Some of us love working in an office; you have great colleagues, excellent facilities, and a comfy swivel chair that makes you feel like a boss. However, if the thought of being seated at a desk from 9-5 every day doesn’t exactly have you jumping for joy, working in the great outdoors could be perfect for you! If standing in the sun with the wind in your hair sounds like your ultimate dream job, consider the career options below.
In addition to spending most of your time working outside, the jobs on this list allow you to have a real impact when it comes to creating a sustainable future for our planet. So whether you like to work with animals, plants, rocks, or trees, we’ve compiled a list of five well-paid jobs for those who love the great outdoors.
Do you like to swim? Are you fascinated with the natural ecosystems living in the ocean? If you answered yes to these questions, then you may want to consider a career as an oceanographer.
In addition to a love for the sea, people who are ideally suited to being oceanographers tend to prefer working independently and have a background in the sciences. If you choose to pursue this path, you will also need to be in good physical shape as it is common for oceanographers to spend several hours at a time swimming underwater to collect samples. Depending on your area of expertise, your career under the sea will have you performing tasks such as measuring the chemical composition of seawater, observing local flora and fauna, or determining the best location for building an underwater pipeline.
If a career in oceanography piques your interest, you will need an undergraduate degree in the sciences (such as Biology or Chemistry) as well as a Master’s degree in Oceanography, Marine Biology, Aquatic Biology, or Hydrogeology. The majority of those who work as oceanographers also belong to the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanography Society (CMOS).
Salary: Those just starting out in the field (or water in this case) make an average of $44,000 per year. Once you get your feet wet, salaries rise to $64,000 – $78,000 after several years of experience.
From polar bears to moose, Canada is home to a plethora of beautiful creatures spread out across the country’s vast landscape. If you love animals and want to ensure that Canada maintains its wildlife diversity, a career as a wildlife biologist is your calling.
In a nutshell, wildlife biologists are in charge of conserving wildlife populations. They are tasked with evaluating the impact that development and environmental change has on the growth rates of various species in a particular ecosystem. Some on-the-job duties as wildlife biologist include: monitoring the status of wildlife populations to determine the number of hunting permits that can be given out for each species, supervising habitat restoration projects, and studying animal behaviour in the field. Like many of the jobs on this list, you will also spend some time in the lab processing samples and analyzing the data that you have collected.
If being a wildlife biologist sounds appealing to you, an undergraduate degree will be required at the bare minimum. For most jobs, a Master’s degree or Ph.D. is recommended. Programs such as Wildlife Biology, Zoology, Environmental Science, Habitat Restoration, and Ecology are most applicable for students interested in becoming a wildlife biologist. Additionally, ECO Canada offers Environmental Professional certification, and you can apply to your province’s biologist association to become a Registered Professional Biologist. Obtaining one or both of these designations will give you a leg up on your competition.
Salary: The average starting salary for a wildlife biologist is just over $47,000 according to a 2013 study by ECO Canada. Once in their fifth year of employment, that number jumps substantially to $74,000.
For students who have an affinity towards plants and love spending their time surrounded by delicate flowers and towering, age-old trees, pursuing a career as a botanist might be a great idea.
As a botanist, you will get to spend a considerable amount of your working hours outdoors studying plant growth and function, keeping a close eye on at-risk species, and measuring the effects that rainfall, temperature, and sunlight on the health of an area’s flora. Botany is a diverse subject area, and many who pursue it will specialize in a specific area such as plant physiology or plant taxonomy. Botanists typically spend the majority of their summers in the field and the rest of the year working in a greenhouse or herbarium (a fancy word for “plant lab”).
A career in botany will require an undergraduate degree from a program such as Botany, Biology, Conservation Biology, Ecology, or Environmental Science. Those who pursue a graduate degree will see a nice bump in their salary (see below).
Salary: Although it may not be the highest paying job on our list, botanists with a graduate degree and several years of experience can make up to $68,000.
Did you own a pet rock as a kid? Are you fascinated by volcanoes and earthquakes? Enjoy playing in the mud? If so, you might be well-suited to working as an environmental geologist.
Environmental geologists are tasked with studying the earth and anticipating geological issues, such as mudslides. It is a job for those who care about minimizing our impact as humans on the environment, since this is a key way of measuring the stress we put on the earth and how building and construction in particular alter a landscape. On a weekly basis, environmental geologists collect soil and rock samples, use instruments to record geophysical measurements, study mineral resources, and identify natural risks such as earthquakes and mudslides.
To become an environmental geologist, you’ll need an undergraduate degree in a program such as Geology, Geological Engineering, or Environmental Science. The profession is also regulated in every province and territory except for Prince Edward Island and Yukon. Unless you are working in one of these two places, you will need to be registered and licensed with your local provincial association as a Professional Geoscientist.
Salary: The average pay for a geologist in Canada is just under $79,000 per year with entry level positions starting at $35,000 – $50,000.
If you are passionate about the outdoors and all of your friends call you a “tree hugger” then a career as a professional forester has your name written all over it.
Working as a forester requires a broad range of skills as duties can vary considerably from job to job. The outdoor aspects of this career option include monitoring the overall health of the forest by taking measurements, recording data, and conducting surveys, and developing plans to protect the forest from insects, disease, and fire. You will also have a chance give presentations and educate the public on sustainable practices.
How does one become a forester? First, you’ll need an undergraduate degree, preferably in one of the following disciplines: Ecology, Forestry, Environmental Science, Natural Resource Management, or Environmental Studies. Most provinces in Canada will also require you to be certified as a Registered Professional Forester in order to work. Each province has its own professional foresters association with different requirements (usually in the form of an exam and/or general knowledge assessment) for obtaining your Registered Professional Forester designation.
Salary: The median pay for a professional forester is $68,000 with entry level salaries in the range of $40,000 – $50,000 and those with 10-15 years of experience earning between $80,000 and $90,000.
There you have it! If you’re looking for an egg-citing career where you can work in the great outdoors while helping to protect them, one of these career choices could be ideal for you. Furthermore, these unique careers offer you the chance to have a meaningful impact on the environment, measuring and advocating the best ways to protect our planet.