Top Ten Degrees for Adventurous People

In many countries it is common for students to take a “gap year” before college. They take some time to:

  •  travel
  • think about what they want to do with their life
  • 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

  • adventure
  • travel
  • the thrill of new experiences

Many of the more traditional career paths often trade security for adventure, such as:

  • business management
  • accounting
  • engineering

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
  • consumer electronics

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 are 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:

You can begin by earning 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:

Business is becoming increasingly global. People with education and experience in business are in high demand by companies and start-ups in countries around the world.  Consultants 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 worldwide.

The Degree Program:

This career 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. These degrees can become very attractive to recruiters if you have

  • the right internships
  • language skills
  • experience in specific cultures and economic environments

3. Diplomacy/ Foreign Affairs

The Adventure:

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

The Degree Program:

Diplomacy requires a very broad exposure to history and sociology. It also requires the variety of disciplines that create a flexible, education person. Many diplomats begin with degrees in:

  • politics
  • economics
  • 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
  • urban development

This means that an Environmental Engineer can routinely spend a great deal of time on job sites or other outdoor locations. This type of work appeals to those who like travel and nature. Environmental Engineering is also 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 to land 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. It offers a great deal of flexibility and access to remote, 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.

The Degree Program:

There are 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, think about a degree in:

  • English
  • Secondary Education
  • Adult Education.

6. Geology or Geoscience

The Adventure:

If you 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 over the world. They help others extract them for commercial or scientific purposes. This job at times involves quite complicated science. However, it promises a great deal of adventure to those willing to commit to the education.

The Degree Program:

And the education can be difficult. Landing a job in this field requires an advanced degree in:

  • Geology
  • Geophysics
  • or 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 who can 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:

Typically required is an undergraduate degree in:

  • Field Engineering
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Operations Management

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 who wants to spend the majority of their time outdoors. You are part of 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:

The right programs to start for a career in Fish and Game Management include:

  • Biology
  • Wildlife Management
  • Conservation

9. Marine Officer or Marine Engineer

The Adventure:

Inland and ocean-going vessels are still a major part of global commerce. 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. They are also versed in maritime policies and international laws 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:

It appears that Journalism as a career track is trending down. 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. They then build their careers on successful campaigns.

Further Reading:

30 Great Small Colleges for STEM Degrees

Brenda Rufener
Author

Julie McCaulley
Expert

Carrie Sealey-Morris
Editor-in-Chief