Careers in Social Justice

Social Justice Careers

Social justice careers concern themselves with bringing equity and opportunities to underrepresented groups or areas in terms of distribution of wealth, privileges, rights, and other opportunities. These jobs can be found with nonprofit organizations, international organizations, law firms, government organizations and research institutes.

Social justice careers focus on human and civil rights--things like gender equity, violence against women, war crimes, LGBTQA+ issues, indigenous rights, land rights and more.

If you are a person who wants to make an impact in your work, seeks to improve conditions for marginalized populations, or who simply wants to make change in the world, these might be great positions for you to explore.


Some job titles in social justice careers include:

  • Program officer
  • Social service worker
  • Lawyer
  • Policy analyst
  • Advocate
  • Lobbyist
  • Researcher
  • Victim advocate
  • Grant writer
  • Community developer


There are a broad range of skills you will need to be marketable in social justice careers as well.  Since you’ll most likely be working with a diverse group of people at a range of power levels, interpersonal skills, the ability to work with different kinds of people, determination and belief in your cause and strong written and verbal communications skills will be a necessity in any role.  Some other, potentially more targeted, skills might include:

  • Program development
  • Budgeting
  • Grant writing
  • Research and analysis
  • Statistics
  • Writing
  • Organization
  • Knowledge of law and policy


Certifications and Licensure

Licensure education and experience requirements vary by state, but to full practice as a social worker or clinical social worker, you must be licensed. A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in social work is required for licensure, then you may go on to complete licensure. Most states require a period of work experience or a specific number of practical hours.

  • Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker (LBSW)
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
  • Licensed Social Worker (LSW)
  • Licensed Master’s of Social Work (LMSW)


Career Resources


Majors and Concentrations

Many people want to focus their education into a career which provides positive impact for the greater good.  A majority of positions in social justice careers require at least a master’s degree, often in areas such as:

  • Social Justice
  • Human Rights
  • International Development
  • Political Science
  • International Affairs
  • Public Policy
  • Education Policy
  • Public Administration
  • Sustainability management

Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) and Juris Doctorate (JD) degrees are also options which give you choices in helping careers.


Jobs and Experiences

Most social justice careers are found in nonprofit and government sectors. Preparation in this field can lead to careers in legislative advocacy, politics, government service, human services, human rights and peace organizations, education, community organization, law enforcement and law.

There are often good ways to get involved in social justice in college—working for one of the life centers at your university, getting a part time job doing grassroots work with the Sierra Club, voting organizations, or political organizations, volunteer in community organizations, and in general, take courses in and educate yourself about privilege, social justice issues and marginalized populations.


Ohio State has a great list of organizations who hire in social justice areas, divided out by topic. Other organizations to check out are:

  • Southern Poverty Law Center
  • The Innocence Project
  • Affinity/Life centers at colleges and universities (Women’s Center, Center for Black Culture, LGBTQIA+ Center, Multicultural Student Center, etc.)
  • Children’s Defense Fund
  • Oxfam America
  • Women’s Law Project
  • Amnesty International
  • Greenpeace
  • Sierra Club

National Coalition on the Homeless