Before You Grow Up: Be An Arborist

There are only a few carefree summers in your life. Don’t waste them interning at law firms—opt for one of these adventure-packed seasonal gigs instead.

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    Photo: Freesolo Photography

Great outdoor jobs are rare for kids marooned in suburbia. Climbing trees in a harness with a chainsaw? An exception.

Prereqs: A willingness to get dirty—think feeding branches into a chipper—and hang out in high places. “There’s lots of rope work, so rock-climbing skills translate well,” says Nicholas Dankers, of Seattle’s Tree Cycle.

How to Break In: Find a local arborist who needs an assistant and will teach you to use a chainsaw. You’ll do the menial stuff—debris, work the chipper—before getting in the harness. “I ran the chipper for three weeks, until my boss realized I wasn’t an idiot,” says Calgary, Alberta, arborist Mike Bedard. “But I thought the chipper was awesome!”

Pay: Varies from $10 per hour in Ohio to $14 in Seattle.

Romance Potential: Extremely poor, unless you're female. It’s a male-dominated (and wood-chip-covered) field.

Résumé Skills: Teamwork, belaying, safe operation of heavy machinery.

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