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7 Career Choices That Won’t Have You Sitting in an Office Cubicle

Let’s been honest: sitting in a cubicle for eight hours a day, five days a week probably isn’t how you envisioned spending your adult life.

If you find yourself dreading the thought of being chained to your desk and spending half the day gazing out the window, it might be time to consider switching careers. And thankfully, there are several career options that won’t require another four years of schooling for you to get your foot in the door.

Likewise, if you’re a student struggling to figure out the right career path for you, but know that sitting behind a desk all day would send you into a panic, read on. There are plenty of jobs out there that don’t require a cubicle.

We rounded up 7 careers where you’ll get to roam free (at least part of the time). For more ideas, check out the book “175 Best Jobs Not Behind a Desk.”

1. Nurse
There’s a reason nurses wear Scrubs and comfortable shoes – they’re constantly on the go. While there is a certain amount of paperwork involved with being a nurse (updating patients’ charts, for one) you definitely won’t be shackled to a desk all day. There are opportunities in nursing for both recent high school graduates and those looking to change careers later in life.
Education: Training to become a Licensed Practical Nurse or a Licensed Vocational Nurse – nurses who provide more general care to patients – takes about one year and includes classroom work and a patient-care segment. To become a Registered Nurse, you’ll need either a Bachelors of Science in Nursing, an Associates of Nursing or a Nursing Diploma from a hospital program.
Salary: The median salary for LPNs is $31,440 and for RNs is $48,090, according to

2. Elementary School Teacher: Sure, teachers have desks, but chances are you won’t find them sitting there most of the time. They’re standing in front of a room full of expectant young minds, squatting next to a child learning how to read and supervising kickball games at recess. Teaching does involve a lot of paperwork – grading tests, planning lessons and reading essays – but summers off more than make up for it. Getting your teaching certificate might require night classes and a leap of faith, but it’s doable for folks looking to try something new.
Education: There are several steps to becoming a teacher. First you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in education or a bachelor’s degree in the subject you’d like to teach. Then you’ll need to complete a credited teacher certification program. Next you’ll need to complete student teaching then pass licensing and competency exams. Finally, you’ll need to receive your credentials and start applying for jobs.
Salary: Median salary is $54,330, according to

Helping hand shakes another in an agreement
3. Sales: The great thing about a career in sales is that it can be whatever you make of it. You can run an at-home business selling everything from makeup (CoverGirl) to branded content (Vidicom), or you can travel the world making pitches to foreign companies. No matter what type of sales they’re involved in, one thing all successful salespeople have in common is the ability to communicate and think fast on their feet.
Education: While you don’t technically need a degree to get into sales, it’s smart to have a bachelors degree in a field like business, marketing or communications. As important (if not more) than your education is experience. Everything from internships to working at your local Walmart can help you develop the necessary skills to be a great salesperson.
Salary: Starts anywhere from $38,000 to $56,000, depending on what type of sales you’re in and how much commission you make on top of your base salary, according to the Wall Street Journal.

4. Landscaper: If you love the outdoors and have a creative side, then designing functional and aesthetically-pleasing outdoors spaces might be your niche. Landscape designers work with everyone from homeowners to local governments. While you will probably have to spend some time at a desk or on a computer creating plans, you’ll also spend plenty of time outdoors onsite developing ideas and supervising construction.
Education: The minimum recommended training for an entry-level landscaping job is a career diploma in landscape design through a trade, vocational or online school. Beyond that, you can pursue two-year associates degrees available through trade, vocational, online or community colleges. To become a professional landscape designer or landscape architect, you’ll need a bachelors, masters or even doctoral degree in landscape architecture or a related field like horticulture or agriculture. You’ll most likely need to get a license by passing the Landscape Architect Registration Exam as well.
Salary: Mean salary is $62,250, according to

5. Dog Trainer If you have a touch of Dr. Dolittle in you and feel at ease training humans as much as dogs, then here’s another career choice that will get you away from a desk. Dog trainers can work for a business (like a veterinary clinic or pet store) or be self-employed. Contrary to their job title, they probably spend more time training pet owners on how to build better relationships with their pets than training dogs how to behave.
Education: According to the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, there are no specific degrees or training required to be come a professional dog trainer. There are many schools and businesses that offer certificates in dog training, however, the APDT advises that you do thorough research on the program before paying to participate. Most dog trainers are self-educated, having read extensively about different training methods; attended seminars, workshops and conventions; and worked closely with another seasoned trainer. The organization says a bachelors in veterinary science, psychology or ethology would be beneficial to those interested in animal training.
Salary: Average salary is $55,000 according to

6. Carpenter: If you relish weekends spent tinkering in the garage or completing home-improvement projects, then consider turning your hobby into a career. You’ll spend your days hammering, sawing, drilling and plastering instead of typing, typing, typing and typing.
Education: Many carpenters attend a trade or vocational school or a community college while receiving on-the-job training. In addition, some employers offer formal apprenticeships that combine on-the-job training and classroom education. These can take three to four years to complete.
Salary: The median wage is $18.72 an hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

7. Chef: If you relish 5 o’clock because it means you can race home and spend your night watching the Food Network and experimenting in the kitchen, maybe it’s time to quit your day job. The job of a professional chef is not for the faint of heart; they spend long hours standing in front of stoves and ovens whipping up hundreds of meals for hungry customers and managing line cooks and other staff. Still, the opportunity to work with your hands while creating delicious feasts makes up for the rigorous demands of the job.
Education: Many professional chefs have worked their way up through the restaurant industry, starting out as line cooks without any formal training. However, formal training is becoming more and more then norm, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Students can receive formal training through a community college, technical school, or culinary arts school, or obtain a two-year or four-year degree in hospitality from a university. In addition, there are several training programs offered by independent cooking schools and professional culinary institutions. Years of training and experience are needed to be an executive chef, head cook or sous chef working in a fine-dining restaurant.
Salary: Median salary is $38,770 according to the BLS

Photos courtesy of Stock.Xchng

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