Career Options for People Who Love Hiking
People who love to hike can incorporate their passion for the activity into careers across various job fields. These careers may vary in the amount of hiking required, but provide plenty of time outdoors and involve traveling terrain on foot. Explore a handful of the available careers for people who love to hike.
|Job Title||Median Salary (2020)*||Job Growth (2019-2029)*|
|Hunting Workers (Including Fishing Workers)||$28,530 (2017)||-8% (Decline)|
|Park Rangers||$40,000**||5% (all conservation scientists and foresters)|
|Wildland Firefighters||$52,500 (all firefighters)||6% (all firefighters)|
|Environmental Science and Protection Technicians||$46,850||8%|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Payscale.com
Career Information for Jobs for People Who Love Hiking
Foresters generally need to hike to reach the different areas in a forest undergoing conservation activities. Foresters oversee these activities, which may include controlled burns, spraying herbicides, planting seedlings and more. These workers also monitor regeneration in these areas and help determine how best to harvest timber from mature areas. Foresters usually need at least a bachelor's degree in the field.
Hunting workers, including hunters and trappers, often need to hike great distances as they track various animals in the wilderness. They may use special animal-finding equipment to search for these animals and then set traps or use rifles, bows and other weapons to capture and/or kill the animal. These workers then sell the animal for food or other purposes, but must make sure they obey all state hunting regulations. Hunting workers do not need a formal education and learn on-the-job.
Not all photographers hike, but for people who love to hike, a career as a nature photographer may be a good match. These photographers may hike to various locations to capture images of different scenery, plants and wildlife. Most photographers use digital cameras and photo-enhancing software to edit their work, which they sell, display and/or include in their professional portfolio. Most photographers do not need a formal degree, but do need to understand the technical side of photography.
Park rangers often need to hike throughout the park to ensure that visitors are safe and serve as law enforcement and/or a first responder in case of emergencies. These professionals may hike with visitors to give tours or interpretive talks, as well as point out natural or historic features of the park. They may also be responsible for maintaining park areas and watching for changes in the nature of the park, like changes in animal behavior. Most park rangers have at least a bachelor's degree.
Although most firefighters do not hike, wildland firefighters are specially trained to hike and combat forest fires. These firefighters must use special heavy equipment to fight the fires and usually create fire lines to cut off fuel for the fires. Wildland firefighters also help with prescribed burns and may use these burns to prevent uncontrolled forest fires. Firefighters need at least a high school diploma and must undergo extensive medical and firefighting training, fitness tests, written tests and interviews.
Environmental Science and Protection Technicians
Environmental science and protection technicians may not hike daily, but often need to hike to various locations to perform tests to check the environmental quality of a given area. This fieldwork requires the collection of air, soil and water samples to test for pollution and contamination back in a laboratory setting. Once the samples are analyzed, these technicians summarize their findings in reports to discuss with their clients and ensure that clients are complying with environmental regulations. Environmental science and protection technicians need at least an associate's degree in environmental science or a related field, but some positions may require a bachelor's degree.