Four Dream-Job Outdoor Careers

Mary Gormandy White
outdoor careers.
List of Outdoor Careers

There are many different types of outdoor careers. If you enjoy spending time in the fresh air, there is a good chance that you'll be able to find a job that allows you to turn your love for nature into a rewarding career opportunity.

1. National Parks Service Jobs

The National Parks Service hires workers to fill a wide variety of jobs that will appeal to outdoor enthusiasts. Each of the National Parks, and the related facilities operated by the National Parks Service, recruits personnel to staff a variety of permanent, temporary, and seasonal outdoor jobs.

Overview of Job Types

Qualifications needed for positions in Parks Service facilities vary widely, based on particular job requirements. Some National Parks Service jobs require degrees in Forestry, Biology, or other scientific fields. Others require different types of specialized training, but some simply require a passion for nature.

Opportunities for outdoor careers within the National Parks Service include:

  • Firefighting and Fire Management
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Park Guide
  • Park Police
  • Park Rangers
  • Various Natural Resources Job Opportunities
  • Various Biological & Physical Sciences Positions

Where to Look for Openings

National Parks Service job openings are published on USA Jobs, the official employment website for the Federal Government. To search for specific openings, go to the Advanced Search page on USAJobs.gov and select "Department of the Interior" in the Agency Search section. Once you have done that, specify National Parks Service in the "refine your search window" and make any other selections to narrow your search to your specific interests.

2. Outdoor Adventure Jobs

If there is a particular outdoor activity that you enjoy, you might be able to turn your passion into a rewarding career that allows you to share your skills and enthusiasm with others. If your hobbies are activities that other people want to participate in or learn about, there is a good chance that you may be able to find employment that allows you to work as a trainer or tour guide.

Overview of Job Types

There are tour guide and instructional opportunities may be available for people with skills related to:

Where to Look for Openings

CoolWorks.com is a good resource for finding outdoor adventure jobs, as many companies that hire for these types of jobs post open positions on the site. However, this site is not the only place you should look for openings. There are opportunities for outdoor adventure jobs anywhere there are companies that provide these types of activities, and many of them utilize their own websites as primary recruiting tools.

A few examples of companies that hire people for outdoor adventure employment include:

  • Outdoor Adventures - San Francisco Bay Area company that employs instructors and leaders for kayaking, hiking, mountaineering and other types of adventures
  • Nantahala Outdoor Center - Western North Carolina company that hires paddling instructors, whitewater rafting guides, group facilitators and more
  • River Runners/Adrift Adventures - Hires raft guides and personnel for support positions in both Colorado and Utah
  • Zion Adventures - Hires backcountry trip guides, climbing personnel, tubing staff and others to work in the Mt. Zion area of Utah
  • Vail Resorts - Colorado company that hires ski instructors and others to staff a variety of positions specific to ski resort hospitality

Of course, there are many, many more companies throughout the U.S., as well as overseas. Consider the type of outdoor adventure job that you want and the area(s) where you would like to live. Then, research to identify potential employers in those locations. If you have a geographic area in mind, call the Convention and Visitor's Bureau in that area and ask for a visitor's guide. It's likely to include names and contact information for all of the local outdoor adventure companies, so you'll have a good employment prospecting list to start from.

3. Wilderness Experience Jobs

If combining your love of the great outdoors with an opportunity to help troubled youngsters get their lives on the right track sounds good to you, working for a wilderness adventure provider might be an excellent career choice.

Overview of Job Types

Wilderness experience programs hire

  • Academic instructors
  • Outdoor/survival instructors
  • Mental health professionals.

Applying for Wilderness Experience Jobs

OutdoorEd.com is a good site to review for job openings with educational facilities that specialize in wilderness experience education. However, not every wilderness experience provider lists job openings on the site, so you should not limit your search to it. Many companies rely on their own websites to recruit the staff members they need.

A few examples of companies that offer wilderness experience services and, therefore, hire qualified personnel for such services, include:

  • Outward Bound - This organization operates wilderness experience educational programs at multiple locations throughout the U.S.; current openings are posted online
  • Aspen Education Group - This company operates and staffs wilderness experience schools in Idaho, North Carolina, Utah and New York

The National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs has an online program directory that can be helpful for identifying other schools where you may want to work.

4. Dude Ranch Jobs

Individuals whose love of the outdoors includes a passion for horses, ranch life, wide open scenery, and working in the tourism industry might find that working on a dude ranch is the perfect outdoor career choice. The majority of ranch career opportunities are in Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming.

Do you find the idea of working on a ranch appealing?

Overview of Job Types

Ranches staff for a wide variety of positions,including:

  • Ranch hands
  • Wranglers
  • Tour guides
  • Horseback riding instructors
  • Domestic staff (cooks, housekeepers, etc.)

Applying for Ranch Jobs

Employment information for a few of the most popular and well-known ranches in the western part of the United States can be accessed through the links below.

Pursuing Outdoor Careers

These are just a few of the many opportunities for nature enthusiasts to pursue outdoor careers that can be both lucrative and rewarding. In addition to considering the options presented here, consider using job aggregator sites like SimplyHired and Indeed.com to get an idea of other types of outdoor jobs that might be available specific to your skills and interests. There are plenty of opportunities to combine your outdoor skills and love for spending time in the great outdoors into a career opportunity. For even more ideas, be sure to review the list of outdoor careers.

Four Dream-Job Outdoor Careers