See great-paying career options for ambitious people who want to make a difference.
By Chris Kyle
Want a career that lets you make an impact...without going broke?
There's nothing wrong with wanting to get paid to make a difference.
Having a career that lets you help others is one way to have an impact. Being in a position to make significant changes is yet another possibility. So is working in management.
As you can see, there are many ways to channel your ambition and make a difference, so finding the right career may depend on what suits you and your personality best.
With that in mind, check out our list of careers that pay you to make a difference...then see how you can get the job.
Career #1 - Marketing Manager
Want to make an impact in the business world? Marketing managers promote their product to the public and the results have a profound effect on a company's bottom line, making them critical, game-changing players.
Career #2 - Paralegal
In the legal world, the difference between winning and losing usually happens long before a case goes to trial and more often than not there's a paralegal who is a pivotal player in that process. Working alongside lawyers, paralegals have a huge behind-the-scenes role, analyzing cases and researching and interviewing witnesses.
Career #3 - Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
CPAs are among the very few people who actually understand the tax code, let alone the new federal banking regulations that Congress just passed. And unlike unlicensed accountants, CPAs can file reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), making them an influential ally of public companies registered with the SEC.
Education: The road to becoming a CPA varies, depending upon the state in which you practice, but the minimum requirement is generally a bachelor's degree in an area like accounting or finance.
Salary: $48,468 - $73,440
Career #4 - HR Manager
HR managers are the gatekeepers to companies large and small. Not only do HR managers actively work to recruit and retain the best workers, their efforts have a huge impact in shaping a company's culture.
Career #5 - Computer Programmer
As a computer programmer, your co-workers might not fully understand what you do for a living, but they do understand that you're an invaluable part of today's digital world. Using computer languages like C++ and Python, programmers write the code that powers ideas to life.
Education: To attract employers, you'll want to demonstrate your expertise with a technology-related degree, whether it's an associate's or bachelor's. Certificate programs are another great resumé builder.
Career #6 - K-12 Teacher
When talking about making an impact, it's impossible to overstate the difference teachers make in the lives of their students. By simply doing your job, you'll be reaching the next generation and helping map their futures.
Education: You'll need a bachelor's degree and your teacher certification. Earning a master's degree can also help.
Elementary School Teachers: $53,150
Middle School Teachers: $53,550
Secondary School Teachers: $55,150
Career #7 - Database Administrator
Unlike in the past, finding information isn't the problem these days. The tough part is figuring out how to sort and make sense of it all. Enter database administrators, who are often charged with safeguarding data from hackers and computer meltdowns.
Education: Employers want to hire database administrators who have a bachelor's degree in an area like information systems or database technology. Earning a master's degree can increase your opportunities.
*Average salaries come from the U.S. Department of Labor, using 2009 median salary information, except CPA, which comes from January 2011 salary data from PayScale.com.