You might be surprised to learn that there are many rewarding positions that don't require you to work a nine to five in an office cubicle. In fact, there are many positions that require only a VET qualification as an entry point that are partially or fully in the great outdoors. Below are five such jobs for people who love working outdoors.


Think that snorkelling and diving is just a holiday activity? In fact, a professional diver can earn an average $95,000 a year in Australia. There are many different duties that you could be asked to perform as a professional diver depending on the role. Some professional divers assist with marine husbandry by removing invasive species, collecting samples for marine analysis or assisting with marine care, such as repopulating coral reefs.

Alternatively, you could be working alongside aquaculture professionals, collecting consumable seafood items such as sea urchins. For such positions, qualifications such as the Certificate III in Seafood Post Harvest Operations or Certificate III in Aquaculture would be beneficial.

You’ll need a divers’ qualification as well as additional qualifications through the VET sector. For your diving qualification, look at the Australian Diver Accreditation Scheme (ADAS) website.

Getting a coxswain’s qualification such as the Certificate II in Maritime Operations (Coxswain Grade 1 Near Coastal) or the Certificate I in Maritime Operations (Coxswain Grade 2 Near Coastal) is often necessary, as you'll be spending a lot of time on boats.


Fancy a life working in the treetops? An arborist is someone who prunes, trims and fells trees. A Certificate III in Arboriculture is the minimum qualification necessary in Australia to become an arborist. This qualification covers not only the ins and outs of working with trees, but also skills such as working safely near power lines, from up on a boom platform and general construction safety.

Though the role is physically demanding, the perks include working outside in the open air with a team of like-minded individuals. As an arborist, you can earn up to $70k in Australia or more if you reach a management or area supervisor role, which can easily earn a six figure salary.

Arborists are needed all over Australia, and in this role you will have the opportunity to see some of the most beautiful areas of the country.

Park Ranger

Park rangers work to preserve national parks, protect flora and fauna and support visitor experiences. This is the perfect role for someone whose biggest love is for Australia’s natural wonders. Be prepared for long drives to and from work as many of Australia’s most stunning parks can be located in remote areas.

Most park rangers report a very high job satisfaction, and attribute this to the variety of daily tasks and stakeholders to interact with, team camaraderie and of course being surrounded by natural splendour.

Ranger roles pay between $50k - $80k on average, and Senior Rangers can easily earn a six-figure salary. A Certificate IV in Conservation and Land Management or Diploma of Conservation and Ecosystem Management is a great first step on this career journey.

Often you’ll be asked to perform a variety of duties relating to the parks, so any qualifications in dealing with animals, pests and plants are also highly regarded. Keep in mind that many national parks are also of high religious and cultural significance to Indigenous peoples, and you could be working alongside traditional owners in the upkeep of the areas. A good understanding of intercultural awareness will never go amiss.

Geographic Information Systems Analyst

Looking for a more analytical job but still want to avoid an office cubicle for the most part? A Geographic Information Systems Analyst (or GIS Analyst) is someone who uses spatial information for a variety of projects. You could be collecting and presenting “the lay of the land” to clients, creating maps for specialised projects or consulting on construction developments.

A GIS Analyst works with advanced technology and needs to have a good head for numbers. For this, you could easily be earning above $80k per annum. The Certificate III in Surveying and Spatial Information Services or the Diploma of Surveying are excellent qualifications to kick start a career in this field.

As a GIS Analyst, the career ladder is also very promising. You could update your skills and move into more niche careers such as LiDAR and Remote Sensing. To be competitive in this field, consider upgrading your programming knowledge as well, as Database Management can often be a useful ace up your sleeve. The Certificate IV in Information Technology (Programming) in combination with the qualifications above are sure to be a good combination in the eyes of an employer.

Outdoor Recreation Leader

What is Outdoor Recreation? This could be anything from hiking, canoeing, bushwalking, mountain biking – if you can imagine doing it outdoors on your time off, you can bet someone gets paid to lead these kinds of activities. The perks of this role are obvious – get paid for doing something fun and exciting in the outdoors.

However, these roles are not all fun and games. If you are in charge of conducting such activities, you can imagine that many of them involve an element of danger – especially when the people you could be leading in the activity are novices. As such, a Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation is a useful starting platform for a variety of outdoor leadership roles.

Depending on the activity, you may need other supplementary qualifications. For example, any activities involving boats need boating licenses and activities involving All-Terrain Vehicles need relevant bike maintenance qualifications. If you are interested in pursuing a particular outdoor activity, make sure to search through a few job listings to get an idea of what is required.

With any kind of outdoor position, it is prudent to pursue a first aid and CPR qualification appropriate to the level of the role that you are pursuing. If the role involves working with children, a WWCC is also necessary.

Working in the great outdoors is a rewarding way to spend your career, and there are often many opportunities for lateral or upwards moves within the industry. Many outdoor skills are very transferable, so getting a baseline qualification can open up a world of opportunities.

Written by Madelle Borschman
Madelle Borschman
Madelle is an educational professional and freelance writer working in the territory educational industry in Australia with a background of teaching English as a second language.