College Student Blog

22 Aug, 2012

10 Outdoor Jobs That Require a College Degree

Posted by: Parker In: Miscellaneous

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.

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