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Top 8 Jobs in Nature for Outdoor Enthusiasts

If you are a nature lover like us, you likely can’t get enough of being outside and enjoying the clean air, the sounds of birds chirping, and the natural beauty all around us. Jobs in nature let you get paid to do the things you already enjoy like hiking, observing wildlife, and getting your hands dirty.

Being cooped up in an office five days a week simply doesn’t work for some folks. For us, careers in nature can provide what we need to feel whole and fulfilled at work. This guide reviews the best jobs in nature and recommends degree programs to help get you on the right track toward your dream career outdoors. Whether you want to fight climate change – or work with cute animals every day – the perfect outdoor job is waiting for you! 

a farmer watering his plants in a greenhouse

Why consider careers in nature?

In the past few years, there has been a resurgence of interest in being outdoors. People of all ages are spending more time outside, going to parks, going to the beach, and doing a range of outdoor activities including hiking and camping. So, it’s only natural (pun intended) that more people are interested in jobs in nature. Jobs that deal with animals and nature are particularly popular right now. The good news is there are so many careers working with animals indoors and outdoors! 

There are numerous benefits to careers in nature including:

  • Improved mental health
  • Improved physical health
  • Greater connection to the earth
  • Increased job satisfaction
  • More focus and energy during and after work

8 Careers in Nature for Outdoor Enthusiasts

We’ve researched some of the top paying careers in nature so that you can find your dream job. All kinds of outdoor enthusiasts can find their dream role in this list of jobs in nature.

  • Environmental Engineer
  • Wildlife Biologist
  • Botanist
  • Park Ranger
  • Organic Farmer
  • Environmental Consultant
  • Sustainability Manager
  • Environmental Science and Protection Technician

Environmental Engineer 

Median annual salary: $92,120

If you are looking for nature jobs that pay well, look no further! Some senior environmental engineers earn over six figures. This job involves problem-solving and working as a team to protect people and the environment from various hazards. The work is a mix of in the office and the field. It’s common to find environmental engineers in government agencies and nonprofit organizations, so you can find an employer that is a good fit for you and your work style. 

Recommended degree/program: B.S. in Environmental Science and Climate Change

Looking for other high-paying environmental jobs? Learn more about the highest paying environmental careers from experts at Unity Environmental University. 

Wildlife Biologist

Median annual salary: $66,350

Wildlife biologist is one of the best nature jobs for animal lovers. You get to work in close proximity to animals almost every day! Wildlife biologists spend a lot of their work time in the field studying animals in their natural habitats. They may work for conservation organizations, universities, or government agencies. There are also scientists who work in zoos to study animals in captivity. They are usually referred to as zoologists, but their jobs are very similar to wildlife biologists and a similar educational background is required. 

Recommended degree/program: B.S. in Wildlife Conservation

Do you think you might be interested in studying wildlife? You can try a 5-week online course over your summer break to begin your exploration of jobs for nature lovers. 

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Median annual salary: $66,750

A botanist is a scientist who studies plants. Zoologist is a great job for people who love animals, and botanist is a great job for people who love nature. The job responsibilities of a botanist include conducting fieldwork and studying plants in a lab. They often work for government agencies such as the EPA or public health services, but many botanists work in the private sector as well. 

If you are interested in conservation, you could work at an arboretum or botanical garden. If you are interested in research, you could work for a biotech or pharmaceutical company. The options for plant-focused careers are vast. 

Recommended degree/program: B.S. in Wildlife Conservation

Park Ranger

Median annual salary: $64,020

State parks, national parks, and other natural areas employ park rangers to enforce rules to protect the natural resources and environment of the park, its wildlife, and human visitors. Park rangers serve both law enforcement and educational purposes. 

Larger parks may have different types of rangers that focus on different tasks such as hosting educational programs in the park, helping with wildlife rehabilitation, or patrolling campgrounds. Some larger, well-funded local parks may also have rangers. No matter what kind of park or forest you work in, you should expect to spend most of your workday outside. Like other jobs that involve nature, there may be some manual labor required. 

Recommended degree/program: B.S. in Conservation Law Enforcement

Organic Farmer

Median annual salary: $68,090

Farming is a timeless classic on the list of jobs that get you out in nature. It has been around for ages. However, many city dwellers have become disconnected from how their food gets to their plates. If you are passionate about food production, then consider a career as an organic farmer in a rural or urban setting. 

This may also be a good option if you are interested in working for yourself. This can be challenging, especially as you build your farming business, but it can also be extremely rewarding. The job involves a lot of difficult manual labor outdoors in addition to some business savvy. 

Recommended degree/program: B.S. in Sustainable Business Management: Sustainable Food and Farming

If you are interested in urban farming but aren’t ready to jump into a bachelor’s degree program yet, consider this 8-week course on sustainable design in urban environments from Unity Environmental University.

Environmental Consultant

Median annual salary: $73,230

Another outdoor environmental job that allows you to work for yourself is being an environmental consultant. Consultants may be hired full-time as employees or work on project-based assignments. The job has a lot of flexibility. You may work in nonprofits or for local, federal, or international government agencies. 

Many environmental consultants also seek higher education in the form of certificates or a master’s degree with a specific focus such as hazardous waste management or sustainability. This job involves working closely with others and presenting your findings in meetings. A good environmental consultant has strong communication skills and a clear passion for environmental stewardship and solving environmental problems. 

Recommended degree/program: B.S. in Environmental Studies

Sustainability Manager 

Median annual salary: $73,230

There is such a wide range of jobs involving nature that there is truly something for everyone. For nature lovers who are interested in business management, a career as a sustainability manager may be very rewarding. It’s different from other jobs that are in nature because you may spend a good amount of time indoors in meetings and on phone calls. However, it’s a good mix of office and outdoor work. Like environmental consultants, sustainability managers should have strong communication skills and be able to synthesize complex information and present it in a way that various stakeholders can understand it. 

Recommended degree/program: B.S. in Environmental Studies

Environmental Science and Protection Technician

Median annual salary: $46,850

It may be at the bottom of the list, but being an environmental science and protection technician is still one of the best jobs to work with nature. Many careers with nature require a bachelor’s degree or higher, but some environmental science and protection technician positions only require an associate degree. This is a great job prospect if you don’t want to pursue a bachelor’s yet. 

The job includes being in the field and in a lab. Your primary responsibility would be to conduct tests to monitor the environment for pollution and contaminants. Environmental science and protection technicians often work for utility companies and government agencies. This nature-related job is ideal for people who like hands-on work. 

Recommended degree/program: B.S. in Environmental Health and Safety

Explore Jobs in Nature with Unity Environmental University

If being outdoors makes you feel the most alive, then finding a job working in nature is probably the right path for you! As humanity begins to see the effects of climate change more and more, the trend toward environmental awareness and sustainability will continue to increase. As a result, jobs with nature as their focus will continue to be in demand. Unity Environmental University provides online, in-person, and hybrid degree programs to prepare you for one of the many growing fields for outdoor environmental jobs. 

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