10 In-Demand Jobs for Working Outdoors

Posted by on Tue, Jun 17, 2014
  • geographers at work
    1. Geographers
  • surveyor at work
    2. Surveyors
  • cartographer at work
    3. Cartographers
  • archaeologist at work
    4. Anthropologists and Archaeologists
  • Ship captain at work
    5. Captains, Mates, and Pilots of Ships
  • Cell tower repair
    6. Radio, Cellular, and Tower Equipment Installers and Repairers
  • Mason at work
    7. Masons
  • Athletic Trainer at work
    8. Athletic Trainers
  • paramedicsandemts
    9. EMTs and Paramedics
  • tennisplayers
    10. Coaches and Scouts




If you dislike concrete and glass separating you from the great outdoors, finding a job where you can work outside should be high on your to-do list.

Here’s the good news:

  • Outdoor jobs can be beneficial to your health since they tend to be less sedentary than indoor jobs.
  • People who love the outdoors experience the benefits of stress relief when they spend time in an outdoor environment.
  • Many jobs requiring outdoor work are growing at faster-than-average rates.

When you think about working a desk job, how does it make you feel? If it depresses you, you are not alone. There are many people who would rather be outdoors on any given day than in, regardless of how hot, cold, or rainy that day might be. As long as you are willing to protect yourself from the weather-related hazards of working outside, there are many health benefits associated with adding fresh air and sunshine to your job description. Outdoor workers generally avoid the weight gain and back pain that can go hand-in-hand with sitting behind a desk all day, as well as dodge computer-related hazards, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and eye strain.

Jobs for fishermen and park rangers typically spring to mind first when we think about working outdoors, but there are many other industries where employees can spend at least part of their time, if not all of it, outside.

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These 10 jobs are predicted to  grow at faster-than-average rates through 2022* and include opportunities to work outdoors. Each  job  has been paired with suggestions for free online courses you can take to help you gauge your interest in the field:

1. Geographers

Geographers study the various features of the earth and its inhabitants. The work can be local or global in scope and include phenomena such as political or cultural structures that relate to geography. Many geographers work for the federal government in office settings, but the job also requires fieldwork and travel.

  • How Much You’ll Earn$74,760
  • Education You’ll Need: Most positions for geographers require a master’s degree, although there is some entry-level work for geographers with bachelor’s degrees and training in geographic information systems (GIS).
  • How the Future Looks: Jobs for geographers are expected to grow by 35 percent through 2022, which is much faster than average.
  • Give It a Try: Courses in geography and statistics will help you find out what geographers learn.

2. Surveyors

Surveyors work with civil engineers, landscape designers, and urban and regional planners to establish correct land, water, and airspace boundaries for building and planning projects. Surveyors work outdoors in all types of terrain but also spend time in-office preparing documents.

  • How Much You’ll Earn: $56,230
  • Education You’ll Need: Surveyors need bachelor’s degrees in surveying or in related fields such as civil engineering or forestry. They must also be state-licensed and meet continuing education requirements.
  • How the Future Looks: Jobs for surveyors are expected to grow by 25 percent through 2022, which is faster than average.
  • Give It a Try: Learning about environmental law will help your career as a surveyor.

3. Cartographers

Cartographers measure, interpret, and analyze geographic information to create maps for political, cultural, educational, and other purposes. Although cartographers spend most of their time in offices, the job also requires them to do outside fieldwork.

  • How Much You’ll Earn: $57,440
  • Education You’ll NeedStudents interested in cartography should earn bachelor’s degrees in geography or cartography or a related field. Some states require cartographers to be licensed surveyors.
  • How the Future Looks: Jobs for cartographers are expected to grow by 21 percent through 2022, which is faster than average.
  • Give It a Try: Check out this course in Maps and the Geospatial Revolution if you think you’d like a career in cartography.

4. Anthropologists and Archaeologists

Anthropologists and archaeologists examine cultures, archaeological remains, and people’s physical characteristics around the world to learn about the origin and development of human beings. Fieldwork requires travel and time spent at archaeological sites. Anthropologists and archaeologists must spend time doing office work as well, particularly if they are also teachers.

  • How Much You’ll Earn: $57,420
  • Education You’ll Need: Anthropologists and archaeologists need master’s degrees at a minimum, and PhDs are required for many higher-level positions. Anthropologists and archaeologists with PhDs typically become university professors. An extensive amount of fieldwork is required to earn a PhD.
  • How the Future Looks: Jobs for anthropologists and archaeologists are expected to grow by 21 percent through 2022.
  • Give It a TryYou may find courses like Archaeology’s Dirty Little Secrets and A Brief History of Humankind to be interesting.

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5. Captains, Mates, and Pilots of Ships

Ship captains, mates, and pilots are all responsible for operating and maintaining various kinds of watercraft that take cargo and people over water. They travel along domestic or international routes, either inland in the Great Lakes and larger waterways of the United States or across oceans. Captains take overall command of a ship, while mates direct a ship’s operation when the captain is off duty. Pilots guide ships through harbors and waterways where local knowledge is necessary.

  • How Much You’ll Earn: $53,050
  • Education You’ll Need: Captains, mates, and pilots typically graduate from merchant marine academies and must receive credentials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
  • How the Future LooksJobs in the field of water transportation are expected to grow by 20 percent through 2022, which is faster than average.
  • Give It a Try: Brush up on your basic skills in humanities & social sciences and mathematics & physics.

6. Radio, Cellular, and Tower Equipment Installers and Repairers

Radio, cellular, and tower equipment installers and repairers install, repair, or maintain mobile or stationary radio transmitting, broadcasting, and receiving equipment and two-way radio communications systems used in cellular telecommunications, mobile broadband, ship-to-shore, aircraft-to-ground communications, and radio equipment in service and emergency vehicles. They may test and analyze network coverage.

  • How Much You’ll Earn: $48,380
  • Education You’ll Need: Employers often look for candidates who possess at least an associate’s degree in electronics or a minimum of three years on-the-job experience. Knowledge of computer programs and languages and other radio programming software is required, and industry certificates in specific areas are a plus (e.g., Doppler radar technician certificate)
  • How the Future LooksJobs for radio, cellular and tower equipment installers and repairs are expected to grow at a much faster than average rate through 2022.
  • Give It a Try: Try out courses in electronics and computer science to see if this field is right for you.

7. Masons

Masons lay bricks, blocks, and stones to build fences, walkways, and other structures. They must read blueprints, calculate material amounts, and work with mortar while making sure their structures are plumb, secure, and aesthetically pleasing.

  • How Much You’ll Earn: $44,950
  • Education You’ll Need:  Masons can learn by apprenticeships on the job, but technical colleges also offer 1- or 2-year mason programs.
  • How the Future Looks: Jobs for brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons are expected to grow by 40 percent through 2022, which is much faster than average.
  • Give It a Try: Courses in geometry and being able to work with your hands are pluses for masons.

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8. Athletic Trainers

Athletic trainers diagnose, treat, and help to prevent muscle and bone injuries in amateur and professional athletes. They work in schools and athletic facilities, both indoors and outdoors on athletic fields.

  • How Much You’ll Earn: $42,690
  • Education You’ll Need: Athletic trainers need to earn bachelor’s degrees, but master’s degrees are also common. Athletic trainers may also need state licenses or certification.
  • How the Future Looks: Jobs for athletic trainers are expected to grow by 30 percent through 2022, which is much faster than average.
  • Give It a Try: Courses in anatomy, physiology, and physics are all recommended for athletic trainers.

9. EMTs and Paramedics

EMTs and paramedics respond to calls for emergency medical assistance and work to stabilize patients before transporting them to hospitals. The work is physically demanding and sometimes involves life-and-death situations. EMTs and paramedics must be prepared to work in any kind of weather or terrain.

  • How Much You’ll Earn: $31,020
  • Education You’ll Need: EMTs and paramedics must complete formal training programs after graduating high school, as well as state certification. EMTs can perform basic life support, while paramedics train longer and can perform more medical functions. One becomes an EMT first, then a paramedic.
  • How the Future LooksJobs for EMTs and paramedics are expected to grow by 33 percent through 2022, which is much faster than average.
  • Give It a Try: Test your aptitude for emergency medicine with courses in Drugs and the Brain.

10. Coaches and Scouts

Coaches work with amateur and professional athletes to develop their skills. Scouts recruit new players. Sometimes coaches perform both functions. The job can require travel and may require more than 40 hours per week during the sports season, with work on weekends and holidays as required.

  • How Much You’ll Earn: $28,340
  • Education You’ll Need: Although a high school diploma is generally the minimum requirement, coaches and scouts with bachelor’s degrees who are certified to teach in certain subjects often have the best job prospects since many coaching positions are associated with schools. Coaches and scouts must have expert knowledge of their chosen sport.
  • How the Future Looks: Jobs for coaches and scouts are expected to grow 29 percent through 2029, which is much faster than average.
  • Give It a Try: Check out courses in nutrition and fitness.

(*Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics.)

What are some more outdoor jobs you would like to learn about?

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