10 best career options for Native American college students

This article was originally published by Anita Jobb on College Recruiter.

Despite all the progress we’ve made as a society, disparities, and inequalities continue to exist, and educational opportunities for Native Americans are no exception. For many Native American students, finding a career that not only provides a good income but also aligns with their heritage and culture is important.

1. Healthcare Professional

Majors: Nursing, Pre-Med, Biology, Health Sciences

Healthcare is an ever-expanding field, with a constant need for professionals in various roles, including doctors, nurses, therapists, and healthcare administrators. Native American communities in particular often face a shortage of healthcare providers, so your work could make a significant difference. Biology and pre-medical studies are great for aspiring doctors, while nursing or health sciences can be ideal for those aiming for other healthcare roles.

2. Environmental Scientist

Majors: Environmental Science, Ecology, Biology

Native American culture places a strong emphasis on nature and the environment. Careers in environmental science align with this perspective, enabling individuals to work toward preserving our planet. By studying environmental science, ecology, or biology, students can prepare themselves for roles in conservation, resource management, environmental consulting, and more.

3. Lawyer

Majors: Pre-law, Political Science, Sociology

As a lawyer, one can play a crucial role in defending Native American rights and tribal sovereignty, dealing with issues such as land rights, water rights, and treaty obligations. A pre-law major is the most straightforward path, but political science or sociology can also provide a solid foundation, as they offer insight into societal structures and governance.

4. Social Worker

Majors: Social Work, Psychology, Sociology

Social work is a fulfilling career that allows individuals to provide essential services to their communities. Social workers can help address many of the social issues that Native American communities face, including poverty, addiction, and mental health problems. Studying social work, psychology, or sociology can provide the knowledge and skills needed for this role.

5. Education Administrator

Majors: Education, Educational Leadership, Administration

For those who have a passion for education and community building, becoming an education administrator could be the perfect choice. These professionals manage schools, school districts, or colleges, and can have a significant impact on educational policies. Education or educational leadership majors will provide the necessary knowledge.

6. Business Owner/Entrepreneur

Majors: Business Administration, Entrepreneurship, Economics

Entrepreneurship offers the flexibility and autonomy to create businesses that benefit and uplift Native American communities. Whether it’s a startup focused on Indigenous arts, a tech company, or a non-profit organization, the possibilities are endless. Studying business administration, entrepreneurship, or economics can equip students with the skills they need.

7. Cultural Anthropologist

Majors: Anthropology, Sociology, History

Cultural anthropologists study different cultures, traditions, and societies. This career could allow Native American students to explore, preserve, and educate others about their rich cultural heritage. Majoring in anthropology, sociology, or history can provide a solid foundation.

8. Tribal Leader/Politician

Majors: Political Science, Public Policy, Sociology

Native American communities need strong, knowledgeable leaders to advocate for them at the local, state, and national levels. By studying political science, public policy, or sociology, students can gain an understanding of policy-making, governance, and societal structures to effectively represent their communities.

9. Civil Engineer

Majors: Civil Engineering, Environmental Engineering

Civil engineers play a crucial role in designing, building, and maintaining infrastructure. For Native American students interested in the technical aspects of community building and environmental preservation, civil engineering could be a promising career path. Studying civil or environmental engineering would be essential.

10. Mental Health Counselor

Majors: Psychology, Counseling, Social Work

Mental health is a critical area in many Native American communities, and there’s a need for counselors who understand the cultural and societal nuances of these communities. As a mental health counselor, you can make a real difference in people’s lives. A major in psychology, counseling, or social work can prepare students for this important role.

By Alice Song
Alice Song Career Advisor