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Highest-paying jobs that let you work outside

  • Highest-paying jobs that let you work outside

    When it comes time to settle down and get a job, many people think a professional life entails spending long periods indoors, at a computer, in a boardroom, or holding a meeting.

    And the idea of spending eight or more hours a day away from nature and sunlight may be challenging for people who love nothing more than spending time outdoors. Luckily for them, many jobs allow people who prioritize spending time outdoors to make a good living.

    These professions range widely in the level of training and education required. Some jobs, like farming, require almost no formal training, but deep experiential knowledge that can only come from hours out in the field. Engineers, on the other hand, often need advanced degrees to conduct their work. Some of these jobs are best suited for those with strong people skills. Construction managers, for example, need to oversee multiple personalities along with multiple projects, keeping all stakeholders happy as they move towards completion of a building. Other professions, like light truck drivers or delivery service drivers, may need to be happy spending large swathes of time alone.

    Regardless, well-paying jobs that allow people to spend time outdoors often allow people to make a living doing what they love. Whether that is a love of skiing that turns into a job running ski patrol or love of trees that leads to a career in forestry, many opportunities professionalize abiding passions.

    Stacker compiled a list of the highest paying jobs that let you work outside. The list considered 45 jobs in which "at least some workers spend a large part of their workday doing tasks outside," according to BLS. The median annual wage ranks jobs as of May 2018 from the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook. The median incomes of tree trimmers, pruners, and landscaping and groundskeeping workers are based on median hourly wages assuming that they work 2,080 hours a year.

    Read on to discover the highest paying jobs that take you outside. 

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  • #45. Amusement and recreation attendants

    - Median annual income: $22,260
    - Employment: 338,600
    - Projected employment change 2018-2020: +8%

    Children who loved attending theme parks might never have to age out of that if they decide to become amusement and recreation attendants. Such professions include operating the line for roller coasters, selling funnel cakes and other concessions, or even operating the rides. Attendants require little in the way of formal education and are often trained by others on the job.

  • #44. Lifeguards, ski patrol, and other recreational protective service workers

    - Median annual income: $22,410
    - Employment: 151,800
    - Projected employment change 2018-2020: +7%

    Excellent skiers and swimmers have the opportunity to professionalize their passions and help others enjoy and excel at their sports safely by becoming lifeguards, ski patrols, or other kinds of protective, recreational service workers. But the job isn't all fun and games—these workers are often required to call emergency services when required and must have the constitution to do so quickly and with a cool head in the case of an emergency.

  • #43. Farmworkers and laborers, crop, nursery, and greenhouse

    - Median annual income: $24,320
    - Employment: 532,300
    - Projected employment change 2018-2020: +2%

    Anyone who loves plants, nature, and the outdoors, particularly as it applies to crops, may want to consider becoming a farmworker or laborer tending to crops, nurseries, and greenhouses. Although little formal education is required, anyone engaged in this profession should be in excellent physical shape, as it requires a significant amount of physical activity over an extended period.

  • #42. Farmworkers, farm, ranch, and aquacultural animals

    - Median annual income: $26,560
    - Employment: 256,100
    - Projected employment change 2018-2020: -3%

    Animal-lovers would be well suited to work on a ranch, farm, or near a body of water with all the creatures who populate it. Everything from feeding to branding is on the slate of duties that may be required for this position, so employees should make sure they have the stomach to manage all parts of an animal's life cycle.

  • #41. Travel guides

    - Median annual income: $26,570
    - Employment: 61,900
    - Projected employment change 2018-2020: +7%

    Those who don't mind living out of a suitcase and enjoy experiencing other cultures can look into being a travel guide writer, which can involve significant time outdoors, depending on which destinations you are covering. Those interested in this profession should make sure their writing skills are honed along with their acumen in packing.

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  • #40. Umpires, referees, and other sports officials

    - Median annual income: $27,020
    - Employment: 22,000
    - Projected employment change 2018-2020: +6%

    Sports fans have a prime opportunity to stay in the game for life with jobs as umpires, referees, and other sports officials. Only a high school diploma is typically required, but these professions require a high level of personal integrity, so as not to let favoritism or fandom influence close calls.

  • #39. Forest and conservation workers

    - Median annual income: $27,460
    - Employment: 13,900
    - Projected employment change 2018-2020: -3%

    Forest and conservation workers spend their time in outdoor spaces making sure the natural world is respected, cleaned, and cared for. With wildfires making headlines across the globe from Australia to California, the firefighting element of this profession is now in the spotlight more than ever.

  • #38. Fishing and hunting workers

    - Median annual income: $28,530
    - Employment: 39,400
    - Projected employment change 2018-2020: -2%

    While fishing and hunting may sound like an ideal job for those who enjoy both pastimes, the job does not come without risks. Workers need little in terms of formal education, but they do need to be prepared to confront the likes of rogue grizzlies, making it a rather specialized occupation.

  • #37. Crossing guards

    - Median annual income: $28,960
    - Employment: 81,700
    - Projected employment change 2018-2020: +6%

    Those who want nothing more than to stand in the sun for hours on end may want to work as crossing guards. Guards help people—particularly children in school zones—get where they are going safely.

  • #36. Landscaping and groundskeeping workers

    - Median annual income: $28,995
    - Employment: 1,205,200
    - Projected employment change 2018-2020: +9%

    Landscaping and groundskeeping workers help make parks, gardens, and other outdoor areas in good shape. Although formal education or training is typically minimal, workers engaged in this work will need to know how to use a range of specialized tools, from mowers to tractors to snow blowers.

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