A Guide to the Many Human Rights Careers

We’ve seen a significant increase in human rights activism in the United States in the past year, but even in this country that’s based on freedom and equality, we still have some way to go before we truly achieve equity for all people. Still, great strides have been made over the years, and plenty of people are fighting every day to make this dream a reality. While part of human rights activism does mean organizing demonstrations and protests, those are hardly the only ways that activists combat human rights abuses.

You can support human rights in a wide variety of career paths including as a legal officer, an entrepreneur who runs a company dedicated to human rights, a campaign organizer, and much more. Regardless of how you choose to fight the war, you can know that you’re doing your part for the betterment of all. Here are just a few of the more common human rights career paths and what you can expect if you pursue them.

Human Rights Lawyer


A human rights lawyer is an attorney who provides legal counsel to victims of human rights violations, as well as victims of any form of persecution or abuse. A human rights litigator is on the front lines of the fight to protect marginalized groups around the world. Those interested in this career path can learn a great deal from Malliha Wilson and the example she’s set with her work.

Malliha Wilson is a litigator of Tamil descent who has fought for her people and the rights of other minorities throughout Canada and the rest of the world. She currently runs her practice, Nava Wilson LLP, in Toronto, Ontario, and she has previously served as the assistant deputy attorney general for the Ontario government. She is known as a living example of how minorities can accomplish their career goals, and she has always kept sight of her passion for human rights, even with all her success.

If you’d like to be an attorney like Malliha, you’ll naturally need a law degree, and you’ll need to earn up to a Juris Doctor degree in order to litigate particularly sensitive cases. You’ll also need to pass the bar exam once your studies are complete to actually practice law.

Human Rights Educator


In the context of human rights, an educator is someone who empowers other people with the tools and ability to change the world for the better. These educators teach their students how to uphold and fight for their own rights, as well as the rights of others. They also create safe spaces that encourage diversity and inclusion, so everyone’s voice can be heard.

An educator in this field will generally have an advanced degree (master’s or higher) in education and designing human rights courses. These may include courses on education improvement, building anti-racist spaces, and educational inclusion.

Human Rights Interpreter


Interpreters are, essentially, translators for international human rights causes and organizations. They’re needed to bridge the gap between cultures and break down language barriers that would otherwise prevent clear, constructive communication. Interpreters will, naturally, need an extensive vocabulary in multiple languages, and they will often translate multiple communications simultaneously. Those interested in this career path will at least require a bachelor’s degree in a field related to interpretation and communications.

You’re likely noticing a theme here: human rights career paths generally require an extensive college education. You can make sure you get started on the right foot by searching “college help near me.” You can find resources that will match you with the right college counselor for your needs, and they’ll help you come up with an academic plan that suits your interests and gets you ready for the career of your choice. They’ll also help you with your college application process, including your application essay. Take your first step toward your rewarding new career today.