June 11, 2024

7 Jobs Where You Won’t Be Stuck Behind a Desk

If the thought of working behind a desk 40 hours a week doesn’t sit well with you, you’re not alone. There are many non-desk careers today that offer unique opportunities for career growth.

Discover these seven professions that offer an escape from the usual office setting and pay you well if you get your hands dirty.

1. Craft Laborer

If you’re looking for a career that makes work meaningful and lets you enjoy the fruits of your labor, consider a career as a construction craft laborer. These professionals are the brawns behind our buildings, roads, bridges and homes. A typical workday includes reading blueprints, meeting with contractors and using different tools to lay down concrete and bricks.

The average salary of a construction laborer in the United States is $40,673, but the range can depend on relevant experience, certifications and education. While this career doesn’t require formal education, you can land better opportunities with a high school diploma. You can also attend a vocational school.

Every day is a new experience — seeing your hard work come to life is one of the most fulfilling moments of this job.

2. Electrician

Electricians specialize in maintaining and repairing electrical equipment and lighting systems in homes, businesses and other facilities. They inspect equipment such as power generating stations, circuit breakers, substations and wiring to identify and solve problems.

With a national average salary of $69,303, this profession will require you to have a high school diploma plus some additional training. An Associate of Science (A.S.) degree in electrical technology offers a solid foundation for this career. Other colleges also offer a bachelor’s degree in electrical technology, which you can take if you want to pursue this path.

Electricians must finish a four- or five-year apprenticeship and about 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training. After this, you can start taking jobs quickly. You can apply to a company or work on your own terms and be your own boss.

3. Flooring Installer

A flooring installer specializes in putting in various types of flooring, including carpet, tile, laminate and hardwood. They can also apply treatment to make it moisture, stain and slip-resistant, which reduces the possibility of accidental falls. Flooring installers transform a bare room into a beautiful, safe space for everyone.

A typical workday involves measuring and cutting flooring items, preparing the base and installing floors. A flooring installer makes around $49,401, depending on many factors, such as certifications, education and work experience. You can start this career with a high school diploma since many professionals master their craft on the job.

Private and commercial clients are often in need of professionals with good flooring skills. The work environment is positive — you get to work indoors within business hours and get the opportunity to travel.

4. Carpenter

Have you ever thought about what it feels like to do hands-on work? If sitting at a desk for 40 hours a week doesn’t appeal to you, you’ll enjoy the challenges of the carpentry industry. Every project and every day is unique, making work less monotonous.

A carpenter builds and repairs structures and fixtures, such as wooden frames and cabinets, in homes and commercial spaces. They use tools like saws, hammers and drills to shape and install materials and craft intricate structures. Once you learn the basic skills, it’ll be easier to dive into jousting, framing, furniture-making and other specialized areas of this job.

A carpenter can earn between $53,973 and $72,322, but this range can vary depending on your experience and credentials. A high school diploma is a good starting point, but many learn through apprenticeships. Some technical institutions also offer carpentry courses. A certification can be a bonus when applying for a job.

5. Machine Operator

As the job title suggests, this professional deals with heavy machinery in a manufacturing or production plant. Operators ensure that the machine runs smoothly and is appropriately maintained. Safety is a crucial part of the job because machinery can be dangerous if mishandled.

With an annual average salary of $39,339, this position requires a high school diploma or GED. Some roles may require certification or specialized training from vocational schools or community colleges.

If you have mechanical skills and are a good problem solver, this career can be an exciting choice. Machines are essential in the modern era, so the demand for machine operators remains high.

6. Construction Manager

If you like leadership roles, high pay and a fulfilling job, consider exploring a career in construction management. A professional in this field supervises projects, manages budgets and schedules, listens to the concerns of field workers and ensures tasks get finished on time. The annual average salary for this position is $96,659, but factors such as work experience and geographical location can influence this figure.

You must earn a bachelor’s degree in construction management, construction science, architecture or engineering. After graduating from any of these programs, you’ll acquire fundamental knowledge about methods, project development, management, budgeting and building codes.

To advance your career, you can pursue a master’s degree in construction management or certificates from leadership and project management training courses.

7. Civil Engineer

A civil engineer designs, spearheads and oversees private and public construction projects, such as buildings, bridges and roads. They use computer modeling software and data from tests, surveys and maps to design blueprints, which help guide contractors and other site workers on the best course of action.

This career comes with a median salary of $88,050 and a broad range of possible career paths. Candidates for this role must have a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, civil engineering technologies or a similar field. Some positions may require additional certifications and a professional engineer license.

Graduates will then take the Fundamentals of Engineering exam to become engineers-in-training. After at least four years of work experience, they can take the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam to earn their professional engineer license.

If you enjoy collaborating and want to impact society positively, consider taking these steps toward a fulfilling career.

Ditch the Desk

There are many different jobs that stray away from the standard cubicle — and they all come with a rewarding work environment and promising career growth that makes every workday worth it. Which career path are you most excited to explore?