14 Cool Outdoor Careers

The Great Outdoors

Now may seem an odd time to be picky about where you work. The job market is still limping along and probably will be for some time.  Yet, whether you currently have a job or are in the process of looking for one, it always helps to pinpoint your dream job and develop a strategy to make it there. So if you love the outdoors, there’s no reason why you should be stuck behind a desk for 40-50 hours a week. There are plenty of ways to earn a good living working outside the office. It may take some planning but where there’s a will, there’s a way. Here are some of the best outdoor jobs we could find. Photo Credit: Young in Panama


Botanist

Most of these jobs require a bachelors and sometimes masters in botany or the environmental sciences. According to the Botanical Society of America, there are a wide range of opportunities for botanists. You can work in a classroom as a professor, in a laboratory as a researcher or in the government sector. In each of these capacities, the botanist spends ample time studying plants outdoors and in greenhouses. Here are some job listings. Salary: The average salary is $58,000, though it varies from place to place in the country. Photo Credit: Orin Zebest


Wine Vineyard Jobs

I personally have been considering this kind of position ever since I saw the movie Bottle Shock (not a great movie, but still). Of course, a job on a vineyard is hard work, but if you’re into wine and like working with your hands, it’s not a bad life. Winejobs.com has a good list of current jobs so you can get a sense of what positions appeal to you. You can work as a cellar supervisor or in a tasting room (awesome). You can even work as a harvest intern, to get your start in the field. In this position, you will be responsible for “sampling, fruit sorting, crushing, pump-over and punch-down, pressing, additions, racking, barreling and maintaining the facility as clean/organized.” That’s better than a lot of other internships (here are some internship horror stories we recently wrote about.) Salary: Varies with position Photo Credit: john weiss


Skydiving Instructor

It’s a potentially dangerous profession but as MSN notes, these instructors don’t just get outdoors, they “get all the fresh air they can handle.” Salary: About $44,000 a year on average, though many skydiving instructors do get paid by the hour/jump Photo Credit: DuReMi


Cruise Ship Jobs

It probably goes without saying that you shouldn’t do this one if you are the type to get sea sick easily. But the great thing about working on a cruise ship is that there is a wide variety of positions. You can work in the casino, in the spa, as a salesperson or handling tech stuff. Check out the many job offerings with Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean. Salary: Varies with position Photo Credit: pmarkham


Coast Guard

Another way to spend time working by the water is to be a part of the U.S. Coast Guard. According to their official Web site, the Coast Guard employs civilians as well as those who have enlisted and completed training programs. The Coast Guard is hiring for hundreds of different jobs including aviation mechanics, boat operators and search and rescue personnel. Salary: According to one source, the average coast guard employee makes about $40,000 a year on average. For a more detailed estimate, broken down by position, check here. Photo Credit: qnr


Park Ranger

A quick search on Indeed.com yields dozens of Park Ranger openings across the country. There are also jobs offered through USAJobs.gov. Salary: The average salary is $54,000 Photo Credit: krossbow


Wildlife Rehabilitator

This is a job for animal lovers. Wildlife rehabilitators tend to work in areas where people and wild animals are more likely to interact with one another. According to one description of the job, “Paid positions can involve some or all of the following: feeding baby birds or mammals, assisting with fluid therapy and bandaging, supervising paid staff and/or volunteers, providing public presentations about animals and the environment, cleaning cages, maintaining databases on animals and/or members, fundraising, capturing and transporting injured wild animals, talking to concerned citizens who call with animal and environmental related situations, and more.” Salary: We found salaries in the low to mid $60,000 range. Photo Credit: mikebaird


Ski Instructor

If you have been fixated by the winter Olympics, maybe it’s a sign that you should consider working as a ski instructor. These positions are usually seasonal and require that you be certified, though we found a couple that did not require it. Remember, you’re basically getting paid to have fun. There are also plenty of opportunities to work in ski resorts, rather than on the slopes. Salary: $34,000 on average Photo Credit: moron noodle


Geologist

If you’re a science geek with a hunger for the outdoors, then maybe you should consider becoming a geologist. These scientists study the earth, both for environmental organizations and private companies whose business involves natural resources. The government is currently looking for a fair amount of geologists to fill various roles. Salary: About $50,000 in their first year with the possibility of earning close to $100,000 with enough experience. Photo Credit: Hitchster


Paramedics/EMT's

Not only does this job get you out of the office, but few jobs are likely to give you the same adrenaline rush and sense of doing good work for the world. These medical professionals need to get certified by taking a special course, and certain positions require additional training classes. Salary: Paramedics typically earn about $50,000 a year, while EMT’s earn closer to $40,000. Photo Credit: Adrian Miles


Best Buy's Geek Squad

This might sound like an odd choice at first but the members of the geek squad are basically technology special agents. It’s not outdoor work in the sense of hanging around forests and oceans, but it does get you out of the office, which is the most important point. As Askmen.com notes, it’s an easy transition for anyone currently working in IT to switch to this job. Salary: $26K according to SimplyHired.com and in the low to mid 30’s according to Glassdoor.com Photo Credit: cjc4454


Organic Farmer

Organic produce is in vogue these days, and with that, the demand for workers is high. Being an organic farmer is much like being a regular farmer, except you forfeit certain practices, like using many pesticides. According to Career Builder, “Whether they are fertilizing the land with raw product or harvesting goods, most time is spent outdoors to make sure everything runs smoothly.” Salary: $26,000 on average, according to Simply Hired, but salaries do vary widely Photo Credit: designmom.com


Photographer

It’s every kid’s dream job to snap pictures for National Geographic, but if you work as a photographer for any publication, even the smallest ones, you’ll be spending most of your time out of the office. Salary: $36,000 a year on average, but obviously, if you end up reaching the level of Annie Leibovitz, you can earn much, more more. Just try not to make the same money mistakes that she did. Photo Credit: Photos8.com


Writer

You don’t have to be a travel writer to work outside. Whether you’re a journalist, novelist or struggling poet, you can write anywhere, and perhaps the best place to do so is somewhere with a view of people and the world. Salary: Don’t ask. Photo Credit: dotbenjamin


Who's Hiring?

Every week, MainStreet offers you the heads up on who's hiring, not once, not twice, but three times. We include postings for full-time, part-time and telecommuting positions. To check out our previous Who's Hiring features, check here. Photo Credit: Kevin H.


Tweet alongside us

Wait! If you haven't already, now is a great time to follow us on Twitter. You'll get all of our most important stories, right as they publish. Follow us: twitter.com/mainstr Photo Credit: Mixy


Show Comments

Back to Top