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Which Careers Require the Most Traveling?

In spite of the rise in telecommuting and conference technologies, certain careers continue to require a great deal of traveling. Careers that require the most travel are varied, ranging from the sciences to sales and more.

Overview of Careers Requiring Travel

Below, you can read job descriptions for five of the career fields that require the most travel; in fact, travel is often a major job requirement. You can also get information on education options and the employment outlook.

Important Facts About These Careers

Airline Pilots Sales Managers Geoscientists
Key Skills Quick reaction time, communication, and problem-solving skills Leadership, customer service, and analytical skills Critical-thinking, outdoor, and problem-solving skills
Similar Occupations Tractor-trailer truck driver, railroad worker Market research analyst, marketing manager Materials scientist, hydrologist
Work Environment Typically working in a small team, sometimes under stressful conditions Often stressful and full of several responsibilities Often in the field, a laboratory, or an office, sometimes physically demanding
Work Schedule Typically irregular hours because of layovers; minimum time off is required Often full-time, sometimes at night or on weekends Full-time, sometimes irregular hours in the field

Airline Pilot

The very core of a major airline pilot's job is to travel. Due to the strain caused by such excessive traveling, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) limits the amount hours a pilot can work to 100 hours a month and requires that they get eight hours of uninterrupted sleep prior to completing their flight duties. Major airline pilots frequently learn to fly planes during service in the military and work their way up from pilots of small planes to large commercial airliners. Civilians can get training through associate's and bachelor's degree programs, and employers often prefer pilots who have a college education. Commercial pilots need to be 18, have a minimum of 250 flying hours, meet physical standards and pass examinations to qualify for a license, and airline pilots need to be 23 and have at least 1,500 clocked hours of flying experience.

Employment Outlook and Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a growth of 3% is projected for the employment of airline pilots, copilots and flight engineers is expected between 2019 and 2029. Growth of 9% is expected for commercial pilots, however. In 2020, the median annual wage of airline and commercial pilots was $93,300, also listed by the BLS.

Regional Manager or Salesperson

Large corporations and chains with numerous physical locations often create the position of regional manager in order to bring consistent management to those sites. Regional managers often have a degree but are usually promoted from within the company. Similarly, salespeople in large organizations are often appointed to a given region, requiring them to travel among clients within that area. These careers require significant amounts of travel, particularly between the sites within the region and visits to the corporate office.

Employment Outlook and Salary

Employment of all sales managers, including regional sales managers, is expected to grow 4% from 2019-2029. Competition for job openings should be stiff, but it's a relatively secure job once you attain a position, according to the BLS. Sales managers earned a median annual wage of $132,290 in 2020.

Geoscientist

Geoscientists may locate groundwater, petroleum, precious metals and other valuable natural resources. As such, geoscientists in the public and private realms must travel frequently to sites that require analysis. According to the BLS, although a bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement, this traveling career has excellent job prospects for those who possess a master's degree. Prospective geoscientists should know that some states require them to earn a license.

Employment Outlook and Salary

A faster than average job growth of 5% is expected in the geoscience career field in the 2019-2029 decade, and most jobs are expected to be in consulting services for oil and gas location, resource management and environmental conservation. The median annual salary for geoscientists (not including hydrologists and geographers) was $93,580 in 2020. Statistics were reported by the BLS.

Federal Law Enforcement Official

While local and state law enforcement officials are tasked with patrolling a specific location, federal law enforcement officers must travel frequently to investigate a number of cases throughout the nation. Professionals in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Secret Service and others all travel around the country (and possibly around the world) as needed to investigate crimes. Most federal positions require a minimum of a bachelor's degree and often want applicants to have prior experience in law enforcement.

Employment Outlook and Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of law enforcement workers was forecast to grow by 5% from 2019-2029. Prospective federal employees who have a bachelor's degree, know at least one foreign language and have investigative experience may stand out. The 2020 median annual salary for law enforcement workers was $67,290.

Technical Consultant

The term 'consultant' covers a wide range of careers, but simply outlines the temporary and highly transitive nature of the position. A network consultant, for example, travels extensively to client centers to establish end-to-end communication links. Coincidentally, such work is increasingly required to facilitate better teleconferencing and cut down on costs associated with the client's own travel expenses. Computer programming consultants may travel less, but will normally work alongside a client's in-house staff to develop software solutions. The vast majority of consultants possess a bachelor's degree or greater.

Employment Outlook and Salary

Job growth and salary information for technical consultants more broadly are not available, but data for some specific job titles is. Computer programmers are expected to have a 9% decline in employment and computer support specialists are predicted to see an 8% increase in jobs from 2019-2029. In 2020, computer programmers earned a median income of $89,190, while computer user support specialists made $52,690 and computer network support specialists made $65,450, per BLS listings.