Top 5 Jobs for Nature Lovers and Outdoor Enthusiasts

Working in a cubicle isn't for everyone. If you love the outdoors, consider pursuing one of these five exciting nature jobs, from forestry to geology.
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  • Many people prefer jobs in which they get to work directly with nature and wildlife.
  • Nature careers are ideal for those passionate about conservation and the environment.
  • Popular outdoor careers include environmental engineering, geology, and forestry.

Not everyone is cut out for a cubicle job. In fact, many people are drawn to careers that require them to spend a lot of time working outdoors.

Several studies have found that when we're exposed to nature, both our mental and physical health improve. We become more focused, which leads to not only better job performance but also increased job satisfaction.

Jobs that allow us to spend time outdoors offer other benefits as well. Knowing that you're helping improve the world for current and future generations can lead to a greater sense of fulfillment.

Whether you're passionate about the environment or just an all-around nature lover, you'll love learning more about these five exciting nature careers.

1. Environmental Scientist

Environmental science is a great path for lovers of nature to pursue. For many people employed in this field, there's no better one-two punch than being able to work in the great outdoors while simultaneously helping protect the environment.

Most environmental scientists work with local, state, and federal agencies, as well as environmental consulting firms. Work is usually performed in the field, in a lab, and in an office.

While the role of an environmental scientist can vary depending on the industry, the basic responsibilities remain the same: to protect the environment by identifying, controlling, and eliminating pollutants and public health hazards.

2. Environmental Engineer

  • Job Growth Rate (2020-30): 4%
  • Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $92,120
  • Educational Requirements: Most positions require a bachelor's degree in environmental engineering, mechanical engineering or related field.

Another exciting and lucrative career that combines outdoor work with environmental protection is environmental engineering. These engineers have an important function, as the work they do contributes to the creation of healthy environments necessary to sustain and protect our communities.

Their work involves creating engineering fixes for waste disposal, hazardous materials containment, water and air pollution, and unsafe drinking water. Some environmental engineers also tackle global environmental issues such as environmental engineering, automotive emissions, and ozone depletion.

Environmental engineers are often employed with local, state, and federal agencies and environmental consulting firms. They may also work for nonprofits and corporations.

3. Landscape Architect

  • Job Growth Rate (2020-30): 0%
  • Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $70,630
  • Educational Requirements: All states require landscape architects to be licensed. Most positions require a bachelor's degree in landscape architecture. Licensing requirements vary by state but typically include passing the Landscape Architect Registration Exam.

Landscape architects design and create outdoor living and recreational spaces for houses, gardens, parks, hospitals, and more. These creative professionals are involved in all phases of the design process, from site analysis and planning to project completion.

They work in coordination with city planners, architectural engineers, and civil engineers to design projects that are not only aesthetically appealing but also functional and environmentally friendly.

Landscape architects typically work at architectural firms, engineering companies, and government agencies; many also work as independent contractors. Much of their time is spent on construction at job sites, in the office working on site plans, and meeting with clients to discuss project plans and progress.

4. Geologist

  • Job Growth Rate (2020-30): 7%
  • Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $93,580
  • Educational Requirements: A bachelor's degree in geology, environmental science, or a related field is required for most entry-level jobs; however, some employers may prefer a master's degree.

Another fun and interesting career that takes you outdoors is geology. Geologists are scientists that study the Earth, including its formation history, materials, and processes.

Geologists do important work like evaluating sites, identifying and locating natural resources, and studying the processes associated with natural disasters.

They help better predict future occurrences and outcomes related to our environment, including processes that may contribute to climate change and other prevalent environmental issues.

The majority of geologists are employed with environmental engineering firms, government agencies, environmental consulting companies, and nonprofits. They typically split their time between working in offices and labs and conducting fieldwork.

5. Forester

  • Job Growth Rate (2020-30): 7%
  • Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $64,010
  • Educational Requirements: Most employers require a bachelor's degree in forestry, horticulture, agricultural engineering, or a related field. Certain states require foresters to be licensed.

Foresters are primarily responsible for forest management in the public and private sectors, and play an important role in the conservation and rehabilitation of forests, which are a critical part of the environment.

Foresters are often involved with wilderness protection, sustainable timber harvesting, forest propagation, fire management, public wilderness recreation, habitat and trail management, timber valuation, and the implementation of forest regulations.

Most foresters work with local, state, and federal government agencies; they may also work on behalf of private landowners, land management companies, and social advocacy organizations. Work is completed outdoors in national and state forest areas and parks.

Feature Image: South_agency / E+ / Getty Images