Those of us who work full time spend about half of our waking hours at work, so it’s important that we love our jobs. If you’re looking to make a change in your life, read on to find out about the top satisfying careers to consider in 2023.
In this article, you’ll see that lucrative careers don’t necessarily amount to satisfying careers. We’ve also outlined where to find these careers, the requirements of each, and why it’s important to pick a job you like.
What Makes a Career Satisfying?
People generally think that a lucrative job will make them happy. But a study conducted by Princeton University in 2010 and published by the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America shows that high-paying jobs don’t contribute to a person’s emotional well-being.
The nonprofit 80,000 Hours reviewed over 60 studies conducted over two decades to find out what comprises a dream job. The group found that there were six key factors that predictors of job satisfaction and income wasn’t one of them.
Instead, the study found that satisfaction comes from engaging jobs and jobs in which you get to help others and do something you’re good at. Factors like supportive colleagues and having a career path that aligns with your other priorities can also contribute to job satisfaction. Overall, you’ll also be more satisfied if you do something that contributes to the world.
Conveniently, PayScale released a list of 454 jobs, ranking each by satisfaction level, which could help you get started choosing your own satisfying career.
Top 10 Satisfying Careers You Should Consider in 2023
Now that we know some of the things that go into making a career fulfilling, let’s look at the top 10 satisfying careers. Find out more about the duties of each job, the annual salary, and the requirements you must meet to get started.
A chief executive officer is the highest-ranking person in a company. Their primary responsibilities can range from making major corporate decisions to managing the overall operations and resources of a business. They also act as the liaison between the company and its board of directors and represent the company publicly.
For this job, you need to have leadership experience, strong communication skills, strong business ethics, and a growth mindset. As was mentioned in the report by 80,000 Hours, high-paying jobs like that of a CEO sometimes have high levels of job satisfaction because the person in the role has so much control. They determine their schedule and choose how they will reach their goals.
To work as a pediatrician, you will first need to get your doctoral degree in medicine, which can take more than 10 years in medical school. Then, you’ll have to pass an exam by the American Board of Pediatrics or the medical certification board in your country. Only then will you be ready to provide medical care for babies, children, and teenagers.
Skills that you’ll use in this line of work include excellent communication and emotional resilience. While working, you’ll be diagnosing and treating children and relaying their medical information to their families. This job is satisfying because it falls into the category of doing something that contributes to the world, in this case, helping children.
Human Resources (HR) Manager
Human resources managers are responsible for planning and directing how a company manages its personnel. Their main duties include consulting with upper management on business strategies and delivering messages from management to employees. HR managers are also often in charge of recruiting, interviewing, and hiring new employees.
HR managers need to have analytical and communication skills and should have experience in HR strategy. This career offers job satisfaction because the job is focused on finding solutions to challenging situations. Usually, the HR manager can offer advice that will lead to a resolution between management and employees.
Medical and Health Services Managers
Medical and health services managers plan and oversee a healthcare company. In this job, you may work in an office at a hospital, nursing home, or a group medical practice.
For this role, you will need in-depth knowledge of the healthcare industry and a wide range of skills including leadership, critical thinking, and medical ethics. Running a hospital or healthcare facility can bring a high level of job satisfaction because the job offers you a sense of control and you’ll also be helping the patients who come to the facility for medical aid.
A physical therapist helps injured or ailing people improve their movement and manage pain. They diagnose patients and create treatment plans, evaluate patients’ progress, and set goals for patients’ recovery.
In addition to your degree, you’ll need a license to practice within your state. Some of the skills you’ll need for this job include communication, physical stamina, compassion, and time management. Helping people get healthier and improving their mobility can result in a lot of happy moments that will add to your career satisfaction.
Psychologists study cognitive, emotional, and social processes and behaviors by observing how people relate to each other and their surroundings. The job involves a lot of communication and research in order to improve patients’ brain function.
You can choose what area of psychology you want to specialize in such as clinical psychology or child psychology. You can also choose to work as a school counselor or school psychologist. Being able to help someone feel better on an emotional and psychological level can provide job satisfaction. Psychologists are also problem-solvers, which can make work more enjoyable.
Occupational therapists help patients with injuries, ailments, or disabilities get well enough to go about their daily activities. In this role, you may work in an occupational therapist’s office, hospital, or school.
This job requires a lot of patience, determination, and strong communication skills. But the payoffs can be huge when you see a patient you have been working with start to improve and regain control of their life. In the US, you need a license to work as an occupational therapist.
Nurses provide care for patients and educate them on their health conditions. Their daily tasks include checking vital signs, administering medication, interpreting lab and other diagnostic tests, and helping patients prepare to be discharged from the medical facility.
All nurses must be licensed and can work at a hospital, physician’s office, or provide home healthcare services. Nursing can provide great career satisfaction since a nurse’s main task is to help people who are facing medical concerns.
A teacher’s job is to inspire students through learning. Although the median salary is low, this job is often fun, as you’ll need to use your creativity to make sure your students are engaged. This job is rewarding because you’ll be helping children learn and reach their goals, whether you’re working in an elementary school, secondary school, or as a special education teacher.
As a teacher, you will need a state-issued certificate or license in addition to your degree. Relevant skills include leadership, creating curricula, and verbal and written communication.
- Salary: $40,070
- Job growth: N/A
- Education needed: Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in Divinity or Religious Studies
Chaplains help the community they work for by leading mediation, prayers, and religious ceremonies in a group or one-on-one. They usually work for a branch of the military, hospital, prison, university, or a private chapel.
They act as a spiritual guide, educating and motivating those in the community who reach out to them. In this job, you must have good listening and communication skills, empathy, and excellent interpersonal skills. The long-lasting relationships that chaplains build with community members make this a satisfying career.
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10 Satisfying Careers that Don’t Require a Degree
Now that you have an idea of some satisfying careers that require a degree, it’s time to look at the options that require less formal education. In the section below, we’ll take a look at what these jobs entail and what makes them satisfying.
Commercial pilots operate aircraft that are transporting cargo or passengers. Before each flight, they check with the maintenance team to make sure the aircraft is safe and review weather conditions and flight plans. A pilot’s schedule can vary depending on what company they work for and can often require overnight stays in other cities or countries.
For this job, you will need to get a commercial pilot’s license from the Federal Aviation Administration. Required skills include spatial awareness, coordination, and technical knowledge of planes.
This career is satisfying because flying a plane is engaging work that can also fit around the pilot’s personal life. Airline pilots also help passengers or packages arrive safely at their destinations. If you enjoy traveling, this is one career that will pay you to see the world.
Software developers create, maintain, and manage computer applications or websites. A software developer may work for a tech company or on a contract basis.
You can get a job in this field if you’re self-taught, but attending some software engineering courses can also help you get started. Your main task in this career will be coding, so you’ll need to learn programming languages like C++, Java, and Python.
This job is satisfying because you’ll likely work in an environment where you’re surrounded by supportive colleagues and will also enjoy job perks such as a flexible schedule. Plus, you’ll be on a career path with an upward trajectory.
Dental hygienists examine patients’ oral hygiene and conduct teeth cleaning, scaling, and polishing. Cleaning and organizing tools and equipment is also part of the job. They work at dentists’ offices and many work part-time.
Some employers may require an Associate Degree in Dental Hygiene but you can also get a job if you have a certificate from a dental school accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation and have passed the relevant exam and received your regional or state license.
Skills you will use on a daily basis in this job include verbal communication, manual dexterity, and knowledge of dental practices. This job is rewarding because it involves engaging, hands-on work that helps people.
Police officers uphold the law to protect people in the community they serve. They respond to emergency calls at all hours of the day to help victims and locate and question suspects. They communicate with emergency workers, the general public, and other law enforcement officers.
A high school diploma is the minimum requirement to enter this field. You will also have to graduate from the relevant training academy. Then, you can work in an office as a private detective or join the police force.
Skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, attention to detail, and understanding human behavior and psychology will be of use in this field. This is a rewarding career because it involves protecting the public and helping families by solving crimes.
A firefighter puts out fires that are a threat to someone’s life, property, or the environment. This can be a dangerous and demanding career. Fire station shifts can last 24 hours, but you also get longer periods of time off than you would in other jobs.
You’ll need emergency service training for this job, which you can get at a fire academy. You should also be physically fit, as this career can be physically demanding. This job is satisfying because you get to save lives and prevent property damage while working with supportive colleagues.
Administrative assistants do general office work like answering phones, engaging with clients, setting meetings for managers, and maintaining client records. You can get this job with either a high school diploma or a GED. You’ll get on-the-job training for the other required skills, which might be lengthy if you want to work in law or medicine.
Key skills you will need are confidence with basic technology, strong verbal and written communication, and time management and organizational skills. This job is satisfying because it’s low stress and allows for a reasonable work-life balance.
A maintenance worker applies their knowledge of maintenance to repair buildings, machines, and mechanical equipment. They may work for a hotel, hospital, or apartment complex, or even work independently. This career requires at least a GED and a training course or on-the-job training may be necessary.
Skills you will need include problem-solving ability, physical stamina, and broad technical knowledge including understanding the basics of carpentry and plumbing. Possessing a maintenance worker certification will also be advantageous. This job is satisfying because it’s an engaging occupation and you’re able to help people by improving their homes or workplaces.
Fitness trainers instruct and motivate a person or a group of people in a fitness activity. They work in gyms and health clubs, and often work evenings and weekends, depending on clients’ schedules. Working as a fitness trainer is rewarding because you get to actively contribute to improving someone’s health.
Once you have started as a personal trainer, you’ll build up a portfolio of client transformations and will be able to select your own clients and choose the working hours you prefer. To succeed in this role, you’ll need to be an excellent verbal communicator, with health and fitness knowledge.
A groundskeeper maintains the grounds of homes, businesses, or parks. Their main tasks are planting flowers, shrubs, and trees, raking leaves, and pulling weeds. This job can bring satisfaction because it is low stress and allows for a very fair work-life balance. Plus, you get to work outdoors.
This is often a seasonal job, depending on where you live, since the work is done almost entirely outdoors. It’s a physically demanding job that often involves a lot of bending and shoveling but training in gardening techniques is usually provided on the job.
Childcare workers care for children when their parents are away. They prepare meals and snacks for kids and aid in early development to prepare them for elementary school. They usually work at childcare centers, in a private household, or at their own home.
Having some experience or training in childcare will give you a boost if you want this job. To work with children, you should be a strong communicator and a creative thinker who can solve problems. This job is fulfilling because it’s similar to the role of a teacher, but with greater flexibility in working hours. However, one major negative of this career is the low annual salary.
How to Find Satisfying Careers
It might be hard to find a satisfying career since there are a lot of options out there and because the definition of what’s satisfying changes on a person-to-person basis. To help you get started, we’ve put together some guidelines below.
Decide What You Want to Do
At this point, you should have an idea of what career you are interested in. If your list needs narrowing down, do more research. Once you have one or two careers in mind, you can start working on your resume.
Update Your Resume
It’s hard to know exactly what resume layout and information will impress a hiring manager or recruiter. It’s a good idea to start by searching the internet for the top resume tips. That way, you can be sure your resume will stand out.
Include a Cover Letter
You will need to write a strong cover letter, so consider looking for tips on writing an effective cover letter. It’s important to include details that are relevant to the job and may not be listed on your resume. Summarize your experience and qualifications to make a good impression so you can secure an interview.
Search for Jobs Online
There are many reputable job boards online that can help you find what you’re looking for. Some of the most popular are Indeed and Monster, both of which are free to job seekers.
Join Online Communities
Joining online communities like LinkedIn will help you expand your network and find companies within your area of interest. You can also search for jobs and apply for them directly with your profile, so make sure it’s up to date.
Why Finding a Satisfying Career Is Important
It is important to find a satisfying career because you’ll spend a huge portion of your life working. Your job should be fulfilling and low-stress, rather than draining and disappointing.
To find a satisfying career you should focus not just on what you’re passionate about, but on how the job will help you contribute to the world. Working in an engaging job that you’re good at, surrounded by pleasant colleagues and positive company culture will do wonders toward making your job feel rewarding.
Satisfying Careers FAQ
If you consider your personality type when applying for jobs, you’re more likely to find a job that’s satisfying. If, for example, you’re searching for a career in tech, take this free career quiz that will help get you started down the right path toward your dream job.
Before you apply for a job, read the job description carefully. Pay particular attention to the tasks that you’ll be expected to do every day. This will also help you prepare for the job by brushing up on relevant skills.
Check the specific schedule and compare it to your commitments outside of work. If the job has an irregular schedule or one that changes every week, you’ll have to decide if that inconsistency fits with your lifestyle.
If advancing your career is important to you, find out from hiring managers whether your prospective workplace can offer that before you accept a job. You can also head online to check out reviews of the company by former and current employees, which you can find on Indeed or Glassdoor.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.