Best Outdoor Careers That Pay Well

Stan T.

  1. Ship Pilots
  2. What they do

    They command ships to steer them into and out of harbors, estuaries, straits, or sounds, or on rivers, lakes, or bays. Must be licensed by U.S. Coast Guard with limitations indicating class and tonnage of vessels for which license is valid and route and waters that may be piloted.

    • Direct courses and speeds of ships, based on specialized knowledge of local winds, weather, water depths, tides, currents, and hazards.
    • Steer ships into or out of berths, or signal tugboat captains to berth or unberth ships.
    • Set ships' courses to avoid reefs, outlying shoals, or other hazards, using navigational aids, such as lighthouses or buoys.
    • Prevent ships under navigational control from engaging in unsafe operations.

    How much they make

    $82380

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  3. Aquacultural Managers
  4. What they do

    They direct and coordinate, through subordinate supervisory personnel, activities of workers engaged in fish hatchery production for corporations, cooperatives, or other owners.

    • Grow fish and shellfish as cash crops or for release into freshwater or saltwater.
    • Monitor environments to ensure maintenance of optimum conditions for aquatic life.
    • Supervise and train aquaculture and fish hatchery support workers.
    • Determine, administer, and execute policies relating to operations administration and standards, and facility maintenance.

    How much they make

    $79940

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  5. Nursery and Greenhouse Managers
  6. What they do

    They plan, organize, direct, control, and coordinate activities of workers engaged in propagating, cultivating, and harvesting horticultural specialties, such as trees, shrubs, flowers, mushrooms, and other plants.

    • Manage nurseries that grow horticultural plants for sale to trade or retail customers, for display or exhibition, or for research.
    • Identify plants as well as problems such as diseases, weeds, and insect pests.
    • Tour work areas to observe work being done, to inspect crops, and to evaluate plant and soil conditions.
    • Assign work schedules and duties to nursery or greenhouse staff, and supervise their work.

    How much they make

    $79940

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  7. Farm and Ranch Managers
  8. What they do

    They plan, direct, or coordinate the management or operation of farms, ranches, greenhouses, aquacultural operations, nurseries, timber tracts, or other agricultural establishments. May hire, train, or supervise farm workers or contract for services to carry out the day-to-day activities of the managed operation. May engage in or supervise planting, cultivating, harvesting, financial, or marketing activities.

    • Operate or oversee the operations of dairy farms that produce bulk milk.
    • Inspect orchards or fields to determine crop maturity or condition or to detect disease or insect infestation.
    • Direct crop production operations, such as planning, tilling, planting, fertilizing, cultivating, spraying, or harvesting.
    • Monitor activities, such as irrigation, chemical application, harvesting, milking, breeding, or grading, to ensure adherence to safety regulations or standards.

    How much they make

    $79940

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  9. Ship Engineers
  10. What they do

    They supervise and coordinate activities of crew engaged in operating and maintaining engines, boilers, deck machinery, and electrical, sanitary, and refrigeration equipment aboard ship.

    • Start engines to propel ships, and regulate engines and power transmissions to control speeds of ships, according to directions from captains or bridge computers.
    • Maintain or repair engines, electric motors, pumps, winches, or other mechanical or electrical equipment, or assist other crew members with maintenance or repair duties.
    • Perform or participate in emergency drills, as required.
    • Monitor engine, machinery, or equipment indicators when vessels are underway, and report abnormalities to appropriate shipboard staff.

    How much they make

    $75710

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  11. Gas Plant Operators
  12. What they do

    They distribute or process gas for utility companies and others by controlling compressors to maintain specified pressures on main pipelines.

    • Distribute or process gas for utility companies or industrial plants, using panel boards, control boards, and semi-automatic equipment.
    • Monitor transportation and storage of flammable and other potentially dangerous products to ensure that safety guidelines are followed.
    • Monitor equipment functioning, observe temperature, level, and flow gauges, and perform regular unit checks to ensure that all equipment is operating as it should.
    • Control operation of compressors, scrubbers, evaporators, and refrigeration equipment to liquefy, compress, or regasify natural gas.

    How much they make

    $71470

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  13. Petroleum Pump System Operators
  14. What they do

    They operate or control petroleum refining or processing units. May specialize in controlling manifold and pumping systems, gauging or testing oil in storage tanks, or regulating the flow of oil into pipelines.

    • Monitor process indicators, instruments, gauges, and meters to detect and report any possible problems.
    • Start pumps and open valves or use automated equipment to regulate the flow of oil in pipelines and into and out of tanks.
    • Control or operate manifold and pumping systems to circulate liquids through a petroleum refinery.
    • Operate control panels to coordinate and regulate process variables such as temperature and pressure, and to direct product flow rate, according to process schedules.

    How much they make

    $70630

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  15. Surveyors
  16. What they do

    They make exact measurements and determine property boundaries. Provide data relevant to the shape, contour, gravitation, location, elevation, or dimension of land or land features on or near the earth's surface for engineering, mapmaking, mining, land evaluation, construction, and other purposes.

    • Verify the accuracy of survey data, including measurements and calculations conducted at survey sites.
    • Direct or conduct surveys to establish legal boundaries for properties, based on legal deeds and titles.
    • Prepare or supervise preparation of all data, charts, plots, maps, records, and documents related to surveys.
    • Prepare and maintain sketches, maps, reports, and legal descriptions of surveys to describe, certify, and assume liability for work performed.

    How much they make

    $66440

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  17. Park Naturalists
  18. What they do

    They plan, develop, and conduct programs to inform public of historical, natural, and scientific features of national, state, or local park.

    • Conduct field trips to point out scientific, historic, and natural features of parks, forests, historic sites, or other attractions.
    • Prepare and present illustrated lectures and interpretive talks about park features.
    • Plan and organize public events at the park.
    • Provide visitor services, such as explaining regulations, answering visitor requests, needs and complaints, and providing information about the park and surrounding areas.

    How much they make

    $65320

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  19. Fire Investigators
  20. What they do

    They conduct investigations to determine causes of fires and explosions.

    • Prepare and maintain reports of investigation results, and records of convicted arsonists and arson suspects.
    • Testify in court cases involving fires, suspected arson, and false alarms.
    • Package collected pieces of evidence in securely closed containers, such as bags, crates, or boxes, to protect them.
    • Analyze evidence and other information to determine probable cause of fire or explosion.

    How much they make

    $64140

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  21. Construction and Building Inspectors
  22. What they do

    They inspect structures using engineering skills to determine structural soundness and compliance with specifications, building codes, and other regulations. Inspections may be general in nature or may be limited to a specific area, such as electrical systems or plumbing.

    • Inspect bridges, dams, highways, buildings, wiring, plumbing, electrical circuits, sewers, heating systems, or foundations during and after construction for structural quality, general safety, or conformance to specifications and codes.
    • Inspect facilities or installations to determine their environmental impact.
    • Issue permits for construction, relocation, demolition, or occupancy.
    • Monitor installation of plumbing, wiring, equipment, or appliances to ensure that installation is performed properly and is in compliance with applicable regulations.

    How much they make

    $63150

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  23. Commercial Divers
  24. What they do

    They work below surface of water, using scuba gear to inspect, repair, remove, or install equipment and structures. May use a variety of power and hand tools, such as drills, sledgehammers, torches, and welding equipment. May conduct tests or experiments, rig explosives, or photograph structures or marine life.

    • Take appropriate safety precautions, such as monitoring dive lengths and depths and registering with authorities before diving expeditions begin.
    • Check and maintain diving equipment, such as helmets, masks, air tanks, harnesses, or gauges.
    • Communicate with workers on the surface while underwater, using signal lines or telephones.
    • Descend into water with the aid of diver helpers, using scuba gear or diving suits.

    How much they make

    $59470

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  25. Fish and Game Wardens
  26. What they do

    They patrol assigned area to prevent fish and game law violations. Investigate reports of damage to crops or property by wildlife. Compile biological data.

    • Patrol assigned areas by car, boat, airplane, horse, or on foot to enforce game, fish, or boating laws or to manage wildlife programs, lakes, or land.
    • Compile and present evidence for court actions.
    • Investigate hunting accidents or reports of fish or game law violations.
    • Protect and preserve native wildlife, plants, or ecosystems.

    How much they make

    $59260

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  27. Telecom Technicians
  28. What they do

    They install and repair telecommunications cable, including fiber optics.

    • Set up service for customers, installing, connecting, testing, or adjusting equipment.
    • Explain cable service to subscribers after installation and collect any installation fees that are due.
    • Travel to customers' premises to install, maintain, or repair audio and visual electronic reception equipment or accessories.
    • Measure signal strength at utility poles, using electronic test equipment.

    How much they make

    $59000

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  29. Airfield Operations Specialists
  30. What they do

    They ensure the safe takeoff and landing of commercial and military aircraft. Duties include coordination between air-traffic control and maintenance personnel; dispatching; using airfield landing and navigational aids; implementing airfield safety procedures; monitoring and maintaining flight records; and applying knowledge of weather information.

    • Implement airfield safety procedures to ensure a safe operating environment for personnel and aircraft operation.
    • Assist in responding to aircraft and medical emergencies.
    • Manage wildlife on and around airport grounds.
    • Coordinate with agencies, such as air traffic control, civil engineers, or command posts, to ensure support of airfield management activities.

    How much they make

    $56760

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  31. Forest Fire Inspectors
  32. What they do

    They enforce fire regulations, inspect forest for fire hazards and recommend forest fire prevention or control measures. May report forest fires and weather conditions.

    • Relay messages about emergencies, accidents, locations of crew and personnel, and fire hazard conditions.
    • Conduct wildland firefighting training.
    • Estimate sizes and characteristics of fires, and report findings to base camps by radio or telephone.
    • Direct crews working on firelines during forest fires.

    How much they make

    $49610

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  33. Fallers
  34. What they do

    They use axes or chainsaws to fell trees using knowledge of tree characteristics and cutting techniques to control direction of fall and minimize tree damage.

    • Stop saw engines, pull cutting bars from cuts, and run to safety as tree falls.
    • Appraise trees for certain characteristics, such as twist, rot, and heavy limb growth, and gauge amount and direction of lean, to determine how to control the direction of a tree's fall with the least damage.
    • Saw back-cuts, leaving sufficient sound wood to control direction of fall.
    • Clear brush from work areas and escape routes, and cut saplings and other trees from direction of falls, using axes, chainsaws, or bulldozers.

    How much they make

    $48520

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  35. Surveying Technicians
  36. What they do

    They adjust and operate surveying instruments, such as the theodolite and electronic distance-measuring equipment, and compile notes, make sketches and enter data into computers.

    • Search for section corners, property irons, and survey points.
    • Adjust and operate surveying instruments such as prisms, theodolites, and electronic distance-measuring equipment.
    • Conduct surveys to ascertain the locations of natural features and man-made structures on the Earth's surface, underground, and underwater, using electronic distance-measuring equipment and other surveying instruments.
    • Collect information needed to carry out new surveys, using source maps, previous survey data, photographs, computer records, and other relevant information.

    How much they make

    $47690

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