Top Ten Degrees for Adventurous People

In many countries it is common for students to take a “gap year” before college by taking some time to travel, think about what they want to do with their life, and experience a little adventure before buckling down at a college or university. While this sounds like a good idea, it is a mistake to think of investing in higher education as something necessarily dull or routine. We may not all get to don Indiana Jones’ hat and whip after our morning coffee, but there are many careers outside of the cubicle farm that offer a great deal of adventure, travel, and the thrill of new experiences. Many of the more traditional career paths, such as business management, accounting, or engineering, often trade security for adventure – but the following is a list of degrees that balance marketable job skills with the prospect for what some people find to be a more interesting line of work.

1. Biology

The Adventure:

Biotechnology is poised to become one of the next generation’s key job markets. This emerging industry turns recent scientific advances into actual products useful in areas like the health industry, agriculture, or consumer electronics. While biology as a career track has typically been associated with laboratories and peer-reviewed journals – Biotechnology has been pushing these boundaries. Many biologists find themselves in the field, looking for the plant and animal samples that fuel innovation. Others find themselves on international teams of scholars and engineers piecing together the technology of tomorrow. There are many opportunities out there for the adventurous Biologist.

The Degree Program:

A career this direction can begin in a general Biology degree, but there are also more specified undergraduate tracks in Biotechnology and Bioinformatics that lead to jobs in emerging industry.

2. Business Management Consulting

The Adventure:

As business becomes increasingly global, people with education and experience in business are in high demand by companies and start-ups in countries all over the world. A consultant may find themselves in China helping a fledgling software business better understand American and European markets. A consultant may end up in Turkey helping a new clothing manufacturer leverage social media. Business Management Consulting firms typically offer a wide variety of services to clients all over the world.

Featured Programs
1. Post University - BS - Business Administration
2. Everest University - Bachelor's in Business

The Degree Program:

This requires consultants with the right education and experience to meet different client needs. A degree in Business Management or International Business is a traditional place to start. Coupled with the right internships, language skills, and hands-on experience in specific cultures and economic environments – these degrees can become very attractive to recruiters.

3. Diplomacy/ Foreign Affairs

The Adventure:

US Diplomats are often stationed overseas in embassies and consulates, which makes this career track immediately attractive to those inclined toward travel. Diplomats are tasked with assisting US citizens abroad and representing US foreign policy in a given location.

Featured Programs
1. Ashford University - BA - Business Economics
2. Robert Morris University - BSBA - Business Economics
3. Strayer University - BS -Economics

The Degree Program:

Diplomacy requires a very broad exposure to history, sociology, and the variety of disciplines that create a flexible, education person. Many diplomats begin with degrees in politics, economics, or the liberal arts. Any solid general education will prepare you for the legendary Foreign Service Exam.

4. Environmental Engineering

The Adventure:

Environmental Engineers spend their time solving problems related to pollution, waste management, landscaping, or urban development. This means that an Environmental Engineer can spend a great deal of time on job sites or other outdoor locations as a matter of routine. Not only does this type of work appeal to those that like travel and nature, but Environmental Engineering is quickly becoming a valuable part of our increasing standard of living.

The Degree Program:

It all starts with an Environmental Engineering degree. Many find an additional graduate degree helpful while landing that first job.

5. ESL Teacher (Teaching English as a Second Language)

The Adventure:

A career in Teaching English as a Second Language has long been a standard option for the true adventurer, as it offers a great deal of flexibility and access to remote and exotic locations. While spending much of your year teaching people how to speak and read English, you will have a lot of time left over to experience your chosen location.

Featured Programs
1. Masters of Arts in Teaching @ USC - MAT - Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
2. Grand Canyon University - M.Ed. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) (Does not lead to initial teacher licensure)
3. Concordia University - Curriculum and Instruction - ESOL (K-Adult)

The Degree Program:

There are ESL businesses that offer advanced degrees in ESL (such as an MA in TESOL) in trade for specific periods of employment. To get your foot in the door, a degree in English, Secondary Education, or Adult Education would be an excellent choice.

6. Geology or Geoscience

The Adventure:

For those that enjoy nature and its elements, Geoscience may be the most attractive option on this list so far. Geologists and Geophysicist spend their time locating natural and mineral resources all of the world and helping others extract them for commercial or scientific purposes. Though this job at times involves quite complicated science, it promises a great deal of adventure to those willing to commit to the education.

The Degree Program:

And the education can be difficult, as landing a job in this field requires an advanced degree in Geology, Geophysics, or even Petroleum Engineering.

7. Field Engineer

The Adventure:

A Field Engineer is responsible for installing or maintaining complicated industrial equipment. The energy industry, for example, hires people that are able to go out in the field and troubleshoot mechanical or technical problems. Field Engineers need to be prepared to work in a wide variety of locations and climates. Much adventure to be had here.

The Degree Program:

An undergraduate degree in Field Engineering, Industrial Engineering, or even Operations Management is typically required. Additional training in a particular industry is often gained on the job.

8. Fish and Game Warden

The Adventure:

This is the ideal career for someone that wants to spend the majority of their time outdoors, preserving and protecting some of our greatest natural resources. Being a Fish and Game Warden also has a law enforcement component that lends it an additional layer of adventure.

The Degree Program:

Degrees in Biology, Wildlife Management, or Conservation are all the right places to start for a career in Fish and Game Management.

9. Marine Officer or Marine Engineer

The Adventure:

Inland and ocean-going vessels are still a major part of global commerce, and many careers are available to those willing to take on the high seas. Marine Officers are responsible for the day-to-day operation of a vessel, but are also aware of the maritime policies and international laws that regulating trade. A Marine Engineer takes care of the power systems and operations that make ocean-going navigation possible.

The Degree Program:

There are undergraduate degrees in Marine Science and Marine Engineering. These very adventurous careers require a low time investment compared to their market (and adventure) value.

10. Photojournalism

The Adventure:

While it appears that Journalism as a career track is trending down with the movement of most readers to alternative venues for news and editorial commentary, Photojournalism has not suffered the same fate. Even if most readers turn to online sources for most news, there is still a need for quality, on-site, artful images of current events. It is not hard to imagine why this career track could be considered adventurous.

The Degree Program:

Photojournalists begin with a degree in Photography or Photojournalism, and then build their careers on successful campaigns.

Further Reading:

30 Great Small Colleges for STEM Degrees