Best jobs for saving the world

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9. Recreation Therapist

best jobs, jobs helping others, recreation therapist
Median pay: $42,300
Top pay: $53,500
10-year job growth: 15%
Total jobs: 20,000
The job: Recreation therapists get people with disabilities, injuries or illnesses to engage with the world again through art, music and sports. They work in private, commercial, clinical or community settings. The job requires creativity and persistence, but it's gratifying when you see people move away from what they lost and focus on the abilities they do have. Says Shawna Hill, a recreation therapist who works with veterans: "To see empowerment in the individual is what keeps you going."

How to switch: You need an undergraduate degree with coursework in therapeutic recreation. Certification, which involves a knowledge-based written exam and completion of supervised work experience, will make you a more attractive candidate. Learn more at nctrc.org.

Quality of life ratings:
Personal satisfaction Benefit to society Low stress Flexibility
B A C B


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Do Recreation Therapists have great jobs, or what?
From the November 2011 issue
Notes: All pay data from PayScale.com. Median pay is for an experienced worker (at least two to seven years in the field). Top pay represents the 90th percentile. Job growth is estimated for 2008-18. Total current employment level is estimated number of people working in each specific job.

Sources: PayScale.com, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and MONEY research
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Using Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts for 7,000 titles, MONEY and compensation experts PayScale.com identified jobs requiring a bachelor's degree that have strong growth prospects, and eliminated any with fewer than 10,000 positions nationwide, plus those requiring advanced degrees that take more than three years. More

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