disease outbreaks or help refugees. While humanitarian workers do all of those things, they also do so much more. Humanitarian goals include saving lives, relieving suffering, and maintaining human dignity. They do this without prejudice or bias for race, religion, orientation, or beliefs. Here are just a few of the humanitarian careers you could consider, giving you both a livelihood and the ability to help others.


Music Therapist

It’s said that music heals the world. No other form of communication bridges language and culture barriers quite like music. Humans have used music as a healing tool since they first discovered how to create it. Music therapists assist with emotional and physical well-being, communication, and individual social and cognitive health by designing musical programs based on each individual’s needs. They use music improvisation, receptive listening, songwriting, and other tools. The average annual salary for a full-time music therapist is $45,000.



Human rights are a part of the language of the law. You see humanitarian work in legal areas like family law, immigration law, and even housing law. A humanitarian lawyer challenges discrimination, defends rights, and protects freedoms. The United Nations employs a variety of legal specialists, as do federal, state, and local institutions. The average annual salary for lawyers is $90,308 but can range from about $78,446 to $103,728.


Social Worker

Social work is possibly the most useful degree to obtain if you are looking for a humanitarian career. A social worker seeks to enhance the quality of life, strengthen families in their respective communities or assist them in remaining intact. Clients learn to cope with poverty, domestic violence, social justice issues, bereavement, and much more. The average annual salary for a social worker is approximately $42,480.



Psychologists assist vulnerable people in their communities with a host of emotional or mental difficulties, performing a variety of humanitarian acts on a daily basis. People drawn to psychology careers are interested in how humans perceive and cope, reason and choose. They work in medical fields and business, with humanitarian organizations, and in educational institutions. The average annual salary for psychologists in various specialties ranges from $59,910 to $94,590.


Healthcare Professional

Healthcare is something we’ll always need, and it’s also one of the highest forms of humanitarian work. From doctors and nurses to physical therapists and substance abuse counselors, no group of people has the opportunity to make real and lasting change for others as these professionals do. The list of possible careers in this field is endless, and your skills can take you all over your own country or internationally.

The average annual salary for varies widely depending on the chosen field; however, the annual salary for a community worker is about $33,520. The World Health Organization reports that the world will be short 12.9 million health workers by the year 2035.


Chaplain or Pastoral Care

One of the most basic human needs is contact with other humans. In times of stress or trauma, people often turn to philosophical or spiritual sources to cope. From the military to prisons or hospitals, chaplains are there at all hours of the day or night to answer the call of the suffering soul. Chaplains can lead religious services or provide services to those who can’t attend. Today, many chaplains are nondenominational and represent a variety of faiths. Their goal is to offer spiritual guidance to all. The average annual salary for a chaplain varies widely. In the healthcare sector, the average is $55,644 but ranges from $50,125 to $61,087.


The World Is Your Workplace

Whichever field of work you choose, remember that you don’t have to travel thousands of miles to help humanity, make a difference, or save a life. Find your passion, and you’ll find your field of work. If you have a fierce desire to be involved internationally, come up with some questions and then learn from foreign aid workers who have been where you want to be.