Ditch the Desk: 12 Outdoor Careers That Will Make You Love Mondays Again

By Krystal Brown

Not everyone wants to work in an office every day. If you enjoy working outdoors in the fresh air, these 12 well-paying jobs may be for you.

Petroleum Engineer

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Petroleum engineers inspect and oversee federal oil and gas leases. They must travel onsite to the leases, which are often in remote areas, to inspect the drilling equipment and oil production process.

This work is critical to prevent oil spills and other disasters that could harm the environment around the drill site. Median pay of petroleum engineers is around $131,800 per year.


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Geographers study the interactions between human society and the physical world. To gather their data, they both travel to sites for direct or aerial observation and make use of Geographic Information Systems (or GIS).

This data can then be used to make maps, for environmental management, and to plan regional development. Depending on their specialty, geographers can earn around $76,000 per year.

Commercial Diver

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Commercial divers are underwater specialists. Depending on their specialty, some duties of underwater divers include welding, construction, marine salvage, and more. They are often employed by offshore oil rigs.

The work can be dangerous, but is a good choice for people who love the challenge of diving. The mean annual wage of commercial divers is around $85,000.


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Surveyors are responsible for measuring and determining property boundaries. The job differs from geographers because surveyors focus on individual properties rather than wide regions. This includes a physical on-site survey using specialized tools, as well as research into land titles and history. This data can then be used to support map making, construction, ecological restoration, and help resolve land disputes. Surveyors earn an average of $71,000.


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Arborists are specialists in tree care. Their duties include diagnosing, treating, and pruning trees in parks, residential areas, and urban environments.

If a tree is dying or located in a dangerous situation (such as near power lines), an arborist is called in to remove the tree safely. Certified aborists earn an average of $53,000.

Park Ranger

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Park rangers are a subsection of law enforcement that enforce rules and regulations at state and national parks. Their duties include public safety, operation management, and resource protection in the parks.

Interactions with tourists and the visiting public are common for park rangers, so someone pursuing this job should enjoy sharing the history and ecology of the park with the curious visitors. Park ranger salaries average $80,000 at larger parks.


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Foresters are responsible for sustainably managing forests and differ from arborists by managing the entire forest rather than individual trees.

Their duties cover a range of responsibilities including surveying timber for harvesting, collecting data on forests, habitat improvement, wildfire prevention, and planning/monitoring the growth of new seedlings. Foresters earn an average of around $75,000 per year.

Hunting/Fishing Guide

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If you have a passion for hunting or fishing, a job as a hunting guide is a great way to earn money doing what you love. A guide needs to have deep knowledge about the game species being pursued to help their clients enjoy a good hunt. Work as a guide is seasonal, and can earn as much as $57,000 depending on location.


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Linemen install and maintain overhead and underground power lines. They install lines to new construction, as well as locate and repair damaged parts of existing lines.

Linemen must be comfortable working outdoors in a variety of weather conditions, including after bad storms that can damage power lines. Linemen earn an average of $91,000 per year.

Golf Course Superintendent

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Golf course superintendents are responsible for overseeing the maintenance and management of golf courses. They need to have a good understanding of turf grass care and irrigation systems and be able to manage the day to day activities of groundskeepers.

They need to know how plan ahead and keep the course ready for golfers over the course of the season in their specific climate. Golf Course Superintendents can earn an average of $97,000 per year.

Disaster Program Manager

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Disaster program managers plan for and oversee the response to natural disaster such as hurricanes, wildfires, floods, and earthquakes. They need to be able to set up a base of operations near the disaster site and be able to organize relief and volunteers to safely bring relief to those in the disaster zone.

They can work for either the government, or for organizations such as the Red Cross. Disaster program managers earn an average of $82,000 per year.

Landscape Architect

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Landscape architects design landscaping plans for public and private landscapes. While part of the job includes drawing the plan on specialized software, a landscape architect will also spend time on the job site planning and overseeing the project.

A landscape architect needs to have an extensive knowledge of plants, as well as a good sense of aesthetics. Landscape architects can earn an average of $98,000 per year depending on location.