If the idea of sitting in a cubicle, scurrying around a kitchen, or managing a cash register doesn’t excite you, you may be interested in outdoor careers that pay well.
Luckily for you, there are a wealth of great jobs where you can work outside. And many of them pay a very good wage – you might be surprised at how much you can earn in many of these outdoor careers!
Here’s a rundown of ten different outdoor careers that pay well and help you lead a professionally fulfilling life.
You’ll spend your whole day outside when you’re a roofer! Roofing isn’t just an outdoor career – it’s a line of work where you’ll get a lot of exercise.
Roofers install new roofs onto homes. As a roofer, you will up and down ladders quite a lot and move heavy shingles around the job site. You will also operate power tools, such as nailers. Experienced roofers can move up to management roles and supervise other roofers. In this kind of position, you may spend a lot less time on roofs, but you’ll probably still enjoy ample time outside!
According to the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER), roofers earn an average of $59,131 per year. Needless to say, experienced roofers in supervisory roles can earn much more than this. For roofing company owners, there is no limit to earnings – it’s all about how well you run your business!
The best way is to attend a dedicated training program for the construction professions. Construction Ready’s 20-day skilled trades training program costs nothing to attend and gives you all the credentials you need to become a roofer or work in another construction job.
Alternatively, you can seek out a construction apprenticeship in roofing or attend a community college program for the skilled trades. However, apprenticeships can be hard to come by and community college programs can take up to a year or more. If you’re looking to start your career sooner, a training program is a better option.
As a surveyor, you’ll be taking extremely precise measurements at outdoor sites to determine property boundaries. Surveyors are always in demand as land is constantly sold, parceled up, and repurposed either by private owners or government authorities. In short, it’s among the many outdoor careers that pay well.
When you work as a surveyor, you’ll use specialized tools to take detailed and exact measurements for property lines. The job requires special training, and surveyors are well compensated for their expertise.
BLS data indicates that surveyors in the US earn $61,600 per year on average.
You will need to earn a four-year bachelor’s degree in surveying and mapping. Some states may allow you to take supplemental courses if you already have a bachelor’s degree in another field.
Carpenters are involved in many aspects of construction. If you’re looking for a job in building construction that gives you exposure to a little of everything, you might want to become a carpenter.
Basically, if it’s made of wood and helps support a building in some way, a carpenter has had his or her hands on it. As you become more experienced in carpentry, you might focus on different things: framing, doors, windows, stairways, or some other area of construction.
If you want to work outside as a carpenter, look for a job in new building construction. All carpenters will get to spend time outdoors since they’ll be cutting and shaping wood – building owners and tenants tend to prefer when a carpenter uses the power saw outside, not inside! Still, the carpenters who spend the most time outside will be the ones working on new buildings that haven’t been completed yet.
Wages for carpenters vary quite a lot. There are just so many different ways to be a carpenter. For example, you can work for a construction company, a general contractor, or for yourself. Self-employed carpenters can earn extremely well, but even construction company employees will earn a respectable salary as a carpenter. BLS data puts average carpenter pay at $48,260 per year.
Much like roofing and other construction professions, the best way to get a carpentry job if you don’t have any skills or experience yet is to attend a dedicated construction training program. Many Construction Ready program graduates go on to become carpenters after advancing from entry-level positions in their first construction jobs.
There are other ways to become a carpenter, of course. Many carpenters started learning the trade at a young age in a minimum wage “apprenticeship” type position. Others attended community college programs.
Conservation scientists and foresters spend a substantial amount of time outdoors. Their job is to manage lands and/or advise others how to manage those lands. Many foresters work for federal or state government entities and focus primarily on the management of public lands; however, some work independently or for private organizations that need advising and consulting on land management issues.
Foresters and conservation scientists earn between $63,000 and $65,000 per year according to the BLS. Salaries will certainly vary depending on the region in which one works, one’s responsibilities, and the organization or agency with which a forester is employed.
Typically, you will need to earn a bachelor’s degree in forest resources, forestry, or land management discipline to get your first job as a forester.
Have you ever wondered who made the poured concrete for sidewalks, floors, stairs, and curbs look so smooth? That’s what concrete finishers do! Concrete finishers align and shape concrete to the forms needed for a given application or structure. It’s a type of construction profession, and concrete finishers spend most of their working time outside.
Concrete finishers in the US earn a mean annual wage of $50,900 at the time of writing. Advanced practitioners or supervisors will likely earn more while journeyman or apprentice-level concrete finishers don’t earn as much as the national average.
To become a concrete finisher, you need to gain experience working on construction sites. The best way to do that is to begin an entry-level construction job, become exposed to the concrete finisher trade, and start finishing concrete on smaller jobs. From there, you can take on more responsibility and work your way up.
As with many other skilled trades professions, a dedicated training program can fast-track you into a career in concrete finishing. Other ways to enter the profession include searching for apprenticeship opportunities or completing a community college program for the trades.
The title “landscaper” can refer to a variety of professions – everything from groundskeepers to landscape architects. Grounds maintenance workers spend the most time outside, but earn less than landscape architects. You’d spend most of your day mowing lawns, pruning trees and shrubs, planting new vegetation, and generally maintaining outdoor landscapes in various environments.
Landscape architects, on the other hand, spend about as much time in their offices as they do at project sites. As a landscape architect, you will frequently visit outdoor sites to plan, observe, and take measurements. You will also spend a lot of time in your office creating new designs or models. It’s very much a hybrid outdoor-indoor sort of job.
Compensation varies depending on the type of landscaping career you’re talking about. Grounds maintenance workers have median earnings of $35,460 per year while landscape architects earn nearly double that amount: $67,950. Landscaping is a very broad category, so your earnings could be anywhere in between those two figures or, in some cases, even higher depending on your experience and professional duties.
You might be able to become a groundskeeper with minimal experience. Look for landscaping companies that need hired help – that’s a good way to get your foot in the door. Of course, earnings for this type of job are limited and you may never earn more than the national mean wage.
Landscape architects, on the other hand, need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Many colleges and universities offer 4-year programs in landscape architecture, and this degree is usually required to get a license to practice.
Do you like climbing trees? As an arborist, you’ll get to climb higher than, well, pretty much anyone!
Arborists apply heavy, sophisticated machinery and rigging expertise to the removal or pruning of trees, both large and small. One day, an arborist might visit various job sites to evaluate the health of a given tree or trees. Another day, he or she, might be in a cherry picker or up in the branches themselves removing tree sections.
The mean annual wage for an arborist is $47,450. Arborists who own their own businesses can earn much more than this.
You can get into this profession without much experience. Look for an arborist who needs help or a tree removal company that’s looking for workers. You probably won’t start with the hardest (often the largest) jobs, but starting small is a way to work your way up.
Oh, and if you’re scared of heights, this might not be the career for you!
Bulldozers, diggers, cranes… Somebody gets to operate them, and that somebody could be you. Heavy equipment operators spend nearly all of their days outside, although they are often in the driver’s seat of whatever equipment they’re operating.
Being a heavy equipment operator is an extremely important role for construction workers. Not just everyone gets to do it. You need to develop expertise with each piece of equipment and demonstrate that you can operate each one properly and safely.
According to the latest NCCER data, heavy equipment operators in the US earn an average of $62,910 per year. That’s an impressive wage, and it’s similar to the earnings of people who hold a bachelor’s degree.
Like the other construction professions on this list, there are three ways to enter this field: attend a community college program for the trades, find an apprenticeship, or attend a dedicated training program for construction.
After that, you can begin an entry level construction job and work your way up. Heavy equipment operators need specialized training and experience, which can only come from spending ample time on construction sites learning the trade.
At Construction Ready, we prepare people from all ages and backgrounds for careers in the skilled trades. Our program lasts 20 days and gives you all the training and credentials you need to get your first construction job. 97% of our graduates have a job offer before the training is over!
And since the training is fully funded by private donors and public grants, you don’t have to pay any tuition. You can get trained for your outdoor career totally free of charge!
Get in touch today to learn more about Construction Ready and begin your exciting and high-earning outdoor career!