Rohan Mathew

Updated on:

A career in human rights sounds exciting and morally fulfilling. But, it is often overshadowed by career paths that lead to more secure jobs in fancy firms. Given the current uncertainty surrounding us, there is a great cause for concern for us to think. While not many people are inclined towards working for human rights and social justice, those who do, are very firm in their belief. Playing their role in society to bring it to a better state is very important for such people.

If you are someone who loses sleep over the ongoing humanitarian crisis and want to make a difference, a career in social justice and human rights may be the option for you. You may think there are not many career options in the given field, but you’re mistaken.

There is a lot one can do if they opt for social justice and human rights as their future careers. Starting from proper education, you can end up making a massive impact on society if you take up a career pathway that is ideal for you. Here are the possible career pathways that you could opt for if it is the future that you are considering.

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Educate Yourself:

Before diving into the ins and outs of this particular job sector, you must prepare yourself. Working jobs and being in action is exciting. But before that, you need to be ready for the challenges that you might face in the future. And that you can do by education yourself. Not with just any degree or course, but with something that will be helpful in the field. Unlike most 9-5 jobs, when you sign up for employment in the humanitarian industry, you must be willing and flexible enough to educate yourself overtime. This education is not necessarily limited to getting a college degree, followed by numerous courses and traineeships. But it relates to the ability to learn a new language, gaining awareness about customs and traditions, and a lot more like that.

But before that, at least a graduate-level of education is necessary. Following that, you may pursue master, or perhaps, online social work masters as well to help you move forward. Before you opt for a degree, make sure that you have done enough research and considered all of your options. It will help ensure that you have indeed opted for what suits you the best.

Look For Internships:

The next step is trying to figure out how to enter and progress in the humanitarian sector. Just like any other job market, the golden rule here too, ‘is starting small.’ It translates to laboring away at internships and volunteer work. Most of that will most likely have little to no financial remuneration. It will help you take time out to invest in yourself before you set out to save the world.

Learn and ponder over human rights, in addition to taking action against social injustice and discrimination taking place around you. Materialize your passion, anger, ambition, and commitment to helping the unfortunate into a blog and web media platforms.

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Job Opportunities:

There is a wide range of options to choose from for potential employers. Contrary to popular belief, careers in human rights and social justice are highly exhilarating, competitive, and handsomely paid. There are several job opportunities, and here are a few of them.

  • Human Rights Lawyer:

The most prominent and sought-after career path taken up by humanitarian activists is becoming a human rights lawyer. A job that allows you to become an advocate for the socially oppressed. The magnitude of one’s practice can be as versatile as the areas of specialization to choose from. It could be carried out internationally, for the state, for a non-profit organization or only as a sole proprietorship, aimed at fighting racism, gender inequality, civil and human right violations. It is easily one of the well-paid careers in this particular job sector. A career in this path will allow you to pursue the aim of your life and satisfy your financial needs.

  • Human Rights Researcher:

Becoming a human rights researcher is another reputable employment opportunity to aim for. Key topics researched and studied involve poverty, criminal injustice, LGBTQ issues, and so on. The issues involved are usually the center of human rights controversies and include very fragile details of society. Sufficient knowledge is fundamental to handle such sensitive matters. However, to pursue a career as a researcher, it is mandatory to hold at least a Master’s degree. A PhD-level education, coupled with some relevant experience, can make one eligible an annual income of about $60,370 on average.

  • Social Service Worker:

There is a different career pathway for those who prefer to take a more hands-on approach to diminish the growing discrepancies in society. Such individuals can take up ambitions like social service workers. The reason these jobs yield prompt results is that they are inclusive of working directly with those whose rights have been compromised upon by the system or other individuals around them. In the case of social service workers, their jobs do not necessarily require a prestigious academic background. Instead, they want to create equality amongst varying societies and impeccable communication skills. Arguably, a social service worker can be said to have the most significant impact on his/her clients’ lives as they are the bridge between privilege and the underprivileged.

  • Lobbyists:

Lobbyists, too, are cut from the same cloth as social service workers and are an integral part of the humanitarian workforce. A lobbyist should have relatively sophisticated knowledge about the law in comparison to social service workers. It is because their job profiles are much more legal and challenging in nature. Lobbyists work towards the correction of the legal framework, targeting to implement policies deemed just and in alignment with the social justice framework. They also shun those that widen the inequality gap. A social service worker’s typical pay-scale can get paid up to $50,000, while a lobbyist can earn $70,000 per annum. Their work often starts at a national level and eventually progressing to global stature.


So, there it is! Gone are the days when one would have to sacrifice all the good things in the world to improve the lives of their fellow humans. Today, you can make a decent living, satisfy your wants and conscience while trying to make this world a better place to live. Those who think that the careers mentioned above aren’t for them can still contribute to others’ betterment by merely putting up a heartfelt post on social media. Or by merely setting up a GoFundMe fundraiser or supporting a movement directed towards erasing the social stigma towards minorities without stepping out into the Covid-19 infected air. And that, folks, is the beauty of charity – it begins at home.