Best Paid Outdoor Adventure Jobs

orange square This morning I was asked to put myself in the shoes of someone looking to get the best financial return from a decision to work in outdoor adventure. Sounds simple enough doesn't it. Identify which outdoor adventure jobs pay the most and write a little about what each one involves. Several hours later I can tell you, it is not a simple task at all.

There are literally thousands of different ways you can earn money while working in the great outdoors, but which roles count? What if you work at an outdoor activity centre... as a head chef? Or you work on a cruise ship... as a member of the casino staff. Not really very adventurous when compared to the traditional occupations we generally see on this website. We also have to acknowledge that every company will pay a different wage, so what may be highly paid with one company, could be rather poorly paid with another. And finally, more often than not, you will be given a salary range depending upon experience or qualifications.

Taking all of the above into account we have drawn up a list of eight jobs that we feel can be the best paid in outdoor adventure, and we have split them between those jobs which are achievable with little or no previous experience, and those which you need to work up to over time. You may disagree and we would love to hear from you if you have some examples you think we should include.



Entry level jobs

Title: Multi-activity instructor
Wage: £14k
Description: Perhaps one of the more straight forward jobs to get started in, you will teaching youngsters or beginners a range of outdoor pursuits. On the job training is often provided, as is accommodation, food and the ability to further your career through award schemes, all of which make the salary better than it first appears.
Requirements: There aren't usually many pre-requisites for this role, other than a love of the outdoors and an ability to help others get the most from their experience.


Watersports Instructor Training UK

Watersports Instructor Training UK

UKSA’s UK Watersports Instructor training course is a great way to kick-start your career. We will train you in four disciplines and give you all of the qualifications needed to work as a Watersports Instructor.
Watersports Instructor Training UK

Superyacht Cadetship

Superyacht Cadetship

UKSA’s Superyacht Cadetship is a structured programme designed to train the future officers of the superyacht industry. The cadetship combines the most relevant training and phases of paid employment – a great way to earn while you learn.
Superyacht Cadetship

Outdoor instructor

Outdoor instructor

This is a fantastic opportunity for an experienced, enthusiastic and motivated instructor to join the small friendly team at Tile Barn Outdoor Centre in a permanent contract. We pride ourselves on our reputation of operating to the highest standards of excellence and professionalism.
Outdoor instructor

Title: Park Warden
Wage: £15k
Description: Employed by the National Park Authority, you will be helping with conservation projects, community outreach programmes, monitoring recreational use of the park, and supporting maintenance of rights of way and access. Your time will involve some office work, but the opportunities to get outdoors will be plentiful.
Requirements: Previous experience is a bonus in any job these days, but a keen interest in the environment, a driving licence, and a winning personality will go a long way to securing you the position at interview.


Title: Mountain bike trail guide
Wage: £16k
Description: This one probably counts as the dream job for many young people. The sport of mountain biking has been around a few decades now but the interest in it shows no sign of waning. Easy access to the hobby, and plenty of urban and rural spaces in which to practice, has created a couple of generations of keen enthusiasts, eager to hone their skills and ride new trails. As a guide you get to take people on a two wheel adventure.
Requirements: You will need the MBLA Mountain Bike Trail Leader Award certificate, and a valid first aid qualification too. You will also need to know your way around a bike for maintenance, so if you are one of those people who takes it to the local bike shop every time you get a puncture, you need to start spending your money on spanners and bottom bracket tools instead. Skills coaching will supplement your income as most trail guiding is seasonal work.


Title: Deck hand
Wage: £20k
Description: Not exactly a glamorous role, but a great place to start if you want to work on boats. Day to day duties will include loading and unloading equipment and supplies, cleaning and basic maintenance, and generally helping out where needed. Despite the lack of excitement, it is quite a varied job and the pay isn't exactly terrible if you have a little bit of experience and are willing to travel.
Requirements: Technically you can start in this role without any qualifications or experience, but an RYA Competent Crew Certificate would be a great idea and there are plenty more qualifications which would put you in a stronger position to secure your first boat.


Title: Field surveyor
Wage: £25k
Description: Surveying landscapes, collecting data to be used in mapping. This one definitely qualifies as outdoors as you will be out in most weathers. You will also get to meet lots of people, both to promote what you are doing, and in getting access to the terrain that you will be mapping. You will also get to move around the country a lot and so see lots of places.
Requirements: A surveying or geographic information systems degree or similar qualification will be required for this role, and perhaps some previous experience. But it is possible to get this job straight from college, albeit at a slightly lower wage than with the experience.



Salaries for experienced staff

Title: Centre manager
Wage: £30k
Description: As an outdoor activity centre manager you will be tasked with the day to day operation of a busy centre. The smaller your centre the more hands on teaching you will probably do, but if you have a lot of instructors working under you, more of your time will be spent on training and staff development.
Requirements: Your background will probably be in an activity centre environment, as an instructor and then a senior instructor. Experience will count more than an academic background, though a good education is always going to help. And perhaps most vital of all are the number and types of recognised instructor qualifications you have achieved. Most centre managers will have more awards under their belt than the rest of us have had hot dinners.


Senior Instructor Sailing/Windsurfing

Senior Instructor Sailing/Windsurfing

Management role - reporting to Directors Busy lake-based operation in Surrey Ensuring quality customer service and satisfaction Overseeing and delivering a range of RYA courses and tasters to adults, children and school groups H&S systems management Staff training & management Maintenance prog
Senior Instructor Sailing/Windsurfing

Call for Interns, Instructors and Seniors in Outdoor Education

Call for Interns, Instructors and Seniors in Outdoor Education

At Ecoventure our goal is to increase environmental awareness and inspire young people though outdoor education. We are looking to employ enthusiastic people with a passion for outdoor education and the environment who can help us meet this goal.
Call for Interns, Instructors and Seniors in Outdoor Education

Survival Course Leader

Survival Course Leader

The Survival Leader is responsible for overseeing the effective running of the Ultimate Survival course, acting as a key contact for the children on camp, and managing a team of instructors. If you have experience working in the outdoors in a senior or managerial role, this is the role for you!
Survival Course Leader

Title: Sports coach
Wage: £40k
Description: This role could also be included in the entry level section as the wage for a newly qualified coach can be pretty respectable too. However, qualified to teach at professional sports clubs you stand to earn very good money, especially if you are talking football, where staff may be on bonuses or performance related pay. Keep in mind that most sports coaches actually volunteer their time, so don't assume you are going to be handed a generous salary without some hard work.
Requirements: Before you can teach other people who to be the best at their sport, you have to be pretty handy yourself. A proven track record of success will help land the most lucrative jobs, but you will also need to show that you have all the relevant national governing body coaching awards.


Title: Yacht Captain
Wage: £80k
Description: In truth, the salary you can expect as a qualified luxury motor yacht captain can vary enormously. There is one going as I type, in Miami, which is offering a salary of $12k a month! The type of work can be wide ranging too – another advert calls for a captain to help promote a new product in the Med. The candidate should be multi-lingual, able to work with cameras, and have knowledge of renewable energy. It's not always about taking a boat from A to B!
Requirements: Your salary is going to be directly linked to your experience, as in, the more skills and knowledge you have, the easier it is going to be to get those big commissions. Though there is definitely merit in the saying, 'it's not what you know but who you know'. Getting your name known in the industry is definitely going to help you find work.


Most useful qualifications?

Most useful qualifications?

People often ask us which NGB qualifications they should be looking at achieving in order to kick start a career in outdoor adventure. To be honest is isn't an easy question to answer because it really depends on what you are planning to do long term. If you are completely new to the industry and looking to get started, you can either build up a few qualifications on your own, or you can try to get employed with a multi activity centre, who will usually offer you some NGBs as part of your training and qualification - this way you will also get some great experience too. Whichever route you decide, this article takes a look at which qualifications are most useful for budding instructors.

Most useful qualifications? >>

Triathlon coaching pathway

Triathlon coaching pathway

Inspirational Olympians and Britain's prominence in the sport of triathlon in recent years have resulted in a huge increase in interest, both in people wishing to take part in the three disciplines, and in those looking to coach the new influx of newcomers. British Triathlon is the national governing body, with further divisions for England, Wales and Scotland. In this article we give you a background to the sport, and talk about how to get involved in coaching at local club level and at national level.

Triathlon coaching pathway >>

Mountain Leader awards

Mountain Leader awards

To get an idea of the full route from beginner climber through to professional mountaineer, take a look at our career guide to climbing, further down this page. This post is all about the Mountain Leader awards which come in two flavours - Summer and Winter. They follow on from Walking Group Leader and set you up on the start of a career leading small groups in mountainous terrain.

Mountain Leader awards >>