Social justice refers to the act of devising, implementing, and fighting for human, minority, religious, and social rights for the suppressed and ignored communities. Its foundation is based on the notion that everyone deserves equal rights, opportunities, and treatment. Some examples of social justice include racial and gender equality, equal employment opportunities, child welfare, affordable healthcare, and refugee services.
Therefore, if you want to fight for social justice, acquiring a social justice degree would put you on the right career path in line with your interests. The fact that this program is offered by many reputable colleges with lower GPA requirements is another advantage to consider. According to the Hiring Lab, recent college graduates in arts and social services prioritize passion over pay.
As per Harvard Business Review, 9 out of ten people are willing to earn less to do more meaningful work. These people find meaning in their daily work and, despite moderate paychecks, feel satisfied and happy.
Let us assess some career paths you can pursue with a social justice degree.
1- Victim Advocate
Victim advocates provide immense support and assistance to victims of domestic abuse, violence, social injustice, crimes, and human rights violations. They work closely with survivors, helping them navigate the legal system, access necessary resources such as counseling or shelter, and ensure their voices are heard.
The responsibilities of a victim advocate include accompanying survivors to court proceedings, providing emotional support, and educating them about their rights with the goal of empowering them and addressing their needs.
A career in this field requires a social justice and advocacy degree from an accredited institute. You can earn a social justice advocacy degree from a reputable institute online. These online programs develop the skills and expertise required to effectively bring social change, engage in community programs, and steer meaningful conversations concerning emerging issues.
The degree will help you work as a victim advocate in various settings, including government, private, and non-profit organizations, for social change.
2- Human Rights Advocate
Human rights advocates promote and protect the legal and human rights of individuals and communities. To excel at your job, you must have a degree in social justice and stay updated regarding human rights and the region’s laws to fight a legal battle. You will also be documenting and researching human rights violations, advocating for policy changes, raising awareness about injustice, and providing ongoing support to individuals.
You may also work with other legal experts and victims to review cases and track patterns of human rights. Likewise, being aware of national and international human rights trends, gathering reports, and proposing applicable legislation will be an indispensable part of your job.
You can work on specific issues that need more attention, such as the rights of black communities, people of color, LGBTQs, and freedom of speech for the oppressed.
You can work for non-governmental organizations (NGOs), international human rights organizations such as the United Nations, and grassroots movements. Working with these institutions can bring meaningful change to your society and community.
3- Civil Rights Lawyer
Civil rights lawyers defend the legal rights of groups and individuals who face discrimination, violence, and social injustice. They typically focus on the immigration rights of individuals, those with a disability, victims of gender inequality, and socially discriminated groups.
More than that, they fight to bring regulatory and policy changes regarding social injustice, actively advocate for oppressed communities’ rights, and engage in litigation. Civil rights lawyers can work independently with government and non-profit organizations or private firms dedicated to civil rights and social justice.
Civil rights lawyers can bring significant change in policies regarding the civilian and humanitarian rights of marginalized communities and social groups, shape legal precedence, and influence public policy under the law to minimize social intolerance in the future.
A degree in social justice and advocacy will help you pursue the path of civil rights. As per Zip Recruiter, the average annual salary of civil rights lawyers is $91,055, with an hourly rate of $44. However, it can vary depending on your state, industry, and sector. The private sector may pay more than non-profits and NGOs. You can also increase your earning potential based on skills, expertise, and years of experience.
4- Policy Analyst
Policy analysts focus on social justice issues and work to improve local and national human and civil rights policies. They can do so by working in international, federal, local, governmental, and non-government organizations, including think tanks. They stand a good chance of bringing social change in international, national, and local human rights, freedom, and equality policies.
Policy analysts must possess legal knowledge and expertise regarding policy changes, including the region’s existing laws and statutory regulations. They must also be skilled in research and analysis and discover trends in policy changes nationally or internationally. They’re also responsible for staying updated with economic changes, social concerns, political situations, and other changes that might impact social policy.
They use their expertise to spread awareness and influence public policy and political events. They also help update current policies per the evolving community needs and changes. They provide evidence-based recommendations to policymakers and act as a catalyst for introducing social reforms.
As per Indeed.com, public policy analysts earn an average annual wage of $77,155, which can go as high as $121,721 depending on years of experience, skills, geographic location, and industry.
Lobbyists work towards pushing or influencing certain policies to lawmakers and government officials that favor civil and human rights in specific causes and social issues. Lobbyists with a social justice degree are not lawyers but must be aware of the laws and current policies to effectively advocate for certain social groups to promote social justice and equity.
The role of lobbyists is similar to those of social workers advocating for victims and marginalized groups to fight for their rights on legal grounds. It means you will work in non-profit, government, advocacy groups, or grassroots movements. You will be researching and drafting advocacy campaigns to bring awareness regarding specific matters and build positive relationships with policymakers to drive systemic change.
You must possess effective communication, critical thinking, and research skills to analyze current policies and introduce viable and progressive policy changes. Lobbyists possess the power to build a more just and equitable society.
A social justice degree is highly effective in bringing social change in societies on international, national, and local levels. You can pursue a career in causes that you feel most passionate about.
You can become a civil rights lawyer, policy analyst, or lobbyist to introduce progressive policies that support the rights of marginalized and oppressed groups. Likewise, you can work in international organizations, government agencies, non-government or NGOs to positively impact and bring meaningful changes.