To Put This in Context:
People often share common goals for their careers — stability, growth, and pride in their work — but not everyone wants to follow the same path to achieve those objectives. For those passionate about nature and the environment, the thought of being cooped up inside all day is not always an ideal outcome. If you’re looking for areas of study that can lead to professions outside the box — and outside the office — we’ve chosen three degrees and highlighted their potential career paths that can meet your professional requirements while still letting you be involved with the great outdoors.
Degree: Bachelor’s in Forestry
Strategies for environmental conservation and the appropriate use of natural resources are among the chief focuses of a degree in forestry. These programs are distinguished by courses that cover the practical application of biology, chemistry, resource management, and environmental science in serving policy and care for forestlands.
A common job for a forestry graduate includes conservation scientist (also known as forester). This role centers around protecting forests as a natural resource and helping to manage their safe and careful use in industry.  Although this may seem like a niche profession, the job market might not be as small as you would think. Several companies that rely on trees for their products practice sustainable forestry. Georgia-Pacific, makers of paper-based products like Dixie and Quilted Northern, maintain efforts to preserve and replenish the forest materials that they use.  Many other companies associated with the forestry industry have similar policies that call for careful harvesting to protect our valuable resources.
The career outlook for conservation scientists is also sustainable, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics listing the median salary at $60,220. Additionally, the field is expected to maintain an average rate of growth through 2024, with a projected 7% increase. 
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, earning a bachelor degrees in agricultural science, rangeland management, or environmental science can also prepare you for the role of conservation scientist.
Degree: Bachelor’s in Geography
A bachelor’s degree in the field of geography typically explores both the environmental and social aspects relating to different geographical regions. Institutions can offer Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science tracks (or both), with courses providing study of world geography, natural science, cultural diversity, geographical data and statistics, field methods, and other related topics.
The career opportunities associated with a geography concentration touch on conservation, urban planning, and cartography. Among these outcomes is the role of cartographer or photogrammetrist, similar roles that offer the chance to specialize in the creation of maps using photographs as a reference tool. These photographs might be used to track environmental changes, create evacuation routes, or assist in urban and regional planning. 
Science and technology are crucial to this profession and can help you make a difference in a number of ways. One such example is the use of light detection and ranging, or lidar, which uses laser pulses to measure the topography of the Earth. The accuracy of lidar technology can give surveyors a much more robust data set than they’d be able to achieve via traditional surveying methods.  This data can potentially lead people to safety or help other scientists understand the changes in our environment.
The work is valuable, and also valued: Not only is the median salary reported at a healthy $61,880, but also career growth is expected to be much higher than average, with a 29% increase projected by 2024. 
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that 3,600 new cartographer/photogrammetrist jobs are expected to be added in the United States by 2024.
Degree: Bachelor’s in Geology
Pursuing a degree in geology will have you focusing on Earth science, with courses that incorporate the study of the oceans, climate patterns, renewable resources, fossils, landform structure, and more as they relate to different regions of the planet.
One of the common career outcomes for geology graduates is geoscientist, which is a role that can potentially take you most anywhere around the world. Geoscientists work hard to help solve some of the global community’s biggest challenges, and areas of specialization are equally vast — from the energy industry and resource extraction all the way to fields like oceanography. 
Because geoscientists are helping to answer society’s tough questions, it’s a growing and well-paying field. In fact, geoscientists are compensated with the highest median salary of the three environmental-based degrees we have covered ($89,700), and the role is growing faster than average at 10%. 
Want to discover more?
There are a number of ways to pursue rewarding careers relating to our environment and its natural wonders, and these are only a few of the education options available for those wanting to earn a degree to help put them on that path. Additional specializations can also lead to careers in such fields as tourism, community health, sustainability, and emergency management — the latter of which is among the top career fields for military veterans.
Did You Know?
FEMA provides a number of educational resources for those interested in emergency management. These include online independent study courses, as well as a listing of schools with specialized bachelor’s, master’s, and certificate programs.