If you are interested in contributing to the third Sustainable Development Goal but you are not keen on health career paths, there are still other options.
While these jobs may not involve interacting with patients, they are essential in the advancement of health and wellbeing of a community.
Keep reading to learn about 7 uncommon career paths you can pursue and still play a role in the advancement of SDG 3.
- Environmental Conservationist
The work of an environmental conservationist involves ensuring that land is properly used and that natural habitats and resources are protected. Conservationists are typically experts on a given environment. They conduct research in the environment they work in and advise the appropriate authorities on any steps that need to be taken to keep habitats safe for animals and human beings.
To work as a conservationist, you will generally be required to have an undergraduate degree in areas such as forestry, environmental science, and rangeland management. How does the work of an environmental conservationist advance SDG 3 targets? First, protecting the environment is crucial in preventing problems such as water pollution which can cause dangerous illnesses.
A well-protected environment also ensures that people can subsist well on their land. In agricultural communities, this means that land will remain arable and issues such as malnutrition– which can lead to a range of illnesses – will be reduced.
- Law Enforcement Officer
Law enforcement officers include regular police, traffic police, and intelligence officers. Although their work may not seem related at all to health, it’s important to remember that they are responsible for aspects that have a direct impact on the health of a community. For instance, certain divisions of law enforcement exclusively deal with preventing the sale of illegal drugs such as cocaine that lead to addiction and poor health.
Law enforcement officers are also responsible for making sure that traffic rules are followed, which leads to less accidents and injuries. To become a law enforcement officer, you will typically need to pass a background check and undergo training at an institution approved by the authorities.
Depending on the kind of role you want to join, the length of your training will vary. Eventually, you will be expected to get licensing and pass a psychological evaluation before you are allowed to work as a law enforcement officer.
An agronomist is a professional who focuses on the improvement of agricultural production. Some of the roles of an agronomist include studying crops, experimenting with plants to see the best methods of improving yield, and finding ways of eliminating diseases that ruin plants.
To become an agronomist, you will generally need to complete an undergraduate degree in a field such as agriculture or environmental studies. Depending on where you pursue your studies, you may have the option of obtaining further certifications that attest to your competency. The work of an agronomist contributes to communal health in many ways.
For instance, Rachel Carson famously wrote about the effects of DDT on plants and how this was injurious to both human and animal health. Her book, Silent Spring, is considered a classic and it serves as a cautionary tale against reckless usage of pesticides in crop production.
- Management Consultant
A management consultant helps organizations to run more efficiently. A management consultant typically provides advice about the operation and management of a company or organization. The roles of a management consultant include carrying out research about a company, identifying issues and potential solutions, and presenting to clients.
The field of management consulting admits graduates from all fields, but you generally need to have excellent analytical skills as well as some industry experience. However, some firms hire new graduates directly and train them. These include Deloitte, PwC, and Accenture.
How does the work of a management consultant relate to health? Well, some of the clients you are likely to work for are in the healthcare industry and you will be advising them on how to deliver services effectively and similar issues. As one of the most important sectors in the world today, healthcare is probably going to be one area where you will be returning to regularly and where your expertise will play a role in making the lives of patients and health workers better.
A statistician analyzes data and solves mathematical problems. Statisticians generally work in close collaboration with scientists and other researchers. The work of a statistician is critical in health research because it allows scientists to map disease patterns and predict what may happen in the future.
For instance, during the Covid-19 pandemic, the study of infection data has been essential in informing the measures that governments around the world have taken to curb the spread of the disease.
Becoming a statistician involves getting a bachelor’s degree and usually an advanced degree in mathematics or statistics.
- Public Policy Expert
A public policy expert works with government officials to influence changes in policies that affect communal welfare. Public policy experts are akin to advisers; they work closely with political leaders to ensure that the most effective decisions are made. Public policy experts can also work in non-profit organizations and as public lobbyists.
As someone experienced in policy and its impact on community welfare, a public policy expert can be essential in pushing for policies that enable better healthcare for all citizens. Similarly, a public policy expert can point out policies that hinder access to health for the community and suggest measures that change that.
To become a public policy expert, you will typically need to pursue an undergraduate degree in public policy. You can also complete a master’s and doctorate degree in the same field if you want to gain more expertise.
- Software Engineer
As technology becomes more advanced, most industries need people who are proficient in operating these new technologies. One area that has grown tremendously in the last three decades is software engineering. Software engineers are experts in writing, running, and securing computer programs.
Just like every industry, healthcare requires these experts to run hospital systems and ensure that malicious actors do not compromise them. Poor maintenance of hospital computer systems can have devastating effects if hackers take control. Recent events – such as the hijacking of the operating systems for the Colonial Pipeline – indicate that cybersecurity is one area that all industries need to take very seriously.
If you would like to work as a software engineer, you will generally need to obtain a bachelor’s degree in computer science or software engineering. You can also get an advanced degree in the same fields before undertaking internships and full-time jobs where you hone your skills further.
As you can see, there are a variety of career paths outside of the healthcare field that you can pursue and still contribute to the advancement of SDG 3.
If you are curious about more career paths and how they might relate to your interests, check out this great resource from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.