Ditch the Desk: 20 Outdoor Jobs That Pay Well

Do you find yourself daydreaming about a career that lets you escape the monotony of the office and immerse yourself in nature? There are plenty of outdoor jobs that pay well; you just need to know where to look.

As an avid traveler who has always found nature thrilling, I couldn't help but look into some careers that would appeal to my love of the outdoors. Through vigorous research, I compiled a list of these types of jobs I wish I had known about sooner!

So, whether you're an adventurer seeking a thrill or a nature lover looking to make a difference, this list will hopefully help you discover some exciting career options that allow you to leave that desk behind.

From forestry technicians to outdoor educators, these jobs let you spend your days exploring and experiencing the beauty of nature. Why not turn your passion for the outdoors into a lifestyle? If that sounds enticing, here are 20 outdoor jobs worth considering. 

1. Wildlife Biologist

Older Couple
Image Credit: Hillebrand Steve, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Average Salary Per Month: $5,096

Wildlife biologists are professionals who study and protect the planet's varied animal life. Their work involves exploring animal populations, habitats, behaviors, and conservation requirements. 

One of the most remarkable aspects of this occupation is the opportunity to work outdoors with breathtaking natural environments, ranging from dense rainforests to isolated savannas. These committed scientists are instrumental in maintaining the balance of ecosystems and endangered species, ensuring the continuity of life for future generations.


  • Education: A bachelor's degree in wildlife biology, zoology, ecology, or a related field is usually the minimum educational requirement for entry-level positions. 
  • Field Experience and Practical Skills: Hands-on fieldwork experience and practical skills in studying wildlife species and habitats are typically required for entry-level positions. This can include internships, volunteering, or graduate work.

2. Park Ranger

Online National Parks Junior Ranger Program
Image Credit: California State Parks.

Average Salary Per Month: $3,473 

People highly respect park rangers for their dedication to preserving natural treasures. They enforce park rules, manage vast natural landscapes, and safeguard the environment. Additionally, they foster a deep connection between people and nature and create educational programs and engaging experiences.

If you take up this career path, your responsibilities may include managing terrestrial, marine, and island parks, fire incidents in the area, and wildlife and visitor safety. 

Being a park ranger is a fulfilling career and a well-paying one. The substantial compensation the position offers recognizes the vital role in maintaining the beauty and integrity of our forests and conservatories.


  • Education: A bachelor's degree in park management, natural resource management, environmental science, forestry, biology, or a related field is often required. Some positions might accept candidates with an associate degree or relevant experience instead of a bachelor's degree. Advanced positions or specialized roles may require a master's degree in a related field.
  • Field Experience: Fieldwork experience through internships, volunteer work, or part-time jobs in park management or conservation is valuable. 

3. Environmental Engineer

Female environmental engineer working outdoors
Image Credit: Thanakorn.P / Shutterstock.

Average Salary Per Month: $6,033

Environmental engineering is a critical field that combines engineering principles with a focus on protecting the planet's health. These engineers design, develop, and implement systems for managing and cleaning municipal water supplies and addressing concerns such as waste treatment, site remediation, and pollution control technology.

They advise corporations, government agencies, and other interested parties about environmental issues, including procedures for cleaning up contaminated sites, and provide technical support for environmental remediation projects and legal actions. 

By working as an environmental engineer, you can make a difference in protecting the environment. With the increasing demand for clean water and sustainable practices, the role of environmental engineers remains vital in our society today.


  • Education: A bachelor's degree in environmental engineering, civil engineering, chemical engineering, or a related field is typically required for entry-level positions. Some roles or specialized positions may require a master's or Ph.D. in environmental engineering.

4. Landscape Architect

Woman working as landscape architect.
Image Credit: Pixel-Shot / Shutterstock.

Average Salary Per Month: $6,097

The demand for skilled landscape architects has increased in recent years as people have become more interested in creating sustainable and beautiful outdoor spaces. In addition to designing parks and gardens, landscape architects work on larger projects such as public plazas, waterfronts, and campuses. 

If you possess both technical knowledge and artistic skills, with this profession, you can create functional and aesthetically pleasing outdoor spaces. Due to the specialized nature of the work, landscape architects can often command high salaries, making it a desirable career path if you love the outdoors.


  • Education: A bachelor's or master's degree in landscape architecture from an accredited program is typically required. A bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement for entry-level positions, while a master's degree may be necessary for advanced roles or specialized practice areas.
  • Certifications and Licenses: Landscape architects must be licensed in most states in the U.S. after completing an accredited degree program, gaining relevant work experience through internships or apprenticeships, and passing the Landscape Architect Registration Examination (LARE). Certification from the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards (CLARB) may also be necessary for licensure and demonstrating professional competency in the field. 

5. Geologist

Woman working as geologist.
Image Credit: Pornpimon Ainkaew / Shutterstock.

Average Salary Per Month: $4,721

Geology is one of the highest-paying fields in the natural sciences. Geologists earn high salaries due to the critical nature of their work, which involves identifying and assessing valuable natural resources such as minerals, oil, and gas.

As a geologist, you will work to understand the history of our planet. The better you understand Earth’s history, the better you can foresee how past events and processes might influence the future.

Additionally, geologists enjoy many benefits, including flexible work hours, travel opportunities, and the chance to work on projects that positively impact the environment.


  • Education: A bachelor's degree in geology, earth sciences, or a related field is typically the minimum educational requirement. Some entry-level positions may accept candidates with a bachelor's degree, but higher-level roles or research positions often require a master's degree or Ph.D. in geology. 

6. Forest Ranger

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Average Salary Per Month: $3,277

Forest rangers are essential for maintaining the ecological balance of forests, which often include national parks. They protect and manage them while defending against wildfires and overseeing recreational activities. This profession is perfect for those with a deep love for nature and a passion for preservation.

Forest rangers spend most of their time outdoors, making it one outdoor job that pays well and provides an unparalleled connection to nature.


  • Education: A bachelor's degree in forestry, environmental science, biology, natural resource management, or a related field is often required to start a career as a forest ranger. Coursework covers forest ecology, conservation, wildlife management, and land use planning. Some positions may require a master's degree for more specialized roles or advancement.
  • Experience and Skills:  Hands-on experience in forestry, park management, or wildlife conservation through internships, volunteer work, or part-time jobs is beneficial. 

7. Archaeologist

Man working as geologist
Image Credit: Frame Stock Footage / Shutterstock.

Average Salary Per Month: $ 5,480

Archaeology can be an excellent outdoor job that pays well. Since fieldwork plays a significant role in the job, archaeologists get to explore historical sites, excavate and analyze artifacts, and learn about past civilizations firsthand.

They are scientists who study people and cultures. Their goal is to learn more about human histories and experiences. Archaeologists investigate the physical traces of human activities, sometimes called material culture.

The experience of working in the field can be enriching, as it allows you to travel to different locations and gain a deeper appreciation for the world's history.


  • Education: A solid educational foundation is crucial. Most in this field hold a bachelor's degree in archaeology, anthropology, history, or a related field. Advanced positions or research roles often require a master's degree or Ph.D. in archaeology, specializing in classical archaeology, prehistoric archaeology, or underwater archaeology. 
  • Field Experience: Hands-on experience using excavation techniques, survey methods, and documentation procedures is needed for most positions. This can be in the form of graduate work, an internship, or volunteering.

8. Marine Biologist

Green sea turtle
Image Credit: National Marine Sanctuaries, Public Domain/Wiki Commons.

Average Salary Per Month: $ 3,659

Marine biology is a lucrative and fulfilling outdoor job that pays well. These professionals specialize in studying ocean ecosystems and marine life and conducting research on conservation and environmental impact assessments.

Marine biologists study all marine life, from whales to plankton and seawater. They are concerned about how human activities like commercial shipping, recreational boating, and pollution affect marine life. Additionally, they suggest ways to reduce or prevent these impacts to protect our oceans and inhabitants.

With a growing concern for the health of our oceans, there is an increasing demand for skilled marine biologists who can contribute to protecting and preserving marine environments. This an excellent choice for those passionate about marine life and conservation.

Working as a marine biologist may require the following:


  • Education: A bachelor's degree in marine biology, biology, zoology, oceanography, or a related field is usually the minimum educational requirement. 

9. Surveyor

Surveyor working at job site.
Image Credit: APChanel / Shutterstock.

Average Salary Per Month: $ 5,628

As a land surveyor, your primary responsibility is to measure and map the Earth's surface. This career involves working on various construction and development projects. You'll spend much time outdoors, using advanced tools and equipment to gather accurate data and create detailed maps. 


  • Education: A bachelor's degree in surveying, geomatics, or a related field is often required to pursue a career as a land surveyor. Additionally, aspiring surveyors must obtain a license to practice. Licensing requirements vary by region but typically involve passing the Fundamentals of Surveying (FS) exam after completing a relevant degree and gaining supervised work experience. After passing the FS exam and gaining the necessary work experience, candidates can take the Principles and Practice of Surveying (PS) exam to become fully licensed.
  • Experience and Training: Most licensing boards require candidates to work under the supervision of a licensed surveyor for a certain number of years (typically around four) to gain hands-on experience in the field. 

10. Outdoor Adventure Guides

St. Lucia Zipline
Image Credit: Rainforest Adventures.

Average Salary Per Month: $2,822

These professionals lead people in various activities such as hiking, rock climbing, and rafting. Their expertise in outdoor skills and safety ensures everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience.

These guides advise on safety measures and ensure activities are conducted to minimize risk. As an outdoor adventure guide, you must answer questions and advise on local interest points within a specific region.


  • Skills and Experience: Extensive experience and proficiency in outdoor activities such as hiking, rock climbing, camping, kayaking, mountaineering, or specific adventure sports are fundamental. Guides should possess solid navigational skills, wilderness survival knowledge, and the ability to manage risks in outdoor environments. 
  • Certifications: A comprehensive understanding of first aid, CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation), and wilderness medicine is crucial for ensuring the safety of participants during outdoor excursions.

11. Fishing and Hunting Guide

Fishing in Blue Ridge, Georgia
Image Credit: Georgia Department of Economic Development.

Average Salary Per Month: $3,033

Fishing and hunting guides typically have extensive knowledge of local waterways, wildlife, and ecosystems. In this career, you might provide clients with gear and equipment or help them select and purchase their own.

Guides also ensure that clients follow local laws and regulations related to fishing and hunting. In addition to leading expeditions, guides may provide instruction on fishing and hunting techniques and safety tips. 


  • Hunting and Fishing Experience: In-depth knowledge and experience in hunting and fishing are essential qualifications for guides. They should comprehensively understand various hunting and fishing techniques, local wildlife behavior, seasons, regulations, and habitats. Experience gained through personal hunting and fishing pursuits and a deep understanding of the region's ecosystems is helpful.
  • Certifications and Licenses: Hunting and fishing guides often need relevant certifications and licenses to operate legally. This can include state-specific hunting or fishing guide licenses, CPR and first aid certifications, and other credentials required by local authorities or governing bodies. Guides must comply with all applicable regulations and possess the necessary permits to lead hunting and fishing expeditions.

12. Agricultural Manager

Farmland Is a Strong Investment in Uncertain Times
Image Credit:
PeopleImages.com – Yuri A & Shutterstock

Average salary per month: $4,149

As an agricultural manager, your primary responsibility is to oversee the cultivation of crops and livestock, ensuring that farms operate efficiently and generate profits. The agricultural manager manages personnel, schedules planting and harvesting, monitors crop and livestock health, and implements strategies for improving farm productivity.

A thriving agricultural manager must have a deep understanding of agricultural practices, be highly organized, and possess strong leadership skills


  • Education: A bachelor's degree in agricultural science, agribusiness, agricultural economics, crop or animal science, or a related field is often required. Some positions may prefer candidates with a master's degree for advanced managerial roles. Coursework covers agricultural production, farm management, economics, and business administration.
  • Work Experience: Experience in farm operations, crop production, livestock management, or agricultural business. Strong leadership and organizational skills to oversee daily farm activities.

13. Solar Panel Installer

Solar Panels
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Average Salary Per Month: $ 4,010

As the demand for renewable energy grows, solar panel installers are in high demand. Solar panel installers install and maintain solar panels on outdoor surfaces.

In this job title, you will install and maintain solar panels on various outdoor surfaces. The work involves assessing the ideal placement of solar panels to maximize energy capture, ensuring they are securely mounted, and connecting them to the electrical grid. This position also plays a significant role in system troubleshooting and maintenance, ensuring the panels remain efficient over time.


  • Education: While a high school diploma or equivalent is the minimum educational requirement, specialized training in solar photovoltaic (PV) installation is necessary. Many installers complete vocational training programs, apprenticeships, or certification courses offered by trade schools, community colleges, or industry organizations. 
  • Certifications and Licenses: Some standard certifications include the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) certification, demonstrating PV installation and maintenance competence. 

14. Wind Turbine Technician

Wind turbine technicians working.
Image Credit: 1st footage / Shutterstock.

Average Salary Per Month: $ 4,057

Wind Turbine Technicians maintain and fix the components of wind turbines, large mechanical structures that convert wind energy into electricity. They replace worn or malfunctioning components and collect turbine data for testing, research, and analysis. With a job in this profession, you will work on wind farms, maintaining and repairing turbines that generate clean energy.


  • Education: While a high school diploma or equivalent is the minimum requirement, specialized training in wind energy technology or related fields is essential. Many wind turbine technicians complete certificate programs, associate degrees, or specialized training courses offered by technical schools or community colleges. 
  • Certifications and Licenses: Obtaining relevant certifications can be advantageous. The Global Wind Organisation (GWO) certification is recognized in the wind energy industry and covers areas such as working at heights, first aid, manual handling, fire awareness, and rescue training. 

15. Wildlife Photographer

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Average Salary Per Month: $3,303

Do you love taking photos and are ready to make the most of your hobby? Talented photographers can earn substantial incomes through their stunning visuals, as their work is sought after by publications, tourism agencies, and various clients.

This profession combines the thrill of exploration with artistic expression, making it a perfect career choice for nature enthusiasts looking for adventure and a well-paying job.


  • Skills and Knowledge: A strong foundation in photography is crucial. While formal education is not always mandatory, obtaining a degree or certification in photography or visual arts can be beneficial. Courses covering camera operation, composition, lighting techniques, and post-processing software usage can help develop the necessary technical skills. 

16. Fire Inspector 

Fire inspector working
Image Credit: ALPA PROD / Shutterstock.

Average Salary Per Month: $ 5,997

Fire inspectors and prevention specialists are responsible for examining buildings to detect fire hazards and ensure compliance with fire codes. It's worth noting that fire inspectors and investigators typically have prior experience as firefighters, a physically demanding job providing them with valuable knowledge and skills.

In this outdoor career, you will keep detailed records of their inspections and investigations, identify infractions, document corrective action required, and conduct follow-up assessments to ensure compliance with instructions. If a fire occurs, they document everything to help determine the cause and may need to refer to their notes and files during legal proceedings.


  • Education: A high school diploma or equivalent is typically the minimum educational requirement for entry into this field. However, many fire inspector positions require candidates to have additional education, such as an associate degree or higher in fire science, fire protection technology, or a related field. 
  • Certifications and Training Programs: Obtaining fire inspection and prevention certifications can be advantageous. Various organizations offer certifications, such as the International Code Council (ICC) Fire Inspector or National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) certifications.

17. Construction Manager

construction manager outdoor jobs
Image Credit: Panumas Yanuthai / Shutterstock.

Average Salary Per Month: $6,181

A construction manager oversees the planning and design stages to ensure successful completion. In this role, you will coordinate resources, manage budgets, and ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget. While construction management may sometimes include indoor work, these managers are typically outdoors when on-site and often can manage more than one site at a time. 


  • Education: A bachelor's degree in construction management, civil engineering, architecture, or a related field is often required for entry-level positions. Some employers may accept candidates with a combination of work experience and an associate degree, although a bachelor's degree is increasingly becoming the standard. 
  • Certifications and Licenses: While not always mandatory, obtaining certifications such as the Certified Construction Manager (CCM) or Project Management Professional (PMP) can enhance job prospects and demonstrate professional competence. Licensing requirements vary by state and might involve passing an exam and meeting specific experience criteria.

18. Avalanche Forecaster

Mount Everest Nepal
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Average Salary Per Month: $2,997

As an avalanche forecaster, you safeguard the public and raise awareness about avalanche hazards. You utilize your expertise in mountaineering and knowledge of mountain conditions, weather patterns, and snow science to assess the risk of avalanches in a given area.

As an avalanche forecaster, you stay busy during the fall, winter, and spring months, monitoring snowpacks and collecting data to predict potential avalanche occurrences and ensure the safety of visitors.


  • Education: A strong background in snow science, meteorology, atmospheric science, or a related field is essential. Many avalanche forecasters have a bachelor's or master's degree in these disciplines, focusing on coursework related to snowpack analysis, avalanche mechanics, meteorology, and terrain assessment. Some institutions offer specialized programs in avalanche studies.
  • Professional Training: Professional internships, apprenticeships, or technician work. Hands-on experience conducting snowpack tests, using avalanche safety equipment, and participating in rescue training is crucial.
  • Certifications: Certifications like the American Avalanche Association (AAA) Level 3 certification or the Canadian Avalanche Association (CAA) Professional membership require a combination of field experience, advanced training, and passing comprehensive exams. 

19. Oil and Gas Driller

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Image Credit: Taty77 / Shutterstock.

Average Salary Per Month: $4,451

Oil and gas drilling is a highly lucrative industry in the United States. This occupation involves extracting natural resources from deep beneath the earth's surface.

Safety is a top priority in oil and gas drilling, as with any job involving heavy machinery and exposure to potentially hazardous situations. In this role, you must adhere to strict protocols and guidelines to ensure the safety of your colleagues and the environment.

It is a physically demanding job that requires extensive training and experience to operate heavy machinery and manage complex drilling operations—nonetheless, a funfilled and exciting outdoor job.


  • Education: A high school diploma or equivalent is the minimum educational requirement for entry-level positions. However, many drilling jobs require specialized training or certification from vocational schools, community colleges, or technical institutes offering programs in drilling technology, petroleum engineering technology, or related fields. 
  • Certifications and Licenses: Obtaining relevant certifications can enhance job prospects and demonstrate competence in the field. Employers may require or prefer certifications such as the International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC) or certifications in well control techniques. 

20. Adventure Filmmaker

kathryn bigelow
Image Credit: Summit Entertainment.

Average Monthly Salary: $3,777

Do you have an adventurous side? Maybe you're a big David Attenborough fan? Well, lucky for you, adventure filmmaking is one of the most exciting outdoor jobs that pay well for those who love the outdoors. These filmmakers specialize in capturing stunning footage of outdoor activities such as rock climbing, surfing, and skiing.

The work involves capturing footage of nature, wildlife, adventure sports, and expeditions to some of the world's most remote regions. They travel to places barely on the map with only a camera and an idea. 

What makes these filmmakers unique is their ability to capture the thrill of these activities on camera while also telling a compelling story. They often work in challenging and remote locations, requiring excellent outdoor skills and a deep understanding of their subject matter.


  • Education: While formal education is not always mandatory, having a solid foundation in filmmaking, cinematography, or media production is beneficial. Many aspiring adventure filmmakers pursue degrees or certifications in film studies, media production, or related fields.