By Kyle Davidson | Updated: March 10th, 2023
The outdoor job industry has been experiencing rapid growth in recent years. With the changing landscape of the work environment, new opportunities for outdoor job seekers have opened up in a variety of industries.
This article will look at some emerging trends in the outdoor job industry and explore the opportunities that can come with them.
Outdoor jobs are occupations that involve working outdoors with exposure to natural elements and conditions. These jobs tend to exist in a variety of different industries, including forestry, landscaping, agriculture, conservation, construction and park services.
Often these roles require a great deal of physical activity, as well as the ability to manage resources and operate machinery safely in rural or remote settings. Typical roles involve working with animals, maintaining trails, managing timber cutting operations and projects in open countryside locations.
Employers may require certification or education in related fields such as forestry or land management for some positions. Common job duties within the outdoor fields may involve supervising staff members or contractors; observing wildlife; identifying insects or plants; removal of hazardous material such as trees; trimming overgrown vegetation; performing surveys for pests; testing water quality and monitoring weather conditions.
The outdoor job industry is ever-evolving, with new trends and opportunities emerging rapidly.
The outdoor job industry has been bolstered by technological advancements such as AI, cloud computing, and GIS, as well as new legislative initiatives that support outdoor and environmental conservation.
In this article, we'll explore the emerging trends in the outdoor job industry and the new opportunities they provide.
Increase in Remote Work Opportunities
As the internet and ever-evolving technologies continue to connectivity the world on a global scale, remote work opportunities are growing exponentially. Working remotely offers professionals the opportunity to live in areas where they want while still exploring outdoor-related job functions such as park management or trail maintenance. Many employers see that working remotely allows their employees to be more productive and eliminate unnecessary commuting time, and are beginning to embrace this type of job model as a way to remain competitive.
Workers who have outdoor interests and have traditionally worked inside are now finding ways with technology to bring aspects of the outdoors back into their work life. For example, virtual meetings can be held on a hiking trail or remote workers can make themselves available for in-person consultation in various states during their travels for national park maintenance projects. Remote teams also share an appreciation of their surroundings, making collaboration much more enjoyable than traditional office environments by opening up new opportunities for team building activities outside of conference rooms.
Remote jobs also give workers access to markets that previously may have been completely out of reach due to geographical boundaries, allowing them to find unique jobs within the scope of park management, conservation education and wildlife science. Job skills related to data analysis, experience with satellite imagery and drone use are becoming increasingly important workplace tools in this realm. Additionally, recent years have seen an rise in nature-based businesses such as eco-tourism or running ecologically friendly brands outwardly focusing on sustainability efforts that previous generations would not have had access to such an opportunity.
Rise in Demand for Eco-Tourism
One emerging trend in the outdoor industry is eco-tourism. Eco-tourism is a type of tourism that focuses on the protection and appreciation of natural areas, while still providing opportunities for tourists to explore and enjoy the local environment. Eco-tourism aims to use tourism as a way to increase environmental and cultural awareness and conservation, while generating economic benefits from touristic activities.
Eco-tourism is on the rise within local, state, and global communities as individuals become increasingly aware of climate change impacts and seek new ways to connect with nature in meaningful ways. With the increasing number of people wanting to experience wildlife viewing, environmental education, eco trail hikes, backcountry camping, bird watching and more - there is an expanding demand for new types of outdoor jobs based in eco-tourism activities.
Outdoor professionals are now needed for roles such as wildlife guides, tour leaders/guides, naturalists/environmental educators or eco-activities guides who can lead visitors through activities like kayaking tours or mountain biking routes while informing them about the importance of conservation in these areas. Professional qualifications provided by organizations like Leave No Trace or Adventure Travel Trade Association are also becoming necessary qualifications for eco-toursim professionals dedicated to teaching good practices while utilizing natural resources responsibly.
Increase in Outdoor Education Programs
There has been a growing demand for outdoor education programs, which are offered by recreation providers, schools and non-profits. These organizations understand how important it is for people to explore the natural environment and learn about nature. Outdoor education programs can range from short-term camps to extended school year experiences. They have the potential to develop new technical skills that employees in the outdoor industry need while also providing people with a deep appreciation of nature and its value in our daily lives.
In addition, outdoor education is becoming an increasingly sought after field in our digital era — particularly as students continue to turn away from conventional classrooms and look for more experiential learning opportunities. With this surge of demand for alternative learning experiences, companies are more likely to provide niche services that align with customer demands such as guided hikes, day trips with educational themes, or wilderness survival skills training. Moreover, because these activities often occur in remote areas or special environments such as oceans or deserts, they require higher levels of outdoor knowledge and expertise that only come with greater experience or specialized training. As these needs become more apparent and popular among customers, opportunities for jobs in the outdoor education sector will grow faster than ever before.
The outdoor industry is constantly growing, and with that growth comes a variety of opportunities for outdoor job seekers.
From working with outdoor apparel companies to becoming a park ranger, there are plenty of openings for those looking to work outdoors and explore their passions.
This section will discuss the emerging trends and opportunities that are currently available in the outdoor industry.
Outdoor Adventure Guide
Outdoor adventure guides provide active individuals with the opportunity to enjoy outdoor activities while learning valuable skills such as navigation, camp preparation and risk management.
You will be responsible for leading groups on hikes, bicycle trips, camping trips and sailing or kayaking excursions. An outdoor adventure guide must observe participants’ comfort and safety at all times, remaining alert to changing weather conditions, terrain challenges or other potential hazards.
You will also be required to possess knowledge of the flora and fauna in your area so that you can instruct participants on environmental awareness and sustainability practices while out in nature. Outdoor adventure guides generally obtain certification through programs offered by state parks departments or organizations such as the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) and/or American Canoe Association (ACA).
As an outdoor adventure guide, you should have excellent people skills, physical conditioning and a genuine passion for the outdoors.
The classical park ranger job description has undertaken a major evolution in recent years, as the roles and functions of these outdoor professionals have branched out to suit a variety of needs. Today's park rangers often do much more than maintain trails, protect wildlife, and monitor visitors.
Park rangers are now expected to navigate complex political processes, coordinate regional outreach efforts, manage visitor education initiatives, execute emergency response protocols, develop backcountry camping plans and participate in local tourism promotions. Through this truly holistic approach to land stewardship, contemporary park rangers become ambassadors for nature within a fiercely competitive entertainment industry.
In addition to overseeing recreational activities inside protected areas, modern park rangers are increasingly taking on roles in the outdoor education community — teaching classes with college affiliates and local school systems — while some serve as mentors with special youth camps around the country.
With technology playing such an influential role in our lives today, digital competence is becoming an important component of any successful park ranger job description. In-depth knowledge of GIS mapping programs is increasingly mandatory for navigating volatile terrains and preventing hazardous natural encounters between humans and wildlife. In many cases, communication devices are being issued to ensure teams stay connected with headquarters during seasonal tours or monitoring trips that require extended stays away from home bases.
One of the fastest-growing trends in the outdoor industry is that of ecotourism. Ecotourism has become a popular activity among both tourists and travel guides, as it allows travelers to experience nature outside of a traditional vacation. The success of ecotourism depends on knowledgeable tour guides who have a deep knowledge and appreciation for nature, as well as the necessary skills to promote an enjoyable and educational experience for all participants.
Ecotourism guides are particularly proficient in helping visitors safely explore natural areas. These individuals typically come from backgrounds in wildlife conservation and environmental science and possess an intimate knowledge of local wildlife, flora, and fauna. Additionally, ecotourism guides must possess integral people skills such as communication and problem solving abilities to maintain a safe environment for visitors while simultaneously providing an engaging learning experience.
For prospective tour guides interested in pursuing this career path, continue education is key to ensure they have access to the most up-to-date guidelines when it comes to developing eco-friendly tourism practices. Many organizations also provide helpful certifications or courses focused on professional guiding practices and ecotourism principles or specific ecology topics such as bird watching or coastal interpretation. With these certifications under their belt, prospective tour guides will be highly desirable when it comes to finding jobs with tour operators looking for knowledgeable staff members that understand the importance of conserving delicate ecosystems while maximizing visitor satisfaction by providing them with unforgettable experiences into the great outdoors.
As the outdoor industries continue to strive to make sustainable and accessible progress, they will open up a wide range of new opportunities for workers in the environmental sectors. Though these new roles may come with added challenges and responsibilities, they will offer far greater rewards as well. Not only will workers be able to work closer to nature, but they’ll be able to contribute directly towards more sustainable practices, climate change adaptation projects, conservations areas, green infrastructure projects and much more.
As these new roles become more popular and key players in the outdoor sector come together to create education programs, certifications and onboarding processes for potential employees from all levels of experience and expertise – the time is now for anyone looking for a meaningful job that allows them to make a positive contribution to our planet’s future. This could include engineers, computer scientists as well as policy-makers or educators with an enthusiasm for environmental science or conservation work. As employers look increasingly outside their regular talents pools and more applicants seek rewarding opportunities in this vibrant sector – demand will hopefully match supply soon enough.
Outdoor jobs are a great way to make a living while also making an important contribution towards building resilient communities and maintaining a healthy environment both now and in the future – what better way could there be?