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Montana Labor Market Blog

Research & Analysis Bureau - Montana Department of Labor & Industry

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Outdoor Jobs in Montana

Cowboy rounding up horses.Montana is a state for outdoor enthusiasts. Every season offers a variety of activities including rock climbing and boating in the summer, hiking in the fall, skiing and snowshoeing in the winter, and camping in the spring. For some, the outdoors is a place to explore after a busy week of work, but for roughly 20% of Montanans, it is where they spend at least part of their work week (figure 1).[1] For people who are curious about outdoor jobs, three tables are provided to help explore these occupations, including how many annual job openings are expected through 2026 and annual median wages.

Table 1 shows the ten outdoor jobs with the most projected job openings over the next ten years. This list includes only jobs that workers typically report being outdoors every day.

Table 1: 10 Jobs that Workers Typically Report Being Outdoors Every Day, by most Projected Annual Openings 2016-2026

Occupation

Minimum Requirements

Projected Annual Openings

2016 Annual Median Wage

Education

Work Experience

Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers

< HS

ST OJT

151

$25,920

Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment Operators

HS or GED

MT OJT

87

$48,300

Forest and Conservation Technicians

Associate

--

72

$32,310

Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists

HS or GED

LT OJT

50

$41,000

Driver/Sales Workers

HS or GED

ST OJT

45

$21,910

Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers

PS ND

LT OJT

37

$44,440

Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers

HS or GED

LT OJT

30

$81,860

Service Unit Operators, Oil, Gas, and Mining

< HS

MT OJT

29

$55,810

Roofers

< HS

MT OJT

26

$34,440

Farmers, Ranchers, and Other Agricultural Managers

HS or GED

5+ Years

*

*

Source: MT DLI. 2016-2026 Occupational Employment Projections.

Abbreviations: HS = less than high school diploma, HS or GED = high school diploma or GED, PS ND = postsecondary non-degree award, Associate = Associate Degree, ST OJT = short-term on-the-job training, MT OJT = medium-term on-the-job training, LT OJT = long-term on-the-job training *=confidential

While most jobs in Table 1 do not require more than a high school diploma, there are some jobs that require higher education. Table 2 shows five outdoor jobs that require an associate degree or higher, sorted by the most projected annual openings.

Table 2: 5 Outdoor Jobs that Require an Associate Degree or Higher, by most Projected Annual Job Openings 2016-2026

Occupation

Minimum Requirements

Projected Annual Openings

2016 Annual Median Wage

Education

Work Experience

Forest and Conservation Technicians

Associate

--

72

$32,310

Conservation Scientists

Bachelor's

--

28

$58,760

Occupational Health and Safety Specialists

Bachelor's

--

14

$59,250

Foresters

Bachelor's

--

12

$54,850

Surveyors

Bachelor's

< 5 Yrs

11

$58,420

Source: MT DLI. 2016-2026 Occupational Employment Projections.

 

Even though the jobs in Table 2 require higher education, they are not the highest paid outdoor jobs. Table 3 shows jobs with average annual median wage greater than $60,000.

Table 3: Outdoor Jobs with Median Wages Greater than $60,000

Occupation

Minimum Requirements

Projected Annual Openings

2016 Annual Median Wage

Education

Work Experience

Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Powerhouse, Substation, and Relay

PS ND

LT OJT

*

$87,530

Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers

HS or GED

LT OJT

30

$81,860

Power Plant Operators

HS or GED

LT OJT

5

$79,000

Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers

Bachelor's

MT OJT

*

$71,030

First-Line Supervisors of Fire Fighting and Prevention Workers

PS ND

MT OJT

4

$70,110

First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives

HS or GED

MT OJT

10

$68,610

Insurance Appraisers, Auto Damage

PS ND

MT OJT

*

$67,870

Boilermakers

HS or GED

Apprenticeship

4

$65,750

Commercial Pilots

HS or GED

MT OJT

16

$65,220

Gas Plant Operators

HS or GED

LT OJT

8

$64,610

Crane and Tower Operators

HS or GED

MT OJT

8

$63,070

Petroleum Pump System Operators, Refinery Operators, and Gaugers

HS or GED

LT OJT

25

$62,890

Gas Compressor and Gas Pumping Station Operators

HS or GED

MT OJT

6

$61,350

First-Line Supervisors of Mechanics, Installers, and Repairers

HS or GED

< 5 Yrs

54

$60,250

Source: MT DLI. 2016-2026 Occupational Employment Projections.

Abbreviations: HS or GED = high school diploma or GED, PS ND = postsecondary non-degree award, Bachelor's = Bachelor's Degree, MT OJT = medium-term on-the-job training, LT OJT = long-term on-the-job training  *=confidential

Fisherman kicking his feet up on a boat.


[1] Workers include payroll, self-employed, and agricultural workers. The definition for outdoor jobs is from O*NET (available at https://www.onetonline.org/).

Categories: Montana Career Resources

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