10 healthy deskless jobs

Desk-based, computer-oriented jobs frequently lead to problems such as repetitive strain injury, back pain, and musculoskeletal disorders. Stephanie Loleit from CareerBuilder picks out 10 healthy alternative careers.

Does this sound familiar?

You start work in the morning by sitting down in your cubicle; the day is hard and stressful; you have a quick lunch at your desk; the next time you get up is when you go home at night.

If you spend this much time day by day at your little office cubicle, risks are high that you might also suffer from one or the other office-related illness.

Tense muscles, repetitive strain injury (RSI), obesity and back pain — all these health problems can be caused or increased by desk jobs. According to the healthcare information service NHS, back pain is the second-most common cause of long-term sickness in the UK after stress.

If you feel like running away from your desk once and for all right now, it may be time for you to trade your desk job to one that allows you to spend only the least amount of time sitting down in front of the computer screen.

There are many career paths that let you get up from the desk, out of the office and stay active during work. Here are 10 of them that are suited for various education backgrounds and turn out to be recession-proof, as most of them are even listed on the skills shortage occupation list:

1. Pipe welders
What keeps them active: Welders select and lay out materials, cut, shape and join them, and inspect and test cuts and joins. They make components in a wide range of industries, like construction and engineering, transport, aerospace, and offshore oil and gas. Welders also carry out repairs on manufacturing equipment and machinery.
Average annual earnings: £26,918

2. Secondary education teachers
What keeps them active: They specialise in teaching one or two subjects to children aged 16 to 19. Responsibilities include preparing lessons and teaching materials, marking and assessing work, setting up displays in the classroom, liaising with other professionals such as educational psychologists and discussing pupils’ progress with parents and carers. Much needed are secondary teachers within the subjects of maths and science.
Average annual earnings: £31,100

3. Midwives
What keeps them active: They care for and support pregnant women, their partners and babies, before, during and after childbirth. During labour, a midwife’s duties involve checking how labour is progressing, monitoring the baby, administering pain relief, delivering the baby and referring to a doctor in case of any medical complications.
Average annual earnings: £53,213

4. Registered nurses
What keeps them active: The practical they give could include checking temperatures, measuring blood pressure and respiration rates, helping doctors with physical examinations, giving drugs and injections, cleaning and dressing wounds, administering blood transfusions and drips using hi-tech medical equipment.
Average annual earnings: £26,353

5. Chefs
What keeps them active: A chef’s main duties include planning menus, dealing with suppliers, managing the budget, organising staff, monitoring and maintaining the quality of the food produced in the kitchen, and making sure the kitchen works within relevant hygiene, health and safety guidelines.
Average annual earnings: £27,650

6. Sheep shearers
What keeps them active: They go from property to property shearing sheep using (hand-powered) blade or machine and preparing the wool for market. A workday starts at 7:30 a.m. and the day is divided into four “runs” of two hours each. You need to hold the British Wool Marketing Board bronze medal (or its equivalent).
Average annual earnings: £12,542

7. Physiotherapist
What keeps them active: Physiotherapists treat patients with a range of physical difficulties, which may be caused by accidents, disability, illness or ageing. They work with patients to maximise the range of movement they experience, and to promote health and wellbeing.
Average annual earnings: £33,679

8. Veterinarian
What keeps them active: A vet in general practice has, among others, following duties: diagnose and treat sick and injured animals, operate on ill or injured animals, carry out x-rays, laboratory tests and ultrasound scans, administer regular health checks, give vaccinations and advise owners on care and diet.
Average annual earnings: £43,356

9. Dental practitioners
What keeps them active: The work of a general practice dentist involves providing patients with a range of services including: dental treatments, such as teeth whitening, fillings, extractions, fitting dentures and bridges, taking X-rays and administering local anaesthetic, referring patients to a dental hygienist or dental therapist for certain treatments.
Average annual earnings: £62,801

10. Speech and language therapist
What keeps them active: Speech and language therapists assess and support people with communication problems as well as those with issues surrounding eating, drinking and swallowing. They work with clients to maximise their ability to communicate, which may be in one-to-one or group sessions.
Average annual earnings: £35,161

Average salary source: SalaryExpert.com and defra.gov.uk

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