20 high-paying jobs not in an office
Break free from your cubicle! These careers come with high earnings and a change of scenery.
Not everyone dreams of making it to the corner office—some people are specifically looking for jobs not in an office.
Maybe you’re one of them. The good news is that you don’t have to sacrifice a comfortable lifestyle by giving up an uncomfortable desk chair. If you’re looking for a job that offers a change of scenery but that still has high earning potential, start your search with this list.
These 20 jobs allow workers to spend all or most of their time outside of an office and have median pay of at least $75,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Salary levels are determined by your level of experience, specialty field, and where in the country you're employed. For example, a construction manager salary in New York City is 10% higher than the national median; a petroleum engineer salary in Irvine, California, is 15% higher than the national median; and an environmental engineer salary in Philadelphia is 3% lower than the national median.
Airline and commercial pilot
What it pays: $115,670 per year
What you'd do: Airline and commercial pilots fly and navigate airplanes, helicopters and other aircraft to transport people or cargo. You also may fly aircraft for other purposes, such as charter flights, rescue operations, firefighting, aerial photography and aerial application (crop-dusting).
Where you’d do it: In the air! Pilots may spend a considerable amount of time away from home because of overnight layovers. Bear in mind: Many pilots have variable schedules.
Find airline and commercial pilot jobs on Monster.
Air traffic controller
What it pays: $124,540 per year
What you’d do: Air traffic controllers work around the clock to coordinate air traffic. They are responsible for monitoring and directing aircraft to ensure safe air travel. Tasks include providing pilots with landing and takeoff information and weather updates, and controlling airport ground traffic.
Where you’d do it: In a control tower. The towers are usually located close to large airports. Most control facilities work continuously to ensure safe plane arrivals and departures, which means controllers usually work in rotating shifts.
Find air traffic controller jobs on Monster.
What it pays: $94,110 per year
What you'd do: Atmospheric scientists study the climate and weather to see how they affect humans and the Earth. They are responsible for collecting data in the field, making forecasts, monitoring weather conditions and informing areas that are faced with a severe-weather threat.
Where you’d do it: In the eye of the storm, on occasion. To perform research, atmospheric scientists need data on weather events, which can mean getting up close and personal with a tornado or hopping in an airplane to observe the weather from up high.
Find atmospheric scientist jobs on Monster.
What it pays: $93,280 per year
What you'd do: Biochemists are instrumental in developing new medicines by studying the chemical principles of living things and of biological processes. Tasks include conducting experiments with high-tech systems to understand more about molecular mechanisms, the evolution of plants and animals, and the passing of genetic traits to successive generations.
Where you’d do it: In a laboratory working full time, most likely with a team. To conduct experiments, especially ones that involve dangerous organisms or toxic substances, one needs to be in a safe environment to avoid contamination.
Find biochemist jobs on Monster.
What it pays: $88,550 per year
What you'd do: Biomedical engineers combine a knowledge of engineering and medicine to design products and new procedures. Things you might design include artificial internal organs, body-part replacements or machines that diagnose medical problems.
Where you’d do it: A hospital, a manufacturing setting or a laboratory. Biomedical engineers can work in the therapy section of hospitals or in a laboratory to conduct research, or they may work in a manufacturing setting designing medical products.
Find biomedical engineer jobs on Monster.
What it pays: $93,370 per year
What you'd do: Construction managers lead construction projects, overseeing the whole process for a variety of projects, including public, residential, commercial or industrial structures; roads; memorials; and bridges. Your responsibilities include planning, coordinating and budgeting an entire project. Learn how to become a construction manager.
Where you’d do it: Most construction managers have a main office to report to periodically, but the majority of time is spent at construction sites to easily monitor the work and make decisions more quickly. You may have to travel between multiple sites.
Find construction manager jobs on Monster.
Elevator installer and repairer
What it pays: $79,780 per year
What you'd do: Elevator installers and repairers install, fix, and maintain elevators, escalators, moving walkways and other lifts. They must have knowledge of hydraulics, electronics and electricity to perform the job, which mostly consists of preventive work.
Where you’d do it: In cramped spaces, elevator shafts or machine rooms. Some of these working conditions—being in small crawl spaces or being suspended high in an elevator shaft—are outside of many people’s comfort zones.
Find elevator installer and repairer jobs on Monster.
What it pays: $87,620 per year
What you'd do: Environmental engineers study environmental problems and ways to solve them. The principles of engineering, chemistry and biology are used to improve recycling, waste disposal, public health, and water and air quality. Some environmental engineers study ways to minimize the effects of acid rain, climate change, automobile emissions, and ozone depletion.
Where you’d do it: At specific outdoor locations when conducting studies with hazardous materials.
Find environmental engineer jobs on Monster.
What it pays: $80,300 per year
What you'd do: Geographers study the Earth and its land, features and inhabitants, as well as the effects and relationships geography has on the culture, economy, politics, and environment. Research can be used to make decisions on the location of structures, on improved response to disasters and to develop marketing strategies.
Where you’d do it: In the field. To study the land, geographers travel to the sites they are researching, whether at a nearby location or in a foreign country.
Find geographer jobs on Monster.
What it pays: $91,130 per year
What you'd do: Geoscientists study the physical aspects of the Earth. Many collect rock samples to conduct research on the past, present, and future and to search for natural resources. You might work in specific areas like oceanography or environmental protection and preservation.
Where you’d do it: Outdoors, often in remote locations. Searching for natural resources can take scientists all over the world in all sorts of weather conditions. Reaching these locations may require unexpected forms of transportation, including helicopters, boats, or four-wheelers.
Find geoscientist jobs on Monster.
What it pays: $79,370 per year
What you'd do: Hydrologists study how water influences the environment and how changes in the environment affect the quality and quantity of water. They determine solutions to water quality and availability issues and develop conservation plans with biologists.
Where you’d do it: Wading in lakes or streams in order to collect samples, view results from monitoring equipment, and make sure the equipment is running properly. The job often requires travel.
Find hydrologist jobs on Monster.
Judge and hearing officer
What it pays: $117,190 per year
What you'd do: Judges and hearing officers oversee the legal process in courts. They can supervise hearings of all kinds, such as traffic offenses or issues concerning large corporations’ rights. The main purpose is to interpret the law to determine how to proceed for different cases.
Where you’d do it: Courtrooms, sitting for long periods of time paying close attention to the case at hand.
Find judge and hearing officer jobs on Monster.
Mining and geological engineer
What it pays: $92,250 per year
What you'd do: Mining and geological engineers design mines to allow for safe removal of minerals for use in manufacturing and utilities. Responsibilities also include supervising the construction process and advising miners, managers, and other engineers.
Where you’d do it: Mines and other remote locations. You must keep a close eye on your designs, which means traveling often to mining worksites.
Find mining and geological engineer jobs on Monster.
Nuclear power plant operator
What it pays: $83,020 per year
What you'd do: Nuclear power plant operators control reactors to generate electrical power, adjusting control rods to determine how much electricity is generated and responding to irregularities through corrective actions. When equipment is stopped and started again, the data is recorded for future use.
Where you’d do it: In nuclear power plants. Operators usually work in rotating shifts of either 8 or 12 hours, as constant monitoring and inspections are necessary.
Find nuclear power plant operator jobs on Monster.
What it pays: $100,590 per year
What you'd do: Nurse midwives act as the primary care providers for women and newborn babies. Duties include delivering babies, providing surgical assistance to physicians, and managing emergency medical situations during labor, as well as educating patients on wellness care, focusing on nutrition and disease prevention.
Where you’d do it: Birthing centers or patients’ homes. You may travel to women’s homes to help deliver babies or perform exams.
Find nurse midwife jobs on Monster.
What it pays: $137,170 per year
What you'd do: Petroleum engineers are responsible for designing the methods to extract oil and gas from the Earth. This includes researching new ways to obtain oil and gas, designing the equipment, and constructing extraction plans. Once the process starts, operations must be monitored to make sure everything runs smoothly.
Where you’d do it: Drilling sites. Petroleum engineers spend lots of time on-site to observe and quickly respond to problems. Sites are located all over the world, so travel to foreign countries is common.
Find petroleum engineer jobs on Monster.
Physicist and astronomer
What it pays: $119,580 per year
What you'd do: Physicists and astronomers study how matter and energy interact. Some individuals work to expand the knowledge of our world through research, while others apply findings in fields such as energy, electronics, communications, navigation, and medical technology.
Where you’d do it: National or international facilities. Travel may be necessary to access unique equipment, such as gamma ray telescopes.
Find physicist and astronomer jobs on Monster.
What it pays: $101,420 per year
What you'd do: Sales engineers specialize in selling technologically and scientifically advanced products to businesses. You must have a complete understanding of the products or processes being sold, a willingness to negotiate, and the ability to close a sale.
Where you’d do it: Sales engineers can expect constant travel in pursuit of new businesses to sell to. Territories often span multiple states and require travel to foreign countries.
Find sales engineer jobs on Monster.
What it pays: $124,220 per year
What you'd do: Sales managers direct an organization’s sales teams, ensuring everyone stays on track to reach their goals.
Where you’d do it: Wherever the company has sales teams, which can include travel to national, regional, and local departments.
Find sales manager jobs on Monster.
What it pays: $93,830 per year
What you'd do: Veterinarians diagnose, treat, and research animals’ medical problems. Your patients are animals of all sizes, including domestic pets and livestock. Treatment methods include prescribing medicine as well as performing surgery.
Where you’d do it: Most veterinarians work in private clinics or hospitals, but some travel to farms, slaughterhouses, and food-processing plants to inspect the health of animals and the safety conditions.
Find veterinarian jobs on Monster.
Get out there
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