Best Outdoor Jobs

There’s a lot to like about working outdoors. Aside from fresh air and sunshine, you’ll likely get far more exercise than sitting behind a desk. And cubicle life isn’t for everyone.

In fact, Kathleen Duffy, CEO of the national recruitment firm Duffy Group, based in Phoenix, says that her firm is seeing that more people than ever prefer to work outside.

“It may be that fresh air, sunlight and the sights and sounds of the outdoors inspires workers to think differently and more creatively,” Duffy says. “We are hearing people, especially new college graduates, are not interested in sitting at a desk in a cubical all day. It’s too claustrophobic.”

If looking for a career that gets you into the great outdoors, check out the following jobs, which are drawn from the U.S. News 100 Best Jobs ranking. Data comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

[See: 16 Low-Stress Jobs]

Recreation and Fitness Worker

Median Salary: $30,490

Education Required: High school diploma or equivalent

This is a job in which you could work indoors a lot, but the potential to work outdoors is definitely there. It depends where you work: If you’re employed at a fitness center or a community center, you may spend plenty of time indoors. If you work at a park or summer camp, keep an umbrella and sunscreen handy. If you’re a recreation and fitness worker on a cruise, you’ll probably work indoors and outdoors equally. What you do every day will certainly vary; you might be teaching classes, organizing events or leading kids on horses through the woods. A recreation and fitness worker position is sometimes seasonal, such as a summer camp, or it could easily be year-round, like at the YMCA. Likewise, you may work part time or full time.

Learn more about recreation and fitness workers.

Environmental Science and Protection Technician

Median Salary: $46,540

Education Required: Associate degree

In this position, you may spend time indoors a lot in an office with a desk. So why are we classifying this as an outdoor job? Because you’ll also probably have a lot of opportunities to be out in the field. Maybe you’ll test the water quality of a lake or a river. Your office manager may ask if you know how to scuba dive for a mollusk study (they’re threatened, and if a bridge is going to be built, you might be asked to see how the population will be affected). You could be out in a field for an afternoon or a few days taking soil samples. But then you’ll likely go back to a lab to study those samples.

Learn more about environmental science and protection technicians.

Maintenance and Repair Worker

Median Salary: $39,080

Education Required: High school diploma or equivalent

This is another job where you’ll be inside and out. You could be fixing a loose railing on a stairway in an office building or on a ladder outside, cleaning out the gutters of an apartment building. It isn’t a glamorous position, and because you’re often bending over, stretching and commonly on your feet, you may be vulnerable to injuries on the job. On the plus side, people are always going to be grateful to see you and to get your help. Plus, you get to use your hands and learn a lot every day about problem-solving.

Learn more about maintenance and repair workers.

[SEE: 20 Best Jobs You’ve Never Heard Of.]


Median Salary: $37,330

Education Required: High school diploma or equivalent

This job isn’t for everybody, but it is a position with a lot of perks. You’re never in one place for long. You meet tons of new people (your clients), and if you stick around in the job, you get to know your regular clients well. It helps to be a people person — you’re often talking to them when they’re stressed out by a mouse or termite issue. At the same time, you’re often alone when spraying chemicals or checking rat traps, and so you have time to think without people looking over your shoulder every second. You are often indoors, since pests like going indoors, but you’re outdoors a lot, since that’s also where you’ll find bugs and rodents. So you may love this job — as long as cockroaches and mice don’t give you the heebie-jeebies.

Learn more about exterminators.

Landscaper and Groundskeeper

Median Salary: $30,440

Education Required: No formal credential required

Unless you get a job in a greenhouse, expect to be outside a lot. It can be rigorous work, especially if you’re bending down or on your knees, pulling weeds. You might be lugging bags of fertilizer from one spot to another or pushing a lawn mower (although chances are, you’re riding one). It’s a job that can potentially be dangerous — for instance, if you’re up trimming trees. But you’ll get to be at one with nature and you’ll get daily exercise. And if you’re good at your job, you’ll have a lot of grateful clients.

Learn more about landscapers and groundskeepers.

Construction Manager

Median Salary: $95,260

Education Required: Bachelor’s degree

You’ll actually be in an office quite a bit — but it will be in a field office on site, where you monitor projects and make decisions about what you’re building. In other words, you’ll have the best of both worlds. You can work inside or just have somewhere to go when it rains or you want some privacy. But you’ll also be outside, leading your crew toward completing a project. If you’re managing multiple construction sites, you might be indoors and outdoors a lot — and traveling between sites.

You’ll probably work full time and then some. You might be on call 24 hours a day as the person everybody will turn to if something goes wrong. You’ll be bleary-eyed during those moments, but at least you’ll be paid well.

Learn more about construction managers.

[See: The 25 Best Jobs of 2021.]

Wind Turbine Technician

Median Salary: $52,910

Education Required: Postsecondary nondegree award

You’ll be outdoors for this job all right, way above the ground or sea — often about 500 feet above the earth, and sometimes higher than that. After all, if a wind turbine’s blades need repairing, there’s nowhere to go but up. It is a potentially dangerous job, but you will be wearing a fall protection harness and other safety equipment — and you’ll probably have a partner with you. So you’re outdoors, far from civilization, but you probably won’t be alone. Another benefit: You’ll get to see some amazing views.

Learn more about wind turbine technicians.

More from U.S. News

20 Best Jobs You’ve Never Heard Of

16 Low-Stress Jobs

25 Best Jobs That Pay $100K or More

Best Outdoor Jobs originally appeared on

Update 06/16/21: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.

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This content was republished with permission from CNN.

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