Careers for people who like hands-on problem solving

If your idea of a great job includes using tools, or working with animals, plants or materials like wood and machinery, you have a world of excellent career options to consider.

African american woman carpenter working

Hands on careers often emphasize physical activity and time outdoors, and tend to de-emphasize paperwork and interaction with people. Many of the people who are drawn to hands on careers are independent, systematic thinkers, who prefer straightforward communication and practical tasks. Their interests might include repairing items, athletics, gardening, camping, or other outdoor pursuits.

Additional characteristics:

  • Solving concrete problems rather than abstract issues.
  • Often good in emergencies because of awareness of physical world and comfort with materials.
  • Often physically strong, able to use their physical strength to handle situations and solve problems, for example firefighters, tailors, sports instructors, farmers, taxi drivers, or carpenters.
  • May be intrigued by systems such as plumbing, electrical, and mechanical.
  • Curiosity about the built environment is common.

If this sounds like you, one way to get a clearer idea of your career options is to take an interest assessment and explore the careers listed in your results. You can take a career interest assessment on CareerOneStop to identify your strongest career interests and then view a list of related occupations.

Interest assessment results that show a high interest in practical, hands-on work, are categorized as “Realistic”, defined this way:

Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Check out career profiles and watch videos about these bright outlook careers with Realistic interests:

View the full list of Realistic occupations on O*NET.

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