Living in the country is a refreshing change of pace. The natural beauty, the open space, the fresh air, the lower cost of living: it’s often a healthier and less stressful lifestyle compared to living in a big city. The only problem is: with more and more jobs being concentrated in urban areas, how do you build a career living in the country?
In today’s economy, finding a job anywhere can be difficult, but for those living in rural areas, it can seem impossible. More people are living in cities than at any time in human history, and the jobs are following the people into metropolitan areas. But there are still many professions flourishing outside of metropolitan areas, and as a result it’s possible to build a rewarding, lucrative career in rural areas.
There are a variety of jobs which offer good employment prospects for those living in rural areas. Below are ten of the most promising positions for those looking to live the country life.
Our Best Rural Jobs
Career #1: Registered Nurse
As the largest healthcare occupation overall (there are over 2.6 million nurses employed across the country), nurses comprise a significant portion of rural employment and employment continues to grow. Nursing is among the most challenging yet rewarding healthcare professions available, offering the chance to form real bonds with patients while making lasting, substantial improvements to their health.
With aging population requiring more frequent and intensive care, nursing occupations are expected to grow more than twice as fast as the national average in the coming decade. In some areas, nursing facilities may even struggle to find enough qualified candidates to replace an aging nursing population. In rural areas, registered nurses earn an average of $55,000 per year.
Career #2: Accountants and Auditors
As financial and tax regulations become more complex, professional help is more crucial than ever to help manage budgets and tax documents. Accountants and auditors help individuals manage their finances and tax documents, and help organizations adhere to regulations and run efficiently.
As the economy continues to recover, accountants and auditors will be in greater demand, and employment numbers for the field are expected to grow much faster than the national average for all occupations in the near future. Accountants and auditors earn an average of $55,500 annually in rural areas.
Career #3: Construction Manager
The regulations concerning new buildings and building renovation have grown increasingly complex. This means those in charge of construction sites must have the skills and knowledge to not only manage the project at hand, but to do so within the guidelines set forth by local, state, and federal regulations. That’s where construction managers come in.
Employment for construction managers is expected to grow rapidly in the coming decade, though jobs will be dependent on the housing market at the time. Construction managers in rural areas earned an average of $73,500 per year.
Career #4: Pharmacist
Pharmacists dispense both medicine and expertise to patients, and particularly in rural communities, they tend to form lasting relationships with the patients they see on a regular basis.
The increasing middle-aged and elderly population, particularly in rural areas, will drive the continued need for pharmacists. Employment numbers are expected to grow steadily in the coming years. Outside of metro areas, pharmacists earn $101,500 per year on average.
Career #5: Optometrist
Optometrists are most people’s main sources for eye and vision care. They examine people’s eyesight and prescribe eyeglasses, contact lenses, and other corrective measures for their patients. Optometrists can provide a variety of other services, including glaucoma testing, prescribing medication for vision and eye maladies, and providing pre- and post-operative care for patients needing surgery.
Optometry is another field which will benefit from an aging population, as well as an increase in the number of insurance programs covering eye care. Rural optometrists fill a very real need in the community, providing a service to their patients that otherwise might require a trip to a neighboring city. Rural optometrists earn well over $100,000 annually.
Career #6: Petroleum Engineer
Even as the country makes a concerted effort to switch to green, renewable energy sources, our need for petroleum products is still growing and will continue to remain strong for the foreseeable future. Petroleum engineers design methods for discovering, extracting, and managing oil and gas deposits. They design and maintain equipment, analyze deposits, develop enhanced recovery methods, as well as a variety of other duties.
Employment for petroleum engineers is expected to grow steadily. As easily-accessible oil and gas deposits are depleted, engineering expertise will be needed more and more to help recover more difficult deposits. Rural and remote regions are the main focuses of these endeavors, though obviously employment will be focused in those areas with petroleum deposits. Petroleum engineers working outside of urban areas earn $99,500 per year on average.
Career #7: Personal Financial Advisor
No matter where you live, the expertise of qualified advisors is necessary in managing financial portfolios. Personal financial advisors help people manage their assets to meet both short- and long-term goals. They help people in the country and city alike decide which stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other financial products to invest in, and which to avoid.
The job market for personal financial advisors is expected to grow steadily in the next ten years, and a growing retired population, particularly in rural areas, will require professional assistance in managing their portfolios. Personal financial advisors working in rural areas earn an average of $62,500 annually.
Career #8: Teacher
There is much talk these days about the flagging performance of urban schools, yet country schools need good, dedicated teachers just as much as their city counterparts. Job prospects for teachers are expected to be strong in rural areas, as there are simply fewer teachers vying for jobs.
Teachers in rural areas earned an average of about $45,500 annually (and get to enjoy summers off).
Career #9: Veterinarian
Veterinarians provide a crucial service to rural communities. While most veterinarians spend the majority of their time treating companion animals, rural veterinarians may also treat farm animals and livestock as well.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment of veterinarians to increase by a third (33 percent) over the next decade, almost three times the national average for all jobs. Further, as most veterinarians seek to work in major cities or avoid working outside, opportunities for rural vets are expected to be excellent. Vets in rural areas can expect to earn approximately $76,000 per year.
Career #10: Civil Engineer
Civil engineers are responsible for making sure our roads, bridges, buildings, and other construction projects are safe, stable, and able to withstand the elements. They are involved in every major construction project; they often consult in the design and implementation of the plan, and they also inspect, monitor, and analyze buildings and construction during and after construction.
Civil engineering jobs will always depend on the local construction market, but overall, employment numbers are expected to increase by more than double the national average in the next decade. And as infrastructure improvements continue to be implemented in many rural areas, civil engineers will be more needed than ever. Civil engineers working outside of metropolitan areas earn approximately $70,000 per year, on average.