Humanitarian Jobs that Pay Well

It is possible to earn a good salary while pursuing a career that involves helping others. Humanitarian jobs involve taking actions that will help people's lives improve. This article covers opportunities to do this in a number of career fields.

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Career Options for High-Paying Humanitarian Jobs

Humanitarian jobs involve helping others. This may involve providing emergency services after a disaster, or providing ongoing services to help improve the lives of people in a low-income neighborhood or people facing other challenges that are negatively affecting them. Humanitarians may be particularly interested in careers in healthcare, law, social services and education.

Job Title Median Salary* (2016) Job Growth* (2014-2024)
Fundraiser $54,130 9%
Civil Engineer $83,540 8%
Lawyer $118,160 6%
Registered Nurse $68,450 16%
Adult Literacy and High School Equivalency Teachers $50,650 7%
Health Educator $53,070 12%
Social Worker $46,890 12%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Information for High-Paying Humanitarian Jobs


Fundraisers are responsible for securing donations to organizations. This may involve setting up a charity drive or another type of fundraising event, which can also include developing a campaign strategy and researching potential donors. A bachelor's degree is required for a career in this field. Fundraisers may work for non-profit agencies and be directly involved in securing the funds needed in order to provide assistance to people in need, or to improve non-profit organizations and allow them to expand their work.

Civil Engineer

Civil engineers prepare for their career by earning an engineering degree, and they usually need to be licensed. They are involved in developing plans and overseeing the construction of infrastructure. Civil engineers are professionals who may also consider working overseas in underdeveloped areas to help construct infrastructure like roads, bridges and water supply systems. Those who wish to help improve the lives of others will find this is a career where they can directly impact the quality of life of those in their community, and can also pursue opportunities to help significantly improve the living conditions of people in regions affected by war or natural disasters.


Lawyers use the law as a basis to advise clients and develop legal strategies. Those who are interested in humanitarian work may choose to work on behalf of non-profit organizations. They may also specialize in a field such as immigration, and focus on helping refugees gain legal immigration status in another country. Lawyers must pass the bar exam after earning a law degree. Lawyers may also take on civil rights cases, and help protect individuals from discrimination.

Registered Nurse

Nurses are directly involved in providing medical care to patients. They may give patients medications, update medical records, monitor patients for side-effects, assist with medical tests and help patients and their families learn how to care for an injury. When patients are about to be released, nurses may also inform them about how to manage their condition. The work they do directly impacts the quality of life of people coping with illness and injury. They need to be licensed, and must earn an associate's degree or bachelor's degree to work in this field. Nurses also have many opportunities to work overseas with people in poor regions of the world who may not have regular access to health care.

Adult Literacy and High School Equivalency Teachers

Adult literacy and high school equivalency teachers are required to have a bachelor's degree. They work with adults to help them earn their GED or to help them improve their English language skills so that they can read and write more effectively. Educators play a significant role in improving the lives of their students because people with formal education enjoy more job opportunities. Adult literacy and high school equivalency teachers often work with immigrants or people with learning disabilities.

Health Educator

Health educators play an important role in community health. They make programs that are designed to help address health needs in a community. They teach these programs and they also work directly with individuals to help them understand their health issues and how to improve their health. Health educators must have a bachelor's degree, and in addition to their other responsibilities they serve as an advocate for their community. They work to ensure that their community has access to the type of health resources that they need.

Social Worker

Social workers spend their career focusing on identifying people with needs, and then helping those individuals get the type of help necessary. They may work with people who have been diagnosed with an illness and be involved in helping them make lifestyle adjustments due to their health issues. They may also be involved in helping people get basic necessities, such as housing or food. Most social workers need a bachelor's degree, but clinical social workers need a master's degree and licensure. They may work at hospitals, schools or government facilities.

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