Schools Training

Empathy and Your Career

12 APR 2013
Career Path : Childcare

Empathy is the ability to understand another person’s feelings, including up to the point of receiving an emotional affect from it. Levels of empathy are not evenly distributed throughout the population. Characterized as everything from being soft hearted to being inherently kind, high levels of empathy can also be helpful to figuring out your correct vocational path. For example, you may be well suited to personal support worker courses (PSW) or working as an early childhood assistant.


Healthcare and caretaking roles may be a good fit because people are not necessarily at their best during stressful medical situations, while work with children strongly benefits from good empathy because communication is a crucial part of empathy based skills, and this is a key part of assisting in the emotional and mental development of a child. Medical support rolls, for example as a dental hygienist, are particularly focused on developing a good bedside (or chairside!) rapport, the sort of teaching you will commonly encounter in dental assistant schools.


A person with high levels of empathy is not necessarily and extravert.  Just as how intelligence can mean being a smart extraverted or a smart introverted person, empathy is simply the ability to perceive the emotions and motivations of others well. For example even if you find heavily social jobs exhausting (and you just might if you’re constantly picking up on other people’s feelings) your empathy can be a boon to people who interact with you in more introvert friendly fields. For example if you work in medical billing. PSW courses will let you find a people oriented job that will let you work in a group or one on one setting depending on your preferences or temperament.


How do you know if you have high levels of empathy? It will usually be very obvious by the interactions you have with people. However, for vocational purposes the Myers-Briggs or Big Five (OCEAN) test could give you more perspective onto yourself. This sort of career investment can be invaluable to making the right choice, which is why they are increasingly becoming a part of education centres from high schools to dental assistant schools.


Stressing you empathy in your job applications will also help you get hired in many professions. Coded in the right language, to talk about your sympathy and patience, employers are enthusiastic to hire someone with these essential people skills, whether you want to work as an early childhood assistant or an actuary. After all, even if you don’t work directly with the public or customers, you may end up being the glue that holds a strong team together during your time with a company.

Visit the National Academy of Health and Business for more information on PSW courses.