Most of us have had a job or two throughout our employment history that we just weren’t too proud of. For some of us, that’s just fine. If the job pays well enough, we’ll just about do anything. For many other people though, just getting a pay check isn’t sufficient. For these people, here is a list of the top jobs you can get that will pay the bills AND let you feel good about yourself.

1. Teacher

I know what you’re thinking: you just said these jobs will pay the bill. First, let me establish that teaching – while being extremely hard work – will give you the opportunity as much as any profession to contribute to society and better the world as a whole. For that reason alone, it warrants being on this list. Plus, in many parts of the country, teachers do make a decent wage. And in many subjects (math and science particularly) pay range is increasing steadily. What’s more, if you have a graduate degree or two under your belt then the compensation can start looking very pretty.

Top Jobs for Personal Satisfaction

2. Nurse/Physician’s Assistant

Nursing jobs are one of the most in-demand jobs out there. With the baby-boomer generation near retiring, nursing jobs are going to continued to be sought after and are going to continue to receive competitive pay. Jobs in nursing also provide you with everyday opportunities to care for someone and regularly to save lives. Nothing will make you feel satisfied with your own life more than saving somebody else’s.

3. Fitness Trainer/Aerobics Instructor

Jobs for aerobics instructors and fitness trainers are expected to increase quite a bit between now and 2012. These jobs can pay as much as $26/hr. Not a bad scale for someone paid to be as physically fit as possible and for telling other people how fat they are. Of course, it helps if you also tell them how to lose that fat and feel better about themselves. All of this will, in turn, contribute to you feeling good about yourself.

Top Jobs for Personal Satisfaction

4. Veterinarian

Anymore, people seem to put almost as much time and affection into their pets as they do their own children. You’ll receive deserved praise and admiration for keeping these pets happy and healthy – not only from the owner but also from the adorable puppy or kitten. Add to that over $50K/year starting salary and being a veterinarian can be a very appealing option.

5. Fire Fighter

It’s hard to make a whole lot of money as a fire fighter unless you have twenty or so years of experience, but that doesn’t stop it from being an attractive job. It’s another of those jobs where you regularly get to save lives (people and treed cats). It also has the appeal of being extremely sexy. Fighting fires keeps you in excellent shape and will more than fulfill your need for adventure.

Top Jobs for Personal Satisfaction

6. Clergy

Regularly topping the list of jobs with extremely high job satisfaction, being a church pastor definitely has something to it. Of course it isn’t for everyone, but if you’re a good public speaker with a lot of religious zeal, you could sure do a lot worse. Clergy also regularly get their pay check in addition to the church paying for most of their living expenses.

7. Medical Scientist

Any job that requires eight years of college should provide quite a bit of satisfaction and matching pay. Medical scientists have the added bonus of knowing that they’re tackling some of the toughest questions known to man. And most of these questions deal with increasing the quality of life for the general population.