10 Most Physically Demanding Jobs for a Truly Non-Sedentary Career

Interested in learning about (and maybe working) the most physically demanding jobs? Here are the top 10 jobs requiring lots of manual labor.

More and more people are working sedentary jobs, especially after the coronavirus pandemic.

Sitting still at a desk is a breeze for many people. They enjoy the stability of coming into an office every day. However, for other people, this sounds like torture. 

Some people seek out physically demanding jobs. Not only do they want to use their brain and wit, but they also want to use their body and strength. 

If you’re one of those people, you’re in luck. Below is a list of 10 physically demanding jobs to consider. 

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1. Firefighter

Many of us remember learning about firefighters when we were in elementary school. We learned they help keep our community safe, put out massive fires, and rescue the occasional cat stuck in a tree.

While this is all true, most of us forget being a firefighter is one of the hardest jobs in the world. Firefighters undergo intense training and work long hours to keep us safe.

Do you want to become a firefighter? You must be of 18 years of age and undergo intense training. You’ll also need a clean law record and a high school diploma.

Once a firefighter improves their physical strength and stamina, they prepare for a written exam and psychological evaluation. Firefighters must also enroll and graduate from a fire academy.

This job is best for someone who takes pride in making their community a better place and who isn’t afraid of significant risks. 

(Bonus: It’s one of the most physical jobs that pay well. Especially as you move up in rank.)

2. Mechanic

Are you someone that has an eye for detail and works well with their hands? Do you know a thing or two about cars? If so, there’s a good chance you’ve considered becoming a mechanic.

Automotive mechanics perform repairs and diagnostic tests on our everyday vehicles. We go to them if our engine light comes on or if we need a quick oil change.

Some people may think of being a mechanic as one of the less physically demanding jobs, but this career requires you to be on your feet around the clock. Mechanics lift and fix car parts and operate heavy machinery- adding it to the list of tough jobs.

In order to become a mechanic, an individual must have a high school diploma or GED. They’ll then either want to attend a trade school or an undergraduate program to study automotive technology.

Mechanics can strengthen their skills throughout their careers by earning certifications through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).

Related Read: 14 Rewarding Jobs That Help People and Pay Well

3. Correctional Officers

Being a correctional officer requires physical strength and emotional grit. It’s one of the top jobs to keep you active and is best for someone who can remain calm in intense environments. 

A correctional officer is responsible for overseeing individuals who have had a run-in with the law. They enforce guidelines within prisons, courthouses, jails, and detention centers. 

Taking a closer look at their roles, correctional officers are the ones to break up prison fights, check in with troubled inmates, and prevent escapes. 

Aside from being physically fit, a correctional officer must also have a clean criminal record and a bachelor’s degree (or 3 years of experience in a related field). Check with your state’s specific qualifications if you’re interested in pursuing this career path.

Training for this career includes learning how to handle firearms, restrain violent inmates, and perform emergency procedures. And while a correctional officer doesn’t need a law degree, they’ll most likely learn the basics of criminal justice and proper arrest procedures.

4. Landscaper

Becoming a landscaper is great for those who enjoy active jobs in a variety of environments. Landscapers work in public parks, at private homes, or within state-owned preserves.

Landscapers trim grass and trees, water plants, pull weeds, lay down turf, and make improvements to irrigation. These different roles may have them standing, kneeling, or squatting. 

Some landscapers are even required to use dangerous machinery, such as chainsaws. Using this type of equipment takes skill and strength. 

Most landscaping jobs don’t require a formal college education. More than likely, a landscaper will only need a high school diploma and experience. 

For landscapers working with fertilizers and other chemicals, their supervisor may require a specialized certification. 

Related Read: 10+ Best Trade Jobs for Students & Graduates of Technical School

5. Fisherman

Sitting by a pond with a fishing pole is relaxing. But it’s much different than being a professional fisherman. 

Being a fisherman is one of the most physically demanding, and at times, dangerous jobs. It takes a brave and knowledgeable person to become a master of the seas, especially during rough storms.

A commercial fisherman is tasked with finding fish, supervising crew members, steering the boat, maintaining equipment, and hoisting heavy nets. Some work in large boats that stay at sea for long periods of time while others work on small boats that head out only for the day.

No formal education is required to become a fisherman, and it’s best to have some connections in mind when looking for a professional fishing job. At times, commercial fishermen are required to become certified through courses offered by the U.S. Coastguard.

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6. Porter/Bellhop

Are you looking for physical jobs in a steady environment? Becoming a hotel porter/bellhop could be the solution for you!

Porters are hotel employees who assist guests with carrying luggage and maneuvering luggage carts. They also escort guests to different parts of the hotel, assist in calling taxis, and tidy up the hotel lobby.

This job will keep anyone on their feet all day long, and you must be able to lift large pieces of luggage. We also suggest having great communication skills and the ability to stay calm when working with difficult guests.

Becoming a porter doesn’t require formal education. Hotels train porters onsite by teaching specific duties and how to operate industrial equipment.

While it isn’t one of the physically demanding jobs that pay well, most porters move up in hourly pay with experience.

Related Read: The 5+ Best Career Advice Websites for Employment Tips & Interview Help

7. Personal Trainer

In order to help a client reach their physical goals, a personal trainer must embrace the physical challenges of the job. 

Physical trainers must be active, knowledgeable about human anatomy, and showcase excellent communication and motivation skills. They may work for local gyms or operate on a freelance basis.

If you become a physical trainer, you’ll be expected to create custom workout plans, offer corrective guidance on form, and use a science-based approach to promote overall wellness. You could even run into clients with major injuries!

Becoming a personal trainer isn’t as easy as one would think. Trainers must select a certified training course, take the time to study, and pass an exam. Most gyms also require their trainers to gain experience through shadowing.

8. Roofer

A roofer is a construction worker that repairs and lays roofs on homes, commercial buildings, etc. It’s one of the most labor-intensive jobs on the market. 

Specific job roles of a roofer include repairing materials damaged by storms, completing roofing inspections, and installing roofs. Depending on your status, you may also be in charge of supervising large teams.

In order to become a roofer, an individual must develop an eye for detail and a strong body. Because roofing is one of the most intense hard labor jobs, it can take a toll on the body’s muscles and joints. (A roofer also can’t be afraid of heights!)

Most roofing jobs only require a high school diploma. Although to snag a better position, enroll in trade school and complete certification courses. 

Related Read: 12 Best Seasonal Jobs for Young Professionals & College Students

9. Brick Mason

Taking one of the top spots on our list of the most physically demanding jobs, becoming a brick mason is no easy task. 

This job requires working long hours, lifting heavy materials, and operating outdoors. If you do become a brick mason, guarantee to protect your back as you bend and lift bricks. 

Job roles of a brick mason include reading blueprints, creating brick patterns, mixing mortar, and polishing structure walls. 

To become a brick mason, an individual must have a high school diploma or GED. Brickmasons gain experience by jumping in on jobs, but many also pursue certifications through apprenticeships and trade schools. 

10. Choreographer

For those with a passion for dance and teaching, becoming a choreographer might be the career path you’ve been looking for! Plus, the job will keep anyone in shape due to it being one of the most physically active jobs. 

They’re required to create dances, demonstrate them to students, and offer corrective advice. Many choreographers also have a hand in creating students’ nutrition and workout plans. 

Luckily, there are many types of dance so you won’t feel too constrained if you decide to become a choreographer. It’s an excellent career for those who enjoy moving their body and being creative.

The road to becoming a choreographer is long. It requires a strong background and training in dance, formal training on how to teach, and years of professional experience. 

Most choreographers get their foot in the door by mentoring other professionals or becoming entry-level instructors at local studios and schools. 

Related Read: 7 Weird, Odd & Unique Jobs That Pay Well for an Unconventional Career

Keep It Movin’: Physically Demanding Jobs

Are you frightened by the idea of sitting still at work? Do you pride yourself on having a good physique? Check out the above list of physically demanding jobs. 

Work in the outdoors as a landscaper or roofer, or take shelter inside as a hotel porter. Live life on the edge by becoming a fireman or fisherman. Help others achieve their goals as a personal trainer or choreographer. 

The possibilities are endless! Explore even more career possibilities by exploring the rest of our site. We offer guides on all things career and education-related, such as a guide on how to apply for college.

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Goodwall Team
Written By Goodwall Team
This article was written by the Goodwall team or by a contributor for publication on Goodwall. Goodwall is dedicated to helping students, entrepreneurs, and young professionals reach their full potential. We'll share thought-provoking and supportive articles on career advice, self-improvement, navigating the college landscape, climate action, social impact, and more. On the business side, we'll talk about SMB subjects related to community, diversity, talent acquisition, case studies, and enterprise.

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