Career Paths For Empaths In The Working World

Medically reviewed by Arianna Williams, LPC, CCTP
Updated April 18, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team
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Empathy is the ability to feel another person's emotions or deeply understand what someone is going through. It often accompanies compassion and care. A person with high levels of empathy is often called an empath. Empaths are individuals who can be highly aware of the emotions of the people around them. If not managed, they might feel they take in the emotions of everyone around them, including strangers.

Empaths might feel sensitive to cruel jokes, the suffering of others, and conflicts on a daily basis. They may also wish to change the minds of others, make a difference in the world, or help people feel better. In some cases, these desires and urges can make empaths feel overwhelmed or experience distressing symptoms, such as fear, stress, or depression.

Empaths might experience more empathy, compassion, or sympathy than others. Finding a career that works for an empath can feel challenging. However, some careers may work well for someone who feels many emotions daily. 

Being an empath can be an advantage in many careers

Empathy could have positive and negative sides 

Having a high level of empathy can feel meaningful and challenging. Empaths might feel that they cannot "turn off" their empathy. These situations may cause stress. 

Empathy can be a positive attribute because it allows you to connect with the emotions of others and consider many sides to a situation. You may feel sensitive to pain or trauma and want to change the world to help others and yourself. These can be driving forces for many positive careers.

Potential careers for empaths

Below are a few potential careers for those who identify as empaths. 


A psychologist is a professional that can diagnose and treat mental health conditions and symptoms. They might also identify and work with behavioral issues. As there are many myths about mental health in society, empaths may thrive in a career where they can help others and teach about emotions in a professional field. 

Empaths might care about humanity, understand others, and try to put themselves in others' shoes. An empath is also known as a highly sensitive person because they can sense what the other individual is going through on a strong emotional level. They may feel empowered and happy when they can help or relate to others. These qualities may be beneficial for a therapist who works with sensitive individuals. 

Getty/Halfpoint Images

Social worker

Social workers often work in sensitive settings, such as humanities, non-profits, and outreach programs. These professionals may work with survivors of abuse, children, minorities, immigrants, refugees, or developing countries. As traumatic situations can be challenging for those involved, having a professional who feels empathetic and cares about the job can make a difference for those experiencing need. 


Empaths may be skilled teachers because they often understand their students' emotions. They may want to see their students succeed academically and emotionally. They might understand if there are emotional or behavioral challenges in the classroom.

Those working with young children as a teacher often study childhood development and psychology. Professors might have a Ph.D. in psychology or education. Teachers can impact the lives of their students in many ways, and an empathetic teacher might be remembered for a long time.  

Non-profit worker 

Non-profit organizations may work toward a specific cause, whether mental health, animal rights, education, environmental rights, or other humanitarian issues. Empaths may gravitate toward situations, companies, and organizations where they can help others, and many non-profit workers also have a degree in psychology or social work. 


Art is often connected to emotions and has proven benefits for mental health. Partaking in art might mean creating a piece that expresses how you feel or see the world. It could also help others by giving them something to relate to or smile about. 

Creative people might experience high levels of empathy. Their intense emotions could help them create vibrant, unique art that others are drawn to. 

Guidance or career counselor

If you don't want to be a teacher but enjoy working in an educational setting, being a guidance counselor or a career counselor might fit. You may work with people but won't be as responsible for direct care as a therapist or teacher. Your compassion might allow you to consider detailed responses when supporting students through their studies or goals. Students may feel nervous or afraid about their future. As a guidance counselor, you may offer support and understanding. 

Nurse or doctor

Studies show that empathy is essential in medical fields. If you have ever had a doctor that dismissed your symptoms, treated you as a number, or didn't listen to you, you may understand how it can feel challenging to meet with someone who doesn't take the time to practice empathy. 

Doctors and nurses can be empathetic by being open to their patients' experiences. They might work hard to offer responses and support to those they meet. Although these fields can be difficult, time-consuming, and stressful, some empaths may choose to pursue them to make a difference in the care patients receive. 


As an empath, you may feel driven to start your own business or organization, such as a non-profit or life coach. Being your own boss can allow you to make your own rules, set boundaries, and run your business ethically.

Empaths can work anywhere

If you're an empath, you don't necessarily have to limit yourself to the professions described above.

You can work anywhere that you feel passionate about. List your strengths and limitations and consider taking a career placement test to learn more about what fits your personality. 

Getty/Vadym Pastukh
Being an empath can be an advantage in many careers

Online counseling may help empaths

If you are an empath, you might experience difficulty setting boundaries with others because of your drive to help them. In these cases, learning about boundaries and healthy relationships in counseling might serve you. A therapist can provide coping mechanisms and help you practice self-care. 

Being an empath may feel overwhelming, scary, or confusing at times. You might find that you feel the best meeting with a therapist from afar. Online therapy allows individuals to get care from any location with an internet connection using a personal device. Additionally, online counseling has been proven as effective as in-person therapy for treating common mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. 

If you are an empath or an empathetic person looking for counseling online, consider signing up for a platform like BetterHelp, which allows you to connect with a counselor within 48 hours of signing up. 


Empathy is often considered essential for careers, relationships, and general life. However, it can also cause challenges when looking for a job. There are several career options that empaths might try. You can also consider speaking to a career counselor for further guidance or a psychologist if you want to discuss how empathy impacts you more profoundly.
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