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Ditch the suit: 10 awesome outdoor jobs for those who prefer hiking boots

October 26, 2016
Recreation jobs
The Outdoor Leadership minor provides outdoor job training to students.

For many, the idea of being chained to a desk on a sunny summer day is just unbearable. For these explorers, even getting through college with its hours of lectures and stuffy libraries presents a challenge.

Well, fear not adventurers, York College of Pennsylvania has created the perfect minor for you.

The Outdoor Leadership minor under York College’s highly successful Recreation and Leisure Administration program provides outdoor job training to students who crave adventure. 

At the helm of this haven for eager students clamoring for exciting outdoor jobs is Dr. Brian Malcarne, Assistant Professor of Recreation & Leisure Administration.

The Outdoor Leadership minor includes two mandatory courses in outdoor job education: “Intro to Outdoor Leadership” and “Outdoor Expedition Leadership”, as well as one course in a complementary field such as science or education, three physical education courses emphasizing outdoor activities, a ropes course facilitation course, an intensive internship, or a leadership course.

“Intro to Outdoor Leadership exposes students to basic skills,” Malcarne says. “Our focus is very much on leading groups and working with people. We focus on learning and then doing.”

So what can you do with a college degree and a love of the outdoors? Well here are a few of many options:

  • Nature photographer

Capture the imagination and the beauty of wildlife. Nature photographers are employed by magazines, scientists, and nonprofits to interest the public in preserving what they may not see in their daily lives.

  • Field biologist

If your tastes tend toward the creepy crawly or if you enjoy complex problem solving, consider a career as a field biologist. Rather than spending days gazing in a microscope, field biologists range diverse landscapes documenting flora and fauna, collecting samples, and examining the relationships of complex ecosystems.

  • Park Ranger

Those with an interest in law enforcement, education or who have an abundance of civic pride may want to explore the many opportunities available in county, state and national parks. From classes in gardening to cracking down on poaching; park rangers provide expertise, safety and protection in our wild spaces.

  • Environmental Educator

Love teaching but can’t stand being cooped up in a classroom? Environmental educators specialize in teaching the outdoors by leading classes which experience it. Show the next generation how to safely explore the woods, or reveal the wonders of wild edibles to a lifetime city dweller with this blend of adventure and education.

  • Youth development leader

The ability to work with children is highly sought out and extremely rewarding. Careers in this field include working with children with disabilities, who have anger management issues, or whose caregivers have let them down. The outdoors can be a safe space to express energy and emotion and anyone with a love of nature and energetic kids would do well in this career.

  • Eco-tourism

Sustainability and preservation are increasingly entering vacation planning. Eco-tourism provides a way to ensure the longevity of traditional cultures and natural places by encouraging interest though first-hand experience, and brings badly needed funding to the local community.

  • Adventure Guide

Know the trails like the back of your hand? What if you could get paid to help others explore what you already know? Many companies are investing in well trained guides to facilitate exploration. Or start your own company and provide a new spin on a beloved landscape.

  • Adventure Sports

Only thrill seekers need apply! From coaching to competition, outdoor sports provide an escape from the ordinary.

  • Outdoor therapist

Physical and mental injuries alike can benefit from fresh air and medically supervised recreation. Blend medicine and nature and help people build strength and confidence by sharing your love of the earth.

  • Camp manager

A far cry from Camp Grenada, today's camps provide sophisticated and specialized instruction in watersports, rock climbing, and all aspects of the outdoors. A degree in recreation with an Outdoor Leadership minor can pave the way to supervise all aspects of a successful camp. 


York College is proud to offer one of the best Recreation and Leisure Administration programs in Pennsylvania. Within our recreation and leisure major, students can choose either a Recreation Management emphasis or a Recreational Therapy emphasis. Where will your degree in Recreation and Leisure Administration take you?