College Student Blog

Some people simply love the outdoors…. Open spaces, wildlife and rugged landscapes are their “thing.” The thought of being cooped up in an impersonal cubicle all day long makes them queasy. If you’re one of these people, you may think your career options are limited. After all, most high-paying jobs that require a traditional or online degree also require an office, right? Wrong. There are actually many college-level jobs that keep people outside nearly all day long. Here are 10 of them.

1. Forester

Also known as a conservation scientist, foresters manage our nation’s natural resources and forest lands. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), this job requires a bachelor’s degree and pays nearly $58,000 a year.

2. Geologist

Geologists study the history of the Earth and the rocks, minerals and precious metals that it contains. They provide maps, charts and scientific reports on their findings to interested clients. According to the BLS, geologists need a bachelor’s degree in their field and can earn as much as $82,000.

3. Mining Engineer

A mining engineer creates plans to safely and efficiently mine minerals of all kinds in both open pit and shaft mining. They also develop reclamation plans for spent mines. BLS statistics show that mining engineers must hold a bachelor’s degree and earn, on average, $82,000 a year.

4. Zoologist

Zoologists study the interactions of animals and their natural surroundings. They provide for the health and well being of animals in zoos and wildlife parks and also in the wild. The BLS states that a zoologist must have a bachelor’s degree to work in the field. They usually earn around $57,000 annually.

5. Agricultural Scientist

Agricultural scientists study the production of food and food safety. They create ways to increase crop production on our nation’s farms. According to the BLS, agricultural scientists usually hold a degree in a related field such as biology, chemistry or even engineering. In this field, they can usually earn around $58,000 a year.

6. Hydrologist

Water conservation is the main concern of a hydrologist. They also work to ensure the safety of municipal water systems. BLS statistics state that in this career field, the average salary is over $75,000. A master’s degree is required to become a hydrologist.

7. Marine Biologist

Marine biologists study sea life and the ocean, analyzing the effects of pollution and fishing activities. A bachelor’s degree is required for this work and BLS statistics show that wages average $57,000.

8. Urban Planner

Most urban planners work helping city and state entities plan the use of land. After studying feasibility, zoning laws and environmental factors, they will make a recommendation about the proposed usage. Urban planners must have a master’s degree to enter the field, and, according to BLS statistics, can expect to earn over $63,000 annually.

9. Environmental Engineer

Environmental engineers plan and design large-scale water reclamation and pollution-control projects. A bachelor’s degree is required to enter this field, and, according to the BLS, it pays over $78,000 a year.

10. Documentary Filmmaker

Filmmakers produce documentaries on many outdoor subjects: wildlife, conservation, disasters. Filmmakers usually require a bachelor’s degree and can expect to earn $45,000 a year on average.

This list of occupations is really just the tip of the iceberg. A little research will quickly show that many people who hold advanced degrees are working outside every day in the wide open spaces they love.

About the Author: This article was written by Allie Gray Freeland, Editor in Chief of, a guide to online schools and online degrees.

College was definitely one of the best times of my life because I stepped out and did so many things.  By the time it was all said and done, I graduated with a double major in Marketing and International Business, and double minored in Spanish and Economics.  I studied abroad for a semester in Mexico and had the wonderful opportunity to complete an internship while I was there.  I enjoyed the experience so much that I studied abroad in Spain for a semester the following year.  The average person just wants to graduate in four years with one major especially since the cost of college is on the rise.  But I thought I was doing something really big with all of my accomplishments and still graduating on time in four years, but I was wrong.


Growing up, I was very active and involved in sports and taking music lessons.  No matter how good anybody was, everybody always received a trophy or some certificate after the season was over.  So many things fell right into place the first 22 years of my life and I felt that since I did what I was told to do, I would get rewarded.  But after I graduated in May of 2009 and didn’t have a job offer lined up, I was crushed.  I kept telling myself that I did everything “right” so why didn’t I have the “right” job?


Unfortunately in our society, some of us are raised in a protective bubble and think we deserve everything because in the past, it was actually just handed to us.  I remember being excited my last semester at the thought of not having to write any more papers or prepare for intense exams.  I wanted to live on my own and do whatever I pleased.  Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of great things about graduating but when the dishwasher breaks and you don’t have any money, so you’re tasked with fixing it yourself, somehow, everything feels like it’s broken.


Being prepared for the transition is what I lacked but knowing how things really are means that you don’t have to go through what I did.  Here are just a few suggestions to do while you’re still in college for making the next phase of life great:


1)      Start working on making contacts at the company that you would like to work for.  Doing informational interviews is a good way to build relationships.

2)      Network with people from your university.  I know mine had events where we could talk with alumni.  It’s a good opportunity to talk to them and get advice.  Also, talk to your professors to see if they would be willing to write a recommendation or if  they know of anybody who could open the door for you.

3)      Stay in touch with the people you network with.  Perhaps five years down the line, the perfect opportunity is waiting for you so hopefully your name will be the first thought because you stayed in touch with certain people.

4)      Complete an internship at a company that you would like to work for or one where you would be doing similar tasks.  I suggest keeping the internship for as long as possible and the earlier you start, the better.  Employers are looking for people with experience and that is what most college graduates lack.

5)      Have fun! Enjoy this time and don’t be in such a hurry to get through it.  Once you’ve graduated, there’s no going back to this moment.  I did go back for my MBA but it wasn’t the same as undergrad.


Cynamon Frierson has her MBA and is an active volunteer.  She believes in enjoying life, always continuing to gain knowledge, and giving back to help people out.  You can follow her on twitter @CynamonF