Rather than spending your workweek inside a cubicle, adventure lovers and nature enthusiasts might consider employment in the great outdoors. Having the opportunity to stretch your legs and experience the world around you is a benefit in and of itself. There are several opportunities—including high-paying ones—that allow just that. In this article, we outline the reasons why you should consider an outdoor job as well as some of the highest-paying opportunities.
Why should you work outdoors?
Working in an outdoor setting can be greatly beneficial for your well-being. Spending the day outside can increase your focus and overall creativity. It can also help alleviate stress. Opening the door to the outside world allows you to connect with the surrounding environment and provides you with the opportunity to recharge. This is often the boost you need to better perform at your job. Nature enthusiasts can find a great variety of outdoor employment options depending on their education and experience. Because of the numerous positions available, there's no shortage of high-paying outdoor positions, either.
High-paying outdoor jobs
Here are 10 available outdoor jobs that pay well:
1. Park ranger
National average salary: $14.05 per hour
Primary duties: The main responsibility of a park ranger is to conserve and protect natural outdoor areas. They typically work for the National Park Service and make sure all campers are following the designated rules and procedures as it pertains to the natural environments they're patrolling. Since their job involves human interaction, having good people skills is a great quality to have for a job in this field. Park rangers should also be able to work well under pressure should problems arise.
National average salary: $62,023 per year
Primary duties: Archeologists study and analyze the remains found at various historic and prehistoric sites to better understand past cultures. They're responsible for taking notes, images, measurements and gathering other types of information. Employees can expect to spend a large portion of their job outdoors during site digs and investigations. Archeologists must have a passion for research, photography skills and a general knowledge of history.
National average salary: $62,976 per year
Primary duties: Also known as zoologists, wildlife biologists study various animals and their interactions within the ecosystem. They're responsible for tracking their impact on both their surroundings and the world at large. They develop and conduct various studies, collect data, study wildlife and present their research findings. This job is well-suited for animal lovers of all ages. Aspiring wildlife biologists should know various wildlife and habits, enjoy research and be good communicators.
National average salary: $63,819 per year
Primary duties: Landscape architects are tasked with developing and executing the design plans for various buildings and public spaces. Along with preparing models, they also spend time meeting with clients. While landscape architects can be found in offices, they're often required at various job sites to ensure the building process is running smoothly. Having a great eye and attention to detail is an important trait for landscape architects to have.
National average salary: $70,098 per year
Primary duties: In a broad sense, geographers—particularly physical geographers—are responsible for studying nature and the earth. They use various tools to observe climate patterns, vegetation and water in hopes of understanding the world at large. They're also tasked with creating visual representations of geographic data and assisting and leading others in using the geographic information system. Geographers should have great communication and analytical skills.
National average salary: $76,750 per year
Primary duties: Construction managers are responsible for various building projects from start to completion. They also act as supervisors on these projects, ensuring that deadlines are met and that the project is staying true to the design. Most of their duties require them to remain outside on construction sites. To effectively manage their team, construction managers must be great team players, good communicators and remain calm under pressure.
National average salary: $77,723 per year
Primary duties: Employing their knowledge of the sciences, environmental engineers design projects and develop solutions to help various communities minimize waste and pollution. They aim to improve public health by collecting samples, creating strategies and implementing new, environmentally friendly living methods. Environmental engineers should have great problem-solving and interpersonal skills.
National average salary: $79,751 per year
Primary duties: This type of engineer is tasked with building, repairing and testing various ships, including submarines, yachts and tankers. They create blueprints, design engines and supervise the construction of various-sized vessels. Whether they work for the federal government or in the private industry, their fundamental responsibilities remain the same. Oftentimes, they might find themselves working with naval architects. Marine engineers should have an investigative nature, have great analytical skills and have a passion for working outdoors.
National average salary: $80,928 per year
Primary duties: Civil engineers design, build and supervise various public works, such as buildings and bridges. They're also responsible for supervising their team in the design process. While their designing duties require them to remain indoors, most of their time is spent monitoring the progress of various projects onsite. They should have great time-management skills, be effective leaders and great problem solvers. Civil engineers are in high demand, so there is no shortage of jobs available in this field of employment.
National average salary: $89,772 per year
Primary duties: Petroleum engineers design and develop methods for oil and gas extraction. Using their knowledge of mathematics, physics and geology, their job involves a lot of research and equipment design. Petroleum engineers spend time on drilling sites to ensure everything goes as planned. They should have good IT skills, be great problem solvers and analyzers, and have the capacity to work well within a team.