A few years ago (2016), the US GDB received $373.3 billion from outdoor recreation, outpacing contributions from the mining and utility sectors. These stats clearly indicate that the outdoor education sector is still growing.
According to The Statesman Journal, outdoor recreation grew at a rate of 3.8%, above the 2.8% growth of the entire economy.
According to a press statement from US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, “As we disclose sample figures assessing the impact of activities like hiking, camping, hunting, RVing, fishing, boating, and more, the public will undoubtedly be surprised by the industry’s economic value.”
That being said, jobs that require a degree in outdoor education are more in demand than ever because of the sector’s explosive growth. So, now is the right time to explore what you can do with an outdoor education degree, starting with a few career options mentioned below:
1. Survivor School Instructor
Fans of the TV show “The Walking Dead” know exactly how important survival skills may be in an emergency. There are many strong reasons for urban inhabitants to learn how to live off the land, zombie apocalypses included!
Enter outdoor, wilderness, and survival schools. Of course, there are different types of schools with varied focus areas, from water survival to primitive skills (and “gross eat challenges”). However, their main goal is to provide participants with the practical experience to solve the many diverse situations that can arise in the wilderness.
So, how does someone become a survival school instructor? The short answer to this question is obtaining a bachelor in outdoor education. While enrolled in such a degree program, you will learn everything there is to know about wilderness survival.
From learning how to build ropes to participating in mock rescues, including water rescues, you will learn every element of what it takes to survive out in the world. However, that’s just the first step to becoming a survival school instructor.
Once you obtain your bachelor’s degree in outdoor education, you must enroll in an Advanced Wilderness First Aid Course. This 80-hour program will help you polish your first-aid skills, which can be a lifesaver in emergency survival situations.
According to ZipRecruiter, survival instructors make around 60,090 dollars annually or $29 per hour. Ultimately, the role pays well and allows you to learn more about the wilderness and teach others how to survive in emergencies.
2. Park Ranger
Becoming a park ranger means more than just carrying out mundane daily tasks – it’s a thrilling and diverse career path that offers countless opportunities for adventure and excitement! The phrase “park ranger” encompasses various roles, from law enforcement to environmental specialists to historians.
As a park ranger, you’ll protect state and national parks and the species, ecosystems, and visitors that call them home.
At the end of the day, with so many different paths to pursue after obtaining a bachelor’s degree in outdoor education, becoming a park ranger is an exciting and fulfilling career choice perfect for anyone looking for a little adventure in their day-to-day work.
According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual salary of a park ranger is around 41,682 dollars or $20 per hour.
3. Recreation Director/Manager
If you love spending time outside and consider yourself an organized individual, you are in for an exhilarating career path! It’s time for recreational management to take center stage in your life. The role of a recreation manager is to effectively manage and organize recreational programs offered by various public and private parks, sports facilities, community centers, and other institutions.
As stated by JobHero, recreation management offers a vast array of responsibilities, such as planning, organizing, and supervising the administration of services, programs, and activities related to sports and fitness.
As a recreation manager, you’ll be responsible for overseeing coaches and other personnel involved in administering recreation programs. Not only that, but you’ll also be working on publicity and funding for the recreational programs, making you a crucial component of the team!
According to the BLS, the average annual salary of a recreation manager is around 54,791 dollars per year, making it one of the highest-paying outdoor-related career choices!
4. Forest School Teacher
The outdoors is regarded by many people who like outdoor activities as the best classroom on Earth. These days, more schools around the globe are embracing this perspective. Forest school is a specialized learning technique that combines hands-on learning with a woodland or natural setting.
That said, the term “forest school” refers to a philosophy in which students frequently work in an outdoor natural setting over a lengthy period of time (typically a year) to develop their creativity and self-confidence.
Even though conducting a forest school might require specific qualifications, regular classroom teachers might incorporate forest school methods into their curricula. The same concepts still hold true even though forest school is generally a component of a larger educational mix in which students spend time outside, perhaps once per week.
That being said, being a forest school teacher means you will be responsible for a wide range of tasks, from those centered on childcare to those more analogous to ranger responsibilities, as you promote children’s growth while safeguarding the environment in which they live.
As a forest school instructor, you will organize and direct the daily conduct of forest school programs that support learning outside and adhere to the forest school’s ethos.
Moreover, by gathering risk-benefit evaluations and putting risk management procedures in place, you will ensure that the forest school’s children’s section is secure.
Additionally, you will address your group’s welfare needs, such as clothing and shelter, restrooms with handwashing stations, food, and drink.
According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual salary of a forest school teacher in the US is around 37,082 dollars per year.
5. Recreation Instructor/Guide
Are you a devoted outdoor enthusiast searching for a fulfilling career that will allow you to share your passion with others? If so, there’s great news! A job as an outdoor recreation guide or instructor would be ideal.
As a recreation instructor, you can show others how to engage in their favorite outdoor activities, such as hiking, climbing, caving, rafting, kayaking, diving, skiing, fishing, or tramping.
You will empower people to explore the great outdoors and push their limits. In fact, you will be the one who introduces them to new experiences and helps them build confidence in their abilities. And the best part? You’ll be doing something you love and get paid for it!
Even though a bachelor’s degree in outdoor education doesn’t offer the highest salary, spending your days doing what you love while bonding with others who share your passion is priceless.
Just imagine the excitement of teaching a group of people how to navigate a challenging hiking trail or showing a group of beginners how to carve down a snow-covered mountain on skis.
We hope this article convinced you to pursue a degree in outdoor education. If you have anything to add, please do so in the comments below.