If you want to change the world in a meaningful and lasting way, you are probably going to have to get a college degree of some kind. The primary reason for this is that you will likely be passed over for opportunities in favor of other people with credentials. It doesn’t matter that they are not as skilled as you or as experienced as you. They have the pedigree that you lack. That means they will be able to get their foot in the door of opportunities for which you cannot even apply.

While the numbers are getting better, the fact remains that only an elite group of people have college degrees, let alone, terminal degrees. In fact, only about 13.1% have a Master’s, professional degree, or Doctorate. If you want to be heard and treated as an authority, you need to climb Mount Improbable and attain a higher, formal education.

That is not to say that you can’t be a change agent without a degree. There is plenty you can do that can help people in a crisis. You can start a podcast that speaks truth to power. You can raise money for children with cancer. And you can volunteer during times of disaster. But if you want your change to have the greatest impact and the broadest reach, formal education puts you in the best position. If you are in school or thinking about going back, consider the following fields where you could really make a difference:

Construction Management

Experts are needed in the field of construction management. If you can’t get into a classroom, you can get your Master’s in Construction Management online. Disaster relief is more necessary than ever during a time when it seems the planet is doing all it can to rid itself of humans in the most extreme ways available to it. But disaster relief is only the beginning.

When the immediate needs are met, the hard work of rebuilding begins. It is very hard work that takes a very long time. It also requires experts who know how to do construction in the most challenging parts of the world. This is not the same as working on a roofing team in a high-end suburb. This is advanced construction work that requires someone with an advanced education in the field. If you want to lend a hand, join an emergency construction team. If you want to change the world, get a Master’s in construction management.

Teach English in a Developing Nation

It doesn’t matter that English is not a particularly elegant language, or that few native speakers actually ever master the language. It also does not matter how unfair it is that English is the language of global commerce. Reality does not care about what is fair, only about describing the current state of the universe.

The harsh and unfair reality is that learning English is perhaps the single most important way people living in impoverished conditions in developing nations can rise above their circumstances. You can teach English in countries where it is not natively spoken and give people a leg up when it comes to employment. Many information outlets based in other countries require their writers to be fluent in English. Open the world of opportunity up to more people by teaching the language of commerce. You can change the world one conjugated verb at a time.

Pharmaceutical Research

We have a shortage of nurses due to the current health crises. Nurses are second responders that are very close to the action when help is needed. They deal with patients first-hand even more than doctors. They change the world one person at a time. But if you want to have an even bigger impact, go into pharmaceutical research and develop the drugs capable of curing people by the millions, and vaccines that can prevent illness by the billions. We will always need trained nurses. But we will need fewer nurses if we had more pharmaceutical researchers. If you are a freshman in college and still trying to figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life, try entering the life-changing business in such areas as construction management, teaching English, and pharmaceutical research. There has never been a time when these skills were needed more.