When someone commits to making society a better place for everyone – not just people of a certain class, race, status or gender – they engage in social activism. Social activism is about improving people’s lives and providing opportunities so that everyone can reach their full potential. It’s social justice in action.
Everyone can be a social activist. You don’t need certain qualifications or degrees to make the world a better place, but what if you want to focus all your time and energy on that goal? Making a career out of social activism means finding a job that serves society in some way. Here are ten social activist jobs that do exactly that:
Food program coordinator
Hunger and food security are major social activism issues. Organizations that include food programs need people who are excellent managers and leaders. This requires skills like project management, community engagement, and leadership. Tasks can include organizing and monitoring food pantries, farmer’s markets, and community gardens. A coordinator will also need to build relationships with food vendors and members of the community. Most organizations require an undergraduate degree and experience in human services. As this job falls under a program coordinator position, the salary ranges from $36,000 to $75,000.
Also known as a patient advocate, this job is a specialized type of social work. A healthcare advocate helps clients navigate the complex medical system and prioritizes their best interests. Responsibilities can include helping file patient complaints, explaining insurance policies, outlining patient rights, and working with a client’s family. Since healthcare advocates work in a variety of organizations (including nonprofits and hospitals), the necessary qualifications can vary. Many healthcare advocates have backgrounds in nursing or social work. There’s also a certificate from the Patient Advocate Certification Board that you can earn. According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary for a patient advocate is $38,600.
Outreach coordinators work in a variety of organizations, including nonprofits committed to social activism. The position’s responsibilities center on areas like public relations, fundraising, and research. They represent their organization to the public, communicating their message and engaging the community and potential supporters. Most organizations require a bachelor’s degree in journalism, business, marketing or a related field. Working Experience is also necessary to become a Coordinator. The average salary for an outreach coordinator is close to $48,000/yr.
Also known as a housing coordinator, this social activist job focuses on shelter. Advocates can work with homeless people, people with low incomes, or people escaping domestic violence. With the homeless community, an advocate’s tasks can include locating temporary and/or permanent housing for clients. They also often provide resources for meals and other basic needs. With other clients, housing advocates identify suitable living arrangements, affordable housing, and relevant services. As a type of social work, housing advocates will most likely need a bachelor’s degree in social services (or a related area) as well as experience. Salary will vary, but according to PayScale, the average is around $35,000.
A specialized job under the healthcare-social work umbrella, disability advocates focus on individuals and families. Responsibilities include case management, counseling, and referring to other services. A disability advocate is also often the liaison between the client and employers, so clients can work in healthy environments. Most positions require a master’s degree in a field such as clinical/medical social work, as well as experience. The average salary for a disability advocate is $48,755.
All organizations, including ones dedicated to social activism, need people who understand money. A bookkeeper records and organizes finances for an accountant. Specific tasks include keeping accurate books on payroll and any daily financial events and creating monthly financial reports. You don’t need a college degree to be a bookkeeper, but it will increase your chances to get hired. There are also online bookkeeping certification programs. Experience is likely the most important factor for an organization to hire bookkeepers, as well as proficiency in accounting software. Depending on the size of the organization, the salary ranges from $30,000-$60,000.
The creation of the human resources position is a concrete example of social activism. For years, employees were at the mercy of their employers. If the environment became toxic or unjust, there was very little to be done. Now, with human resources, employees have a liaison and advocate. HR works with upper management and department heads. They need skills like excellent communication and negotiation. Salary can vary significantly based on your level. The average for all levels is just under $95,000. If you’re working with a nonprofit or small organization, the salary is likely to be lower.
Nurse-midwives (CNMs) play an essential role in bringing women good healthcare. Responsibilities include family planning, checkups, prenatal care, and delivery. CNMs advocate for their clients at every stage of motherhood. One of the most specialized jobs on this list, a nurse-midwife must go through a vigorous process. You must first become an RN, get 1-2 years of nursing experience, get a master’s or doctoral degree in nurse-midwifery, and then earn a certification to practice. To center this job on social activism, a CNM can work for an organization that prioritizes low-income women or women at risk for birth complications. The average salary for a nurse-midwife is around $100,000.
Education is a human right, but unfortunately, many individuals don’t get the education they need to thrive. A tutor can help fill in the gaps from poor schooling systems and work one-on-one with kids who struggle. Tasks can include reviewing the materials learned in class, checking homework, and providing extra work to help a child practice. The relationship a tutor shares with a child can also help build the child’s confidence. Most tutors will need at least a college degree to work with a tutoring organization. Experience is also important. Tutors can also work independently or through schools. The average hourly pay for a tutor ranges between around $17.00-$21.00.
College access counselor
College is often out of reach for many individuals, which can significantly hinder their income-earning potential in the future. A college access counselor helps demystify the process, identify applicable scholarships, and provide support. This type of work can be found with nonprofits, which often target specific populations like first-generation college students, and high schools. You will need a bachelor’s degree and experience working with students. The salary ranges from $24,000-$44,000.
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