Jobs of the Week

Homebodies need not apply: careers for nature lovers

Written by Guest Contributor

There are two kinds of employees in this world: those who enjoy working in the comfy confines of an office, and those who desire a more outdoorsy lifestyle. If you are in the latter category, then you are not alone, as there are many adventurous people who don’t want to be tied down to a desk. Luckily, there is an abundance of careers that combine your need to make money with the great outdoors.

Whether you are excited about the thrill of adventure or the solitude of being alone with your camera, there is a profession out there for you. Let’s look at the many outdoor jobs that are available and what you’ll need to get them.

Careers for thrill seekers

If you are the type of person who is always on the move looking for that next adrenaline rush, then there are many exciting outdoor jobs that will give you that exhilaration along with the chance to help those in need.

One of the most rewarding outdoor adventure jobs is that of a wildland firefighter. A position that is sorely needed these days, the wildland firefighter is responsible for working in the most at-risk forests to ensure that fires don’t spark up and to quickly act on them if they do. This is not a job for the light-hearted as it requires quick thinking and the threat of constant danger. But, when you save the life of a human or animal in danger, there is no more rewarding experience.

Often working alongside the firefighter is the search-and-rescue professional. These are the brave people who go by boat, car, and helicopter to search for lost hikers and people in need and bring them back to safety. To excel in this position, you will need a variety of skills, from experience with first aid and radio communication to the potential requirement of having a boat or helicopter license.

Whether as a first responder or a standalone position, an outdoor safety professional with experience in wilderness medicine is another bold and rewarding career. This position focuses more on the medical side of things but in unusual environments. So you may need to give CPR in a ravine or administer first aid on a mountain path. This career is not always for the squeamish, but it is certainly for those with an adventurous side.

Work at a state park

Another avenue is to get a job at a state park, ski resort, or other tourist destination. One of the more popular outdoor jobs in this category is becoming a park ranger. This is a broad field that could include anything from guiding tour groups to working in a law enforcement capacity to specializing in science and preservation of the park. In many cases, this is a government job, so you will get some nice perks, including top-notch health benefits, but this also means that your background should be spotless.

You can also work as a guide within a state park. This could be guiding adventurers down rocky rivers or driving tourists on a bus ride through a national park as they take in the sights. For guide positions, you will want to have a friendly demeanor and a background in customer service, and you may need to know how to drive different vehicles.

If you are looking for a job during the winter months, then you could look into a gig as a ski instructor. This can be a rewarding job where you take adults on tours or teach children how to traverse the bunny hills. Of course, you will want to have experience using skis, and you will need to acquire qualifications through the Professional Ski Instructors of America. At the beginning of every new snowy season, ski resorts look for new recruits, so get your resume out there before winter hits.

Those with a love of the sea can get a job as a scuba diving instructor. This profession would allow you to work at any number of destinations, from a Mexican resort to the local lake. You will need a lot of experience and certifications to land this job. Certification will include logging 100 dives, completing an instructor development course, and the ability to administer CPR, among other requirements. Just like with being a ski instructor, a scuba diving instructor will require friendliness and customer service skills, and the ability to troubleshoot at a moment’s notice.

Writing and photography

If you love writing or taking pictures, you can still enjoy the outdoors by becoming a travel blogger or photographer. If you start an outdoor adventure blog, you can write about many different subjects from your favorite national parks to the best hiking trails around the country. You can focus on writing about wildlife, travel hacks, gear reviews, and more. How about focusing on a specific niche, like cooking in the outdoors or tips for newbies who are just now getting into camping.

Do you love traveling, but are not so thrilled about the wilderness aspect? Then you could be a travel writer who goes from city to city reviewing the best restaurants, hotels, or tourist destinations. You could also write about travel tips like how to save money or what to bring for specific adventures. If you are serious about becoming a successful blogger then you will want to have some writing skills along with experience on social media, creating attention-grabbing posts. The best blogs have attractive photos that really show the beauty of the place you are visiting, so you will need some photography skills as well.

If your love of taking pictures trumps your writing abilities, then you could get a job as a wildlife photographer. This exciting career is for photography experts who know the perfect lens to get the best shot and are not afraid to get up close and personal with any gorgeous outdoor site, from a thunderous waterfall to a pride of lions. As a nature photographer, you can use your pictures on your own personal website or work for a company that uses your work for their outdoor products or guides.

Never let anyone tell you that you can’t make money and be an adventurer at the same time. With any of these exciting careers, you can do just that and be one of the few who truly loves what they do for a living!

About the Author:
Jori Hamilton is a writer from the Pacific Northwest who has a particular interest in social justice, politics, education, healthcare, technology, and more. You can follow her on Twitter @ HamiltonJori.

About the author

Guest Contributor