Do you hate being trapped in a cubicle, staring at a computer screen and typing numbers all day? Let me answer that for you: yes, yes you do, every single human being does. In fact, there’s a huge number of people who hate these indoor jobs so much that they’ll do anything to work outside, constantly exposed to fresh air and nature.
Of course, finding outdoor jobs that pay well isn’t exactly easy, especially in today’s economy, but it’s far from impossible.
Now, if you’re strapped for cash, but want to be in the great outdoors as often as possible, you’ve come to the right place. This article will cover 10 different outdoor jobs that pay well and that can benefit you in many other ways. Granted, there are plenty of other outdoor jobs out there, but if you want that salary boost, you might want to take these professions into consideration.
Why an Outdoor Job, Anyway?
Believe it or not, people don’t just look for outdoor jobs that pay well.
In fact, according to the Outdoor Participation Report from 2017, close to 50% of Americans have participated in at least one outdoor activity. And most of the activities listed in the report, like hiking and jogging, are hobbies that don’t earn you any money. If you look at the volunteering reports from the EU in 2013, you’ll see that the favorite volunteering sectors are actually sports and outdoor activities.
So, what does all of this have to do with getting a job? Well, it’s simple — even if the activity pays them nothing, some people will still choose to do it because it takes place outside.
There are lots of potential benefits to working outdoors. Let’s list a few:
• You get a health boost
• You get to meet a lot of new people when out in the field
• Your psychological and mental wellbeing will increase
• You get a chance to escape your four walls, which improves your level of happiness
• Your job will be less stressful than an office gig
• You’ll be happier and more content with yourself
There are, of course, some setbacks with these types of careers. For example, you can always get hurt when outside, and the chances of being robbed or attacked also increase. However, if you’re talking about health benefits, there’s no denying that an outdoor job should be your priority.
List of Outdoor Jobs that Pay Well
1. Construction and Building Inspector
What could be better than working in a dull, grey building? Well, how about working ON a dull, grey building?
As a construction or building inspector, your job would be to…well, inspect buildings during and after construction. No matter how large the building might be, an inspector’s job is to oversee the project and check if everything is done by the book.
The cool thing about being a building inspector is that you get to visit different locations and inspect various buildings. You’re never bored when you’re out, and you get to check if everything is in order.
To become an inspector, you don’t need anything more than a high school degree. However, you will need to acquire a license, and professional experience is a must. In terms of earnings, the average yearly income of a building inspector in 2019 was $63,150.
2. Buyers and Purchasing Agents (Farm Products)
Agriculture today is just as important as it was thousands of years ago. Producing and trading food is the backbone of any society, as it’s directly responsible for keeping the nation alive and healthy.
Of course, harvesting crops and picking produce is just one part of modern agriculture. Right now, buyers or purchasing agents are an integral part of growing and distributing farm products. For instance, an average purchasing agent would sell important farming equipment to help the farmers get the best yields.
Moreover, a typical buyer would either buy and resell raw goods or have them processed before eventually selling them.
Granted, a skilled agent can do all of this work from their office. However, most of these agents prefer working outside, where their job allows them to visit agricultural sites directly. There, they can discuss the yield with the producers and see how everything is growing.
On average, a purchasing agent earns a yearly income of $63,910, which is slightly more than a building inspector makes. Aside from previous farming experience, you’ll need one of the following to become a purchasing agent:
• A bachelor’s degree in agriculture
• The same degree in agricultural production
• The same degree in animal science
• A degree in a business or a commodity field.
3. Zoologists, Wildlife Biologists
A typical zoologist can pursue various careers. Some work in zoos or wildlife reserves, taking care of animals. Others study diseases and animal genetics to better understand them and be able to help them. The majority of them spend a lot of time studying animals in the wild, figuring out the best ways to keep them in captivity for further research.
If there was a downside to being a wildlife biologist, it would be the long hours you’d have to spend out in the field. You would have to observe the animals, jot down anything they do, and analyze the habitat they live in. However, most zoologists love animals and don’t mind being outside for that long, even under cruel weather conditions.
If you plan on doing some animal research, you’ll need a Ph.D. in either biology or zoology. However, regular gigs at the wildlife centers and zoos only require a bachelor’s or a master’s degree. Once you get your job, you will be earning $67,760 every year. That’s quite the sum of money that matches the biologist’s love of animals.
4. Conservation Scientists, Foresters
A conservation scientist might sound like a narrow profession with little room to ‘spread out,’ so to speak. However, typical foresters cover a wide range of activities, including:
• Inventorying standing timber
• Selling acreage of varying size
• Tree thinning
• Improving foresting and lumber conditions
• Opening or closing access to wooded areas
• Making recommendations on timber inventories
• Designating areas which need to be conserved
• The connections that the trees have with other elements (soil, wildlife, wetlands, water)
• Regulation compliance
• Fire prevention
Being a forester is the perfect job for anyone in tune with nature. You get to visit wooded areas and spend time among the trees, with fresh air and next to no pollution around you. More importantly, you also get to conserve the forest and contribute to saving this planet.
Each year, a forester can earn an average of $65,320. Your academic level doesn’t need to be high in order to get this job. You’ll simply need a bachelor’s degree in forestry or other similar fields.
5. Landscape Architects
Finding the proper landscape architect can mean the difference between a lackluster space and an area that everyone in the city wants to visit. Everyone, both rich and otherwise, is clamoring to hire an expert in this field and they are ready to pay large sums of money for their services. But what exactly does a landscape architect do?
Generally speaking, landscape architects work on creating the best possible space. They can design areas such as parks, college campuses, plazas, trails, golf courses, and streetscapes. Their typical working day usually includes one or more of the following:
• Master planning
• Site planning
• Landscape design
• Project management
• Plan implementation
Of course, the beauty of this position is that you spend most of it outside. You get to talk to clients directly, survey the space, and plan on-site.
Landscape architecture is extremely well-paid. On average, a landscape architect can earn as much as $73,160 on a yearly basis. In order to become a professional landscape architect, you might need a degree. However, there are other, more important elements you will need, such as:
• Hands-on experience
• A license from a state or an industry
6. Environmental Scientists and Specialists
Careers in environmental science have become extremely important in the past few decades. With pollution becoming a major issue, various companies require these specialists to help them improve. These specialists can instruct the companies on how to lower their carbon footprint and change their business practices, among other things.
Typically, a scientist would be outdoors, collecting evidence from the soil, air, and water. In addition, they would study the history of the area in order to make the proper recommendations on future environmentally-friendly action. It’s a job that requires lots of on-field work, which is perfect for anyone who needs a bit of fresh air and leg-stretching.
In order to become a scientist, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in one of the following disciplines:
• Environmental science
Just like landscaping architecture, this branch of science can earn you a lot of money. If you were to find work in this field, you can expect to make, on average, a yearly sum of $77.580.
7. Environmental Engineers
An environmental scientist has to investigate if any potential pollution hazard exists in a community. On the other hand, an environmental engineer has to work hard on either preventing the damage from happening or mitigating the effects of a hazardous event.
Even more so than the scientists, engineers spend most of their working hours outdoors. For example, they would go from site to site and discuss potential ways of preventing any natural hazards with local government or private companies. In addition, they will handle any damage mitigation on-site, including:
• Pollution control
• Site remediation
• Waste treatment
Some of the most creative activities you can do as an engineer is to observe the location and figure out how to solve a potential problem. Of course, this job can be quite stressful, especially if you have to handle an area that had just been polluted or had suffered a natural accident.
The average yearly income of an engineer is huge, at $92,640. But interestingly enough, you don’t need a fancy degree to become an engineer. A bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering would be enough. But if you have the same degree in either chemical, civil, or general engineering, you’re also likely to get the job.
8. Marine Engineers, Naval Architects
Do you love the open sea and everything related to it? Are you a builder at heart that wants to make a ship just like the sailors of olde, ready to sail across the ocean and either carry precious cargo or serve as a commercial cruise to millions? If so, you might want to consider the career of a marine engineer or a naval architect.
A marine engineer will have to look at multiple different details when designing a boat or a ship. These include:
• Various ship components and how they fit
• The design of the vessel
• The aesthetics of the vessel.
Of course, the coolest part isn’t designing or building the boat itself. Some companies actually want you to test the product out, so you’ll probably find yourself on a lake or a beach, giving your creation a test-drive (or rather, a test-sail). It’s an awesome way of spending some time outdoors in a marine or freshwater environment.
An annual income of $98,970 makes this one of the most sought-after outdoor jobs that pay well. However, in order to become a naval architect, you will need at least a bachelor’s degree in marine engineering or naval architecture.
A geoscientist studies the physical aspects of our planet. This is one of the most important outdoor jobs that pay well simply because our economy depends on it. Namely, a typical geoscientist is responsible for finding the best spots to extract coal, oil, natural gas, or various minerals.
Because of the nature of the job, you can expect to spend a lot of time outdoors. You’ll be surveying the soil and the terrain, finding the best location for digging, as well as the best way of doing it safely. But as a geoscientist, you don’t have to limit yourself to locating fossil fuels. If you connect to a public agency or a private company, you can study other aspects of the earth, such as the local seismic activity.
You can get a job as a geoscientist with either a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in environmental sciences. Of course, all that will be irrelevant if you don’t do a good job, since a job well done by a geoscientist can earn them $107,800 annually.
10. Architectural and Engineering Managers
Building a skyscraper from the ground up requires lots of sturdy, surefooted builders with lots of experience. However, managing the project and keeping everything in check is key, and that’s where architectural and engineering managers come in.
With an average of $148,970 earned per year, this is one of the most lucrative outdoor jobs that pay well. And considering you only need a bachelor’s degree in engineering, you might want to give this career choice a good once-over.
Usually, an engineering manager would be directly on-site for the majority of their workday. They would survey the work, micromanage the details, plan everything out, allocate people, equipment, and resources whenever needed, and maintain morale among the builders. It might not be a job that pays well AND gets you into the forest, but it’s still an amazing alternative to working in an office.
Outdoor Jobs That Pay Well: Conclusion
So there you have it. This list of 10 outdoor jobs that pay well contains some of the most sought-after professions that will keep you on your feet, out and about. Granted, not all of them take place in the woods or by the lakeside. But they will still have you working outside, away from the musty air of an office cubicle and amid fresh air and pure sunlight.