Contributed by Seth Fiegerman.
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, theres 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 theres a will, theres a way. Here are some of the best outdoor jobs we could find.
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 across the country.
2. Wine Vinyard Jobs
We personally have been considering this kind of position ever since we saw the movie Bottle Shock (not a great movie, but still). Of course, a job on a vineyard is hard work, but if youre into wine and like working with your hands, its 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. Thats better than a lot of other internships (here are some internship horror stories we recently wrote about.)
Salary: Varies with position.
3. Skydiving Instructor
Its a potentially dangerous profession, but as MSN notes, these instructors dont 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.
4. Cruise Ship Jobs
It probably goes without saying that you shouldnt 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 to choose from. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. Ski Instructor
If you have been fixated by the winter Olympics, maybe its 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, youre 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.
If youre 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 businesses involve 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.
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 EMTs earn closer to $40,000.
10. 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. Its 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, its 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 30s according to Glassdoor.com
Its every kids dream job to snap pictures for National Geographic, but if you work as a photographer for any publication, even the smallest ones, youll 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.