Cool Jobs for Outdoor Enthusiasts

By Heidi Green , last updated December 24, 2011

If you love the outdoors, you probably bristle at the idea of reporting every morning to a cubicle; if this sounds like you, check out some cool jobs, which are perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. Have you ever looked longingly out of your office window, wishing that you could be soaking in actual, vitamin d-rich sunshine instead of the glow from your computer screen? Did you know that there are actually plenty of well-paying, respectful jobs that allow you to enjoy the outdoors? It doesn't matter what you received your degree in, chances are that there is a perfect outdoor job for you. Read on to get a feel for some of the coolest, and maybe get some inspiration in the process!

Game Warden: Protecting People, Land and Wildlife

Does the thought of protecting vast natural resources and wildlife appeal to you? Are you excited or intrigued by the profession of law enforcement? You might want to look into a career as a Game Warden. Game Wardens typically work for a state level Department of Natural Resources or similar organization, and have duties that range from ensuring proper hunting or fishing licenses to conducting search and rescues for missing hikers. Because the responsibilities of Game Wardens differ by state and jurisdiction, many officers are trained in a variety of skills ranging from emergency medical techniques to various hunting techniques. A typical education for a Game Warden includes a degree in either conservation or law enforcement. Many universities actually offer programs developed specifically for those who desire to work in the Department of Natural Resources. Even though there are more opportunities for this kind of work in rural or undeveloped areas, nearly every state and area of the country has a well-developed DNR organization looking for new candidates.

Adventure Guide: Making the Outdoors Fun for City Slickers

If you would like to get paid to have adventures, consider seeking a career as an "Adventure Guide." An Adventure Guide is anyone who gets paid to lead people on expeditions or tours of outdoor wilderness areas. As you would probably expect, the duties of an Adventure Guide can vary wildly depending on where they work and who has hired them. Usually gaining employment through an outdoor expedition company, lodge or resort, an Adventure Guide can find themselves leading tourists on a whitewater rafting expedition, teaching novices rock climbing techniques and guiding hikers through a vast forest. If the thought of becoming an Adventure Guide sounds good to you, you can get a head start by getting a degree in recreation management or even education. Job availability often corresponds to particular seasons, so keep your skills in mind as you begin your job search. For instance, if you want to lead cross country skiing trips, you might have better look searching for jobs before the snow season begins.

Wildlife Biologist: Work in an Outdoor Science Lab

Many science lovers feel like they need to resign themselves to a sterile, fluorescent-lit lab. Fortunately, there are myriad job options for those who love both the outdoors and science. If you also love animals, you might be a perfect fit for the field of Wildlife Biology. The opportunities are vast, and the duties can range from researching the migratory patterns of rare birds to scuba diving in order to study whales. Because a wildlife biologist requires an expert-level of knowledge regarding their particular field of study, many years of schooling are typically necessary in order to find a job. But the payoff for all of the education is extremely rewarding, and offers the biologist a chance to travel all over the world.

Landscape Designer: Making the Outdoors Beautiful

If you possess a creative spirit, and the thought of designing beautiful landscapes appeals to you, you might want to look into becoming a landscape designer. Landscape designers help to create beautiful vistas for a variety of different types of outdoor environments. Knowledge of everything from gardening to outdoor architecture is often necessary, and the understanding of a variety of different landscape elements is pivotal. Landscape designers are often consulted before a city breaks ground on a new park or green space, and can have a great deal of responsibility for the ultimate design. Many private landowners also hire landscape designers when they are looking to redesign their yards or outdoor spaces. It is very helpful to have some design education under your belt for a job as a landscape designer or architect, but experience with a respected firm is also necessary.

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