15 Careers in Exploration (With Duties and Salaries)

Updated 19 February 2023

Many people seek out occupations that allow them to explore new things. Some people enjoy going on adventures and learning more about the world around them. Learning about the types of careers in exploration can help you decide on your future career. In this article, we list 15 careers in exploration and provide the primary duties and average salaries of each job.

Related: Career Planner: Definition and How to Outline Your Career

What is exploration?

Exploration refers to gathering new knowledge about the world and people. Some exploration is physical, like when an archaeologist searches for new fossil sites in the middle of a desert or when a marine biologist dives into the ocean to check new coral reefs. Other types of exploration are intellectual, like when a historian unearths long-lost archives in an archive or when a criminal investigator analyses new evidence to solve a case.

Related: Who Is an Archivist? With Duties, Education and Skills

These careers cover a wide range of sectors and involve a diverse set of skills and competencies. Some of these jobs require you to physically travel the world, while others require staying in one location and getting yourself engaged in intensive intellectual exploration. Although these jobs may seem very different from each other, they all share the common goals of learning new things, addressing questions about the world and experiencing new adventures.

Related: How to Make a Career Plan and Set Career Goals (With Benefits)

15 careers in exploration

There are many unconventional careers in exploration to choose from. It's helpful to know which career suits your personal background, abilities and interests. Here are 15 careers in exploration that you can consider:

1. Journalist

National average salary: $4,257 per month

Primary duties: Journalists mainly investigate trending or current events and process them into well-written articles for public consumption. Journalists can be self-employed as freelancers or work for media outlets. Depending on the content they handle, journalists can work locally, nationally or internationally to locate interesting stories and fresh information for new articles. They interview people, research current trends and try to get exclusive information on criminal investigations or political events.

Related: How to Make a Successful Career Switch

2. Travel or wildlife photographer

National average salary: $2,420 per month

Primary duties: Photographers who specialise in travel or wildlife take photos of mesmerising sceneries or animals. These photographers are mostly freelancers that sell their work to magazines, websites or other media outlets. Wildlife photographers generally look for pictures of animals and plants, but travel photographers may photograph people, historic places or cultural events. These photographers may also use their images to raise awareness of certain social issues.


  • What Is a Freelance Photographer? Steps To Become One

  • How to Create a Successful Photographer Resume (With Skills)

3. Marine biologist

National average salary: $3,907 per month

Primary duties: Marine biologists are scientists that study the development and interactions of species that live in the water. They may work for universities or non-profit research organisations. Marine biologists frequently go to ocean sites around the world to conduct research. They also work in labs, analysing the samples they collect to discover new information about marine life.

4. Pilot

National average salary: $4,995 per month

Primary duties: A pilot's primary responsibilities include flying aeroplanes to transport people and cargo from one area to another. They can work for a commercial airline, a government organisation or a military department. They may also work as freelance pilots to provide private air tours. While some commercial pilots may fly to more common destinations throughout their careers, other pilots' destinations may entail more diverse locations. Military pilots, for example, may go on missions to remote locations, while commercial pilots may operate planes only to set regions.

Read more: What Is the Army Sign-On Bonus? (With FAQs)

5. Tour guide

National average salary: $5,333 per month

Primary duties: Tour guides are responsible for leading guests around a city or country to view local landmarks, eat authentic food and participate in cultural activities. Some tour guides work in their own country, sharing their personal culture and experience with tourists, while others work in other countries leading tours for visitors from their country of origin in their native language. Tour guides may specialise in certain fields, such as art and culture or adventure, meeting the needs of tourists.

Related: How To Be a Tour Guide in Singapore (With Career FAQs)

6. Wildlife biologist

National average salary: $4,725 per month

Primary duties: Wildlife biologists perform research to understand the biodiversity of native animal species in a specific environment. Many wildlife biologists travel to national conservations or other uninhabited areas to conduct field research into the characteristics and behavioural patterns of wild animals. This career in exploration may provide practical solutions to alleviate environmental issues and restore the habitats of endangered animals.

7. Archaeologist

National average salary: $5,916 per month

Primary duties: An archaeologist's primary responsibilities include preserving historical objects, recovering historical data and discovering more about the lives of people from ancient civilisations. They work at museums, non-profit organisations or institutions of higher education. Archaeologists may spend their days working with archives and reading historical manuscripts, but they may also travel to dig sites to conduct their research. University archaeologists can teach lectures in related disciplines like history, languages or anthropology.

8. Historian

National average salary: $5,231 per month

Primary duties: Historians are academics who research and write about the past, frequently disclosing new information or challenging common conceptions of past events. They typically work for historical organisations, government agencies or universities. They may also write books and provide lectures for students. Depending on their area of expertise, some historians may go to the sites of significant historical events to study original documents and conduct research.

Related: Research Skills: Definition, Examples and Importance

9. Geologist

National average salary: $3,449 per month

Primary duties: A geologist's primary responsibilities include researching the composition and erosion of the rocks and minerals that make up the crust of the Earth. They may work for a government agency, a non-profit research group or a commercial corporation. Their employment may allow them to undertake their field studies in other parts of the world. Some geologists lend their expertise to government agencies and businesses to provide knowledge on industrial ways to preserve geological formations. Other geologists forecast the impacts of natural disasters, like earthquakes and tsunamis, so that government agencies can prepare and respond accordingly.


  • How To Become a Geologist (Definition, Skills and Salary)

  • How to Create a Geologist Resume: A Complete Guide

10. Criminal investigator

National average salary: $10,152 per month

Primary duties: A criminal investigator is generally responsible for gathering evidence and applying critical thinking skills to solve criminal cases. Local police forces, federal agencies, the military or criminal investigative bureau employ criminal investigators. Criminal investigators collect witness accounts and forensic evidence in the field which may require them to travel frequently. To assess evidence and solve criminal cases, they collaborate closely with lab technicians and other specialists in the field.

Related: How To Be a Crime Scene Investigator (With FAQs)

11. Oceanographer

National average salary: $3,907 per month

Primary duties: Scientists who study the geological, chemical and biological makeup of the Earth's waters are oceanographers. They may work for government agencies or research institutes universities to conduct studies on oceanic issues and develop solutions for such issues. Some oceanographers examine the trends of consequences that arise from pollution or climate change, while others research the mineral composition of a sea or assess ocean conditions to assist the government in regulating coastal construction.

12. Geographer

National average salary: $6,644 per month

Primary duties: A geographer's primary responsibility includes doing research on land features and relating new information to existing maps and global positioning data. They can work for government institutions or private architectural and engineering businesses. This career in exploration usually involves advising teams on new building projects or other industrial-related work. Human geographers research population density patterns and other metrics to understand the interaction between population and land, whereas physical geographers investigate geological formations and the placement of natural resources.

Related: 11 Types of Jobs in Natural Resources (With Salaries)

13. Travel writer

National average salary: $3,488 per month

Primary duties: A travel writer's primary responsibility is to visit various locations around the world and write articles for their personal blog, magazines or other publications. They're mostly self-employed freelancers who sell their work to travel websites, magazine publications and tourism boards. They may also run their own travel website or write their own travel books. This career allows you to explore other countries and reflect on the environment, historical landmarks and culture of the places that you've visited.

14. Anthropologist

National average salary: $4,394 per month

Primary duties: The primary responsibilities of anthropologists entail staying in a cultural site for an extended period of time for research purposes, gathering data on how certain cultures operate and sharing your data through academic articles. Anthropologists usually work for universities, non-profit research organisations or governmental agencies. They may receive many opportunities to travel to different cultural communities. Anthropological work overlaps with various fields, like history, sociology and psychology.

15. Food critic

National average salary: $3,460 per month

Primary duties: Food critics are mainly responsible for creating articles or content on new restaurants or food establishments. Working independently as freelancers, they post food reviews and commentaries on blogs, magazines or social media. Many food critics receive funding to travel around a particular region to try cultural foods or modern dining in that area. They can help restaurants improve their dining experience and food quality.

Related: What Does a Food Critic Do? Definition, Job Scope and Skills

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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