15 jobs that are perfect for people who don’t want to sit at a desk all day

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The human body was built for activity. The sedentary lifestyle that comes with sitting at a desk all day is not great for your mental or physical health. And excessive time at a desk is a surefire way to damage your lower back.

Besides that, some people just prefer to be more active and on their feet.

If this is you, here are 15 jobs to consider, that are perfect for people who hate the idea of sitting at a desk all day:

1. Nursing—Registered nurses are found in all kinds of different medical settings. They work with doctors, surgeons, and other medical professionals to help care for patients. They often specialize in disciplines such as geriatrics, pediatrics, oncology, or other medical specialties. In many states, a registered nurse license requires a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. An upward trajectory can be had by pursuing additional education.

2. Construction—The construction field covers a wide variety of disciplines, talents, and skills. All of which can lead upward toward a construction management role if that’s your desire. Many construction companies prefer having project managers with experience in the industry as they better understand the challenges that workers face. Many of these roles do not require a college education, though trade certifications are looked on favorably.

3. Retail—Retail, and in particular retail management, is a position that many people overlook. In many companies, retail management is an incredibly accessible career that you can work your way up to within a few years. There tends to be a high degree of employee turnover in retail, making it an easier position to shoot for than many. Most positions don’t require a college degree, though for some roles, a degree in business helps.

4. Salesperson—Salespeople make the world go round. It doesn’t matter if you want to buy a car off a lot, or if a business is looking to buy thousands of widgets for their production chains, salespeople make it happen. Working in sales is a great choice for charismatic people and social butterflies. It’s about using the gift of the gab to connect, find common ground, and make the sale. That’s not a skill set you can really learn in a classroom.

5. Electrician—Electricians are an often in-demand vocation. A powerline worker can be a dangerous role as they often work in risky conditions, like storms when power lines go down. However, a house or commercial electrician typically finds themselves indoors doing repair work or running new electrical infrastructure which is fairly safe if you follow proper procedures. Electricians do require a certification and license, which makes it a higher-paying trade than others that don’t.

6. Chef—Many people hear chef and they think of a person standing behind a stove, creating fancy foods. However, chefs also have duties like managing their kitchen, planning menus, and ordering stock. Being a chef is a role that you can work your way up to, though many chefs receive formal schooling in their discipline of choice. For example, a pastry chef may attend a program to specifically learn the nuances of preparing pastries.

7. Law enforcement—Police officers are on their feet regularly. Depending on their position, they may spend their time driving out to deal with complaints, to help get them under control, or to resolve them. In many places, being a police officer doesn’t require a college degree, but people without one may find their upward career trajectory hampered. For positions above street police, precincts often want people with higher education.

8. Plumber—Plumbing is an excellent, in-demand trade because people often underestimate it. They tend to think that plumbers only deal with septic problems which many people find gross. However, plumbers do much more than that. They can specialize in disciplines like new installation or water supply plumbing which are jobs that do not put you in contact with septic work. Plumbing is a job that typically requires a statewide license to ensure that plumbers understand building codes.

9. Dental Hygienist—A dental hygienist works under the direction of dentists to care for patients. They help provide preventative oral care like cleaning, taking X-rays, and educating patients. Dental hygienists help screen for common oral conditions like gingivitis or gum disease. In most places, a dental hygienist requires an Associate’s Degree and a license.

10. Real Estate Agent—Real estate agents facilitate the renting, buying, and selling of property. They work with other agents, buyers, and sellers to help meet their clients’ needs. Their duties include things like advertising locations, taking clients to view properties, helping them make informed decisions, negotiating prices, and filing the legal documents that go along with sales. They often help advise clients on selling their properties or host open viewings for them.

11. Massage Therapist—Massage therapists help provide treatment to clients to reduce tension, alleviate stress, and support their pain treatment and management. Many massage therapists work in therapeutic settings, while others may be mobile or work in a spa-like environment. In most cases, massage therapy requires certification from an accredited training program.

12. Physical Therapy Assistant—Physical therapy assistants work under the supervision of certified physical therapists. They assist and rehabilitate patients through physical issues with movement, massage, exercise, and more. Physical therapy assistants require an Associate’s Degree and state-specific certification.

13. Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant—A certified occupational therapy assistant works under the guidance of a licensed occupational therapist. Their role is to help patients improve mental acuity and cognitive and executive functioning. They plan, deliver, and support patients’ recovery through daily exercises and goal setting. A certified occupational therapy assistant requires an associate’s degree and state-specific certification.

14. HVAC Technician—HVAC is short for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. These technicians are an often in-demand trade. No matter where you live or where you are, HVAC is a necessary and ongoing need. HVAC techs often spend their time driving from site to site or roaming a building where they’re employed to perform regular maintenance. To become an HVAC technician, you must complete a licensed HVAC technician program.

15. Landscape Technician—Landscapers and landscape technicians help to design, install, and maintain landscapes for homes, parks, businesses, golf courses, and other relevant spaces. They may work in teams, alone, or for landscaping companies. Landscaping doesn’t require a degree, but certificates of training or an apprenticeship can help launch your career and give you a competitive edge.


These are just a selection of the career opportunities available to people who don’t want to be stuck behind a desk all day.

You can bet there are hundreds more out there.

Whatever your passion or skill, somewhere out there is the perfect job for you.

About The Author

Jack Nollan is a person who has lived with Bipolar Disorder and Bipolar-depression for almost 30 years now. Jack is a mental health writer of 10 years who pairs lived experience with evidence-based information to provide perspective from the side of the mental health consumer. With hands-on experience as the facilitator of a mental health support group, Jack has a firm grasp of the wide range of struggles people face when their mind is not in the healthiest of places. Jack is an activist who is passionate about helping disadvantaged people find a better path.