The Best Careers For People Who Want To Work Outside

The Best Careers For People Who Want To Work Outside

Photo: – bjornsphoto –

Indoor work is not for everyone. Some people need to move around frequently to be happy, others need to commune with nature, still others just don’t like cubicles or fluorescent lighting or the “somebody’s got a case of the Mondays” culture.

Fortunately, the Bureau of Labour Statistics has got you covered. In the agency’s Career Outlook, economist Elka Torpey has examined the data and compiled a list of jobs for people who love being outdoors. (Note: While the article is aimed at US workers, most if not all of the jobs listed have an Australian equivalent.)

Torpey notes right off that the category of “jobs that allow for some outdoor time” is a pretty broad one. Do you picture yourself on a roof all day? Saving lives in an ambulance? Captaining a ship? There are outdoor jobs for all interests, pay grades, and education levels, and even variations for exactly how much time you want to spend outside:

If you’re a tree-trimmer, you’re going to be outside a lot; if you’re a civil engineer, I’m guessing there’s some amount of desk-bound work.

You can break down the professions by “outdoors with people” (which is obviously not going to work for someone who pictures himself wandering the heath, alone) or “outdoors on the water” (derrick operator, ship engineer), or “outdoors in the woods” (conservation scientist, faller).

This is all useful data, and it’s especially helpful for coming up with ideas for careers that simply aren’t on your radar – like surveyor, a field I completely forgot about. But if you’re counseling a young person on selecting a career, or considering a given job for yourself, no amount of data replaces interviewing or shadowing someone already working in that business.

The first BLS graph indicates that the “leisure and hospitality” sector employs a lot of people and is projected to grow by 2024, but I can say from my own experiences in the hospitality business that many of those jobs are fine for young people but can be tricky for older folks wanting a stable, life-long career.

Finally, if you’re a city person but also an outdoors person (they exist!) you can still find some options, from mail carrier to line installer and repairer. In short, if you want to be hacking at dead tree limbs or breeding animals, or yes, striding across a heath all alone, there’s a job for you.

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