Categorized | Job Hunting

Jobs That Give You a Tan

Posted on 19 March 2010

Your vocation could be a vacation.

Does the idea of slaving away indoors make you shudder? Don’t fret– there are many ways to work under the glare of midday sun. So, grab your straw hat and get thee outdoors!

Landscape Architect

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 40 percent of all landscape architects are self-employed (translation: they clock their own schedule). Other landscape architects work for the government or for independent firms that adhere to 40-hour workweeks. A landscape architect will typically spend half his time on site and the other half indoors, working on plans. They create harmonious landscapes, balancing purpose, functionality, and related eco-issues. Landscape architects are the masterminds behind parks, golf courses, playgrounds, and corporate headquarters’ grounds.

  • More Info: American Society of Landscape Architects; Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards
  • Salary Range: $22,800 to $78,900
  • Background: Bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture required for many entry-level positions. Some companies even prefer candidates to have an internship or two under their belt. Furthermore, most states require registration or licensing via the Landscape Architect Registration Examination (L.A.R.E.), which is administered by the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards.


Ah, the perennial outdoor lover’s perfect job: lifeguard. While a small percentage of lifeguards actually spend time indoors at hotels and YMCAs, most work near pools, lakes, and seaside resorts. Perks abound (did we mention the tan?), but the pay and consistency of work can be troublesome. Positions often last from Memorial Day thru Labor Day, with only an enviable few grabbing coveted year-round positions.

  • More Info: Check out the United States Lifeguard Association and the American Red Cross for career and certification information
  • Salary Range: Starting at around $7/hour
  • Background: The Red Cross and the United States Lifesaving Association both offer courses to certify lifeguard wannabes.
With so many options available, how can any self-respecting sun-worshipper afford to stay indoors?


Enologists are known as “winemakers” or “cellar masters” to you and me. This position is perfect for, shall we say, the more sophisticated outdoors person. If wine is your passion, you can make a go of it just about anywhere in the world. Enologists find work from California and Colorado to Africa and Australia. You’ll work with the head winemaker or producer overseeing the cellars, vineyard operations, winemaking procedure and protocol, quality issues, and testing barrel samples for consistency and standards (hiccup). Using descriptive phrases like oaky, buttery, and tinged with a hint of vanilla is a crucial job requirement.

  • More Info: Consult the American Society for Enology & Viticulture and the Society of Wine Educators
  • Salary Range: According the California Employment Development Department, salary levels of enologists depend on the size of the winery and education and experience of individuals. Those with ample experience may earn more than $5,000 a month in the larger wineries.
  • Background: This career requires a wee bit of planning. You’ll need a BS in Enology, Winemaking, or a related field. Most employers are looking for hands-on experience in the two- to five-year range.

Park Ranger

Think Smokey the Bear has a good gig? You could live the high-life just as easily: clean air and natural living. As a park or forest ranger, your duties range from watching out for forest fires to keeping the peace across America’s forestland. In your first few years, you’ll log plenty of outdoor time checking on trees and fauna and ensuring the safety of campers. You’ll work in concert with fire and law enforcement agencies to rescue wayward hikers from steep ravines. As you escalate in responsibility, you may find yourself inside more often, working on schedules and managing new recruits. The veteran park ranger trade-off: more money, less time outdoors.

  • More Info: The National Park Service, National Association of State Park Directors, and National Recreation and Park Association
  • Salary Range: Not bad these days. Expect anything from unpaid volunteering to nearly $50,000 annually–depending on experience and education.
  • Background: Forest folks need at least a bachelor’s degree in forestry or biology, with an emphasis in forest plant and animal life. A related major (environmental science, public administration, archeology, science, or history) will often suffice. However, many can hike up the ladder of ranger success by working their way up from park volunteer. Experience goes a long way in this neck of the career woods.

Other tan-inducing gigs careers to consider: Professional beach volleyball player, civil engineer, cruise ship captain, mailman, or professional sailor (think America’s Cup). With so many options available, how can any self-respecting sun-worshipper afford to stay indoors?

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