10 Professions To Learn From To Survive The End Of The World

Prepping has always been about the worst-case scenario.

Maybe that’s because those really scary disasters motivate us more or maybe it’s just that in preparing for a true “the end of the world as we know it” (aka TEOTWAWKI) event make us ready for anything else we might encounter.

Regardless of the reason, there are enough of these major catastrophes in the world’s history to show us that they really can happen.

While most people who have lived on the face of this earth haven’t had to deal with anything more than a regional natural disaster, some have had to deal with much worse. To the people of Europe who survived World War II, that was a life-changing event. The same can be said for those who lived through the Great Depression or the Black Plague.

Real disasters happen. What skills would help you survive?

When I was growing up, the biggest risk we faced was that of thermonuclear war. The Cuban Missile Crisis, in 1962, was probably the closest we came to total annihilation back then. I was as glad as anyone when the Berlin Wall came down and the Cold War ended.

But we are now in another cold war and it is looking much more like it’s going to turn into a hot war that that one ever did. Should that happen, or even worse, turn out to be an EMP attack, we could easily find ourselves living in a post-apocalyptic world; a world in which we’re going to have to do everything without the benefit of electric power.

In such a case, people will be scrambling to learn the necessary skills to survive. But even more than that, they’ll have to learn how to do the things necessary to rebuild society. We are too accustomed to our technology and our comforts to just give up on them. People will be wanting things the way they are used to, or at least as close to that as they can get them.

With that in mind, it only makes sense to learn the necessary skills for living in a world without electricity. This doesn’t just mean surviving for ourselves, but helping others to survive as well; something that is normally outside of our plans as preppers.

I realize that most of us live and operate under the philosophy of taking care of ourselves, our families and our survival team. If all we’re concerned about is survival, that makes sense. But if we want our children to have a better life than that, enjoying some of the benefits we have today, we’re going to have to do more than just survive. We’re going to have to be ready to rebuild our world and as much of the technology that drives it as we can.

That job will probably fall to us, rather than to others, simply because we are the ones who are going to survive. So, we not only should be learning survival skills, but others which will help us to make things work.

Native American Doctor

Medicine is going to be one of the biggest problems in a post-apocalyptic world. While most people would die of starvation, many will also die for lack of medicine.

Today’s pharmaceutical industry depends on supplies that come from all over. Without transportation, they won’t have the materials they need to make the medicines that modern society depends on. Even if they could, without transportation those medicines wouldn’t get to you and me.

When the medicines that are locally stocked in hospitals and pharmacies are used up, there will be no more. The only medicines that will exist will be those that nature provides. The doctors of the American Indians knew those medicines and some still use them. If you can find one of them, and learn their craft, you’ll have one of the most useful skills that exist.

Even if you can’t find a Native American doctor, you could still learn about their medicine. There is a growing movement of people who believe in herbal medicine, which is based to a large part of the same roots as those Native American doctors’ medicine.

While you probably wouldn’t learn everything that a Native American Doctor could teach you, you’ll end up a whole lot better off, with a whole lot more information, than what you have now.


Pharmacists are actually trained for much more than just counting out pills, they are highly trained chemists. More than doctors, they know how different medicines interact and how they react once in our bodies.

Some pharmacists even know how to make medicines. That’s what you’re looking for: a pharmacist who can show you how to make your own penicillin, ether and chloroform will be giving you information that can save lives.

In addition to medical chemistry, there are probably other things you can learn from these people, such as how to make biofuel and other useful chemical substances.


Everyone knows what the “world’s oldest profession” is; but I’ve never heard agreement on what the second and third oldest are.

Personally, I think that the midwife has to be pretty high on that list, as the “oldest” would necessitate midwifery. So even if something like farming or shepherding would beat it out (Able was a shepherd and Cain a farmer), midwives have been around for a long, long time.

As long as babies are being born, there will be a need for midwives. This will be especially true in times when there aren’t enough doctors to help women through childbirth. In a post-apocalyptic world, there’s a much greater possibility of women using midwives, than doctors.

Amish Farmer

Modern farming has become industrialized, with massive corporate farms and lots of expensive equipment. Even smaller farms depend heavily on equipment, with the tractor long ago having replaced the horse or oxen.

But the Amish never made that transition. Today’s Amish farmers largely do things the way their ancestors did them, still using horses as the main source of power on the farm. This gives them an incredible advantage over the rest of us, who don’t have the slightest idea of how to do things without gas engines and electric power.

Should we find ourselves on the receiving end of an EMP, the Amish will be less affected by it than any other group of people in our country. That’s basically because they don’t depend on electricity or the modern electronics that the rest of us use.

Their communities will thrive, while the rest of the country is dying. Spending time with one of these farmers and learning the methods and tools they use, would prepare you to be able to feed your family and many more, once the brown stuff hits the rotary air movement device.


Ranching and farming aren’t the same thing. Throughout the time of the Old West, these two groups of people fought for the use of the land. That’s because the best farmland was also the best land for raising cattle, or should I say the best ranchland was often the best land for farming.

Of all the animals that mankind has domesticated through the years, cattle give us the most meat per animal.

Another way of putting that is that cattle give us the most meat for effort expended. That makes them the perfect sort of animal to raise for meat, assuming you’ve got enough land to raise them.


In the military, all “special action groups” are collectively known as “snake eaters.” It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about the Navy’s SEALs, the Army’s Special Forces or any other group, they all fall into the same general category.

Snake eaters are the best of the best. In the Army, Special Forces is not only the group that is called upon for unconventional warfare (guerrilla warfare), but they are the ones who are sent to other countries, in order to train their militaries. In fact, Special Forces got their start that way, first as the Jedburgh Teams in World War II and then as advisors in Greece and elsewhere.

Many people think of these snake eaters as expert survivalists. But that depends largely upon the environment you are talking of. They aren’t experts in the sense that you and I are trying to be, but rather in surviving any combat action. Their superior training makes them the best soldiers to have on your side, should things become violent.

Spending time with any snake eaters, learning their combat skills, will greatly increase your chances of not falling prey to the two-legged predators that will be out in force after a disaster strikes.

Hunting Guide

Hunting may not be the most efficient way of finding food after a collapse, but it may still be a very necessary part of our survival. But what most people consider hunting today is sitting in a deer blind, waiting for deer to start munching on the seed corn they put out.

While this may be an efficient way of hunting, it’s highly dependent on having the right equipment and the right place. I don’t think that’s something that any of us can count on in a post-apocalyptic world. Rather, we’re going to have to go hunting the old-fashioned way, tracking animals, learning their habits and then laying wait for one alongside a trail.

Skills like that aren’t something you can learn from just any hunter, as they probably don’t know them either. Rather, you’re going to need someone who started hunting before people used corn and deer blinds to hunt.

That’s why I recommend a hunting guide, rather than just any hunter. They’re more likely to know the skills you’ll need.


If you’ve ever read any of my other post-apocalyptic articles, you know that I believe strongly in the profession of blacksmithing.

Before the dawn of the industrial age, the blacksmith made just about anything that could be made out of metal. From armor and weapons to shoeing farmer’s horses, the blacksmith was the man to see.

There are few blacksmiths in the world today; mostly because modern industry has replaced them. But when industry is taken away, then what? Who will be able to make the tools and other things that we need? It will have to be blacksmiths, or someone with very similar skills.

My father learned how to be a blacksmith, once he retired; apprenticing with a lifelong blacksmith who was a true artist of the trade. Unfortunately, I only learned a little of it from him, and don’t have a forge and anvil to practice on. If I could find one around where I live, I’d love to spend some time in his shop, learning what I could.

Mr. Fix-It

You probably know someone who can fix just about anything; a Mr. Fix-It (or perhaps a Mrs. Fix-It). These are some of the world’s most useful people and will probably be the true leaders of rebuilding society after a major disaster.

What makes these people so special is that they aren’t limited to just one trade, like many people are. Rather, they’re comfortable with any number of trades and even with fixing things that don’t fall within any particular trade. Whatever you need designed, built or repaired, they can find a way to do it; often a rather imaginative way.

I consider myself to be one of these people. Earlier in my career, I was a manufacturing engineer. Rather than just working in one engineering discipline, this forced me to do both mechanical and electrical engineering. I also took the time to learn how to be a machinist, mechanic and made many of my own prototypes.

On the side, I had a small construction company, along with a buddy of mine. So I’ve learned how to do a wide variety of things; becoming what we used to call, a jack of all trades.

Today I build a lot of my own survival gear. You can find countless examples of my work around my house. My garage hasn’t had a car in it since I painted one of them. Rather than being a garage, it’s actually my workshop. I figure that will serve me well in a post-apocalyptic world.

The Old Survivalist

Survivalism has changed since I got started in my youth. Back then we weren’t so focused on equipment, as methods. There just wasn’t that much equipment available; at least not compared to what we have available to us today.

So, you had to know how to do things yourself, rather than depending on having some sort of gadget to do it for you.

What this means is that those old survivalists were often trained much better than we are today, simply because they had to be. So they’re a fountain of useful information, if you can find them and get them talking.

Fortunately, most are willing to share what they know; so the real problem is finding them.


This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

Written by

Bill White is the author of Conquering the Coming Collapse, and a former Army officer, manufacturing engineer and business manager. More recently, he left the business world to work as a cross-cultural missionary on the Mexico border. Bill has been a survivalist since the 1970s, when the nation was in the latter days of the Cold War. He had determined to head into the Colorado Rockies, should Washington ever decide to push the button. While those days have passed, the knowledge Bill gained during that time hasn’t. He now works to educate others on the risks that exist in our society and how to prepare to meet them. You can send Bill a message at editor [at] survivopedia.com.

Latest comments
  • How about clergy

    • I am now in high school and is time to choose a career but my anxiety don’t let me just go for a normal career as a psychiatrist but to worry about the rising problems on earth, water being every day less available, between other things that worry me more now that we are in a pandemic(?) so I have look and look for a career that will help survive when I need food and can’t get it on the supermarket, when I’m in danger and can’t rely on the police, I have been searching on the internet for a career that will help me or trying to educate myself so seeing this article really gives me some ideas thank you so much !!

  • Better yet, a priest who is also a Mr. Fix-it and trained EMT, who hAs experience working a forge, Hammer and anvil!
    My EMT training is 40 yrs ago, and my metalworking experience is 35 yrs ago. But I can rebuild a gas motor, fix an electrical problem, build a computer from components, put in a well, run a fence from wire or wood, and offer pastoral care for the souls around me as an ordained Anglican priest.

    • Oh yeah, I cAn also make black powder at home, and have taken down a antelope at 240 yds with a Thompson Center Hawken .50 cal muzzleloader, and taken a white tail 9-pt with a .44 black powder revolver at 30 yds. I’ve taken Mule deer at 400+ yards with my 98 Mauser in 7×57, and squirrels and rabbits with my .22 air rifle.
      Downside is lung damage from my time as a commercial diver and subsequent bouts with pneumonia, so I can’t run more than about 100 yds.
      Not your snake eater, but certainly a sheepdog rather than a goat or wolf.

  • U forgot the most important person of all. That would be a Preacher- for without a man of God to lead u all to the heart of Christ all ur hunting and preparing is for nothing as u lay dying wondering where ur soul will be one second after ur last breath on earth. The Bible says that God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that anyone who believes in Him will NEVER PERISH but will have eternal life – With Christ! That Preacher would also tell u that ALLhave sinned and fall short of the glory of God. There are none righteous. No, not one. But if we ask forgiveness for our sins Christ is faithful to forgive them and cleanse us of all unrighteousness. ( sins) Then after asking God to forgive our sins we just need to ask Him to come into our heart and life—. To take over leadership of our life so that the love that is so mammoth that it can not be measured can start filling the emptiness and fears and self reliance we have had. A life with God in control is one of profound peace despite ur circumstances, outpouring of love for others, and unspeakable joy! I have all of these things despite the fact that my husband of 40 yrs just left me for a gay lover and because of that my son won’t speak to either of us and I am now alone to spend 9 months/ yr in bed due to a neuro disease that causes profound pain equal to end stage cancer. Yet I have peace, joy and know God’s Love is never ending for me.
    So can a Rancher or a Chemist or any of those listed above bring u what I have if u happen to find ur self in an overwhelming situation? If u r dying like I am- could u be at perfect peace? If ur answer is no- Then please find a Preacher or a pastor Now before it’s too late! Confess ur sins. Ask Christ into ur heart and life.

  • Insurance agents are professional troubleshooters

  • why don’t you list the top 2 or 3 or 10 or 20 books on each of these professions? provide links to those books whether they be on amazon, archive.org or elsewhere. then your article would be of real use to the readers.

  • Hi Terry …..i am so sorry to hear of your situation, both healthwise and relational! as christians we know that someday our bodies will be as new but in the meantime, i will pray that your pain will subside and that your health will be returned., if it is god’s will. thank you for your post and for sharing the “light of the world” in such a forthright manner. although i am trying to physically be prepared for what lies ahead, i agree with you that the most important preparation is being right with god, through the saving blood of christ……and then being at peace knowing that god is still on the throne. regardless of what is happening around us, he (god) is still in control and i say amen to you and your strength of faith in times of trouble.! God bless you and if you would like to contact me i would be honoured to be a friend and prayer partner…… if you choose,. you can e-mail me at ……[email protected]

  • Great and thoughtful article. My son and I just had this conversation a few months ago when I was forced to acknowledge that even with training, my family would not be able to handle one of us being shot or severely wounded in a wrol/shft, no matter how much training we had! This difficult to swallow revelation led us into this conversation. We decided we wanted to provide the land, food and shelter, and i invite 3 types onto our retreat/property. 1. An r.n./nurse practitioner. Nurses do most of the work in medicine, and can do lots of doctoring, but a nurse practitioner would be ideal. I don’t want a real dr. because they are arrogant and entitled as a rule, and would cause trouble in my opinion. 2. A techno-nerd/handyman. Someone who both understands electronics and tech, as well as mechanics like motors would be indispensable for us because we are weak in these areas.Finally, a young veteran and family to both teach military things, but also young and strong enough to provide extra labor on the farm. I went to seminary, so I can encourage spiritual development. We felt like we could either learn to do the other stuff, or trade and barter for what we need. I look forward to hearing from everyone else on this topic.

    • I take some exception to your comment that “doctors are arrogant and entitled as a rule” comment. I am a surgeon and worked 100 hour weeks for my 7 years of surgical training and continue to work many more hours per week than most people that I know and often at late hours. Physicians have more science and biology training than an RN and most MDs had to have crazy academic achievement to become an MDs. Most surgeons can provide wound care beyond what an RN or LPN can offer an well as amputations and basic trauma care ( within the limits of an austere environment) including chest tubes for pneumothorax. How many RNs/nurse practitioners do you know that have that kind of experience? I have helped friends split firewood and helped other physicians move furniture and load furniture into trucks. I mow my yard when needed- and I’m not working. I have sutured a friends facial laceration while he laid down on the back of my pickup. I teach other preppers how to suture wounds and give them lectures on health related issues. . I don’t think that seems very arrogant. I would be happy with an MD or RN or practitioner if they have the required “can do” attitude. With ANY group of people there are always some who are “arrogant and entitled” and would never fit into the life struggles of a wrol. I have seen some “dumb ditch diggers ” who were quite remarkable and capable. You would be better served making sure that the individual people you select to be with you are ones that have the skills you need WITH the right attitudes rather than negatively painting an entire group due to your preconceived notions..

      • Jerry, I’m sorry I hurt your feelings. If your self definition is accurate, I’m sure that you are the exception to the rule. But having worked for physicians and sold things to them for 30 years, these experiences have formed a set of ” preconceived notions” that I accept as true in my experience. As a consequence, I still I think I’m right. For example, you could have just blown off my comment as being overly simple, or short sighted. But you needed to set me right. You know better. This is what would happen over and over in an SHTF situation with a typical doctor, who just knows he’s smarter than almost everyone. Why listen to anyone else, or submit to the leadership of those who are beneath you? I don’t think you should,; but you’re not invited to be part of my group. While your Phd. trumps my 4 degrees, in my group I will be in charge. I don’t want a power struggle in my group, so an R.N., nurse practitioner or former combat medic gets the nod. None-the-less, I hope you have peace all your days, and that all our preps prove needless.

  • A Chaplain. . Chaplains are a bit different from Preachers. Preachers provide support to congregations of similar minded people. Chaplains support people at large (religious and non-religious), Amid every type of personal diversity.. They can do everything the preacher does, but most have a wide range of institutional training to provide support in high-stress environments.(hospitals, Red Cross, Military active duty/combat, institutions,, etc… The Viet Cong considered Chaplains Morale Support Officers, and the most prized “kill target”, because if the Chaplain could be killed it conveyed the message that anybody could be killed.. As a retired Chaplain I’ve done both combat (and post) Memorial services, assisted combat wounded, talked to scared troops (worried about family at home), Helped interpret perceived Dear-John letters, Got red-Cross annexed to a school shooting the first day of classes after mass–casualty, got calls to respond to tornado casualties and a plane crash, worked in a med-Surge hospital, psych-hospitals, counseling centers; did critical incident stress debriefings (that police and Fire-department get after an accident or shooting);; General Protestant preaching and provided support to other faith groups (non-protestant). While I would not put Chaplain first on the list, I also would not exclude Chaplains from the list. The way I view it is that Chaplains help people sleep (be at rest) at night; and I view the ability to sleep as a chief daily need in SHTF. That ought to make sense to anybody because a real SHTF turns everyone’s world upside-down, and while all are affected, someone has got to take on the leadership role of keeping focus on hope.

  • Instead of a chemist, how about an herbalist?? they know plants /seeds that can help relieve pain, sores and a host of other human conditions,
    Doctors are good ,but medics would be indispensable. they can be in more places than the doctors(1-2 per outpost??) They can help stabilize(with the help of the herbalist) a pt. before traveling to the nearest doctor . I like the Mr./Mrs. Fix it thing….I guess I would fit into that one well…I have good mechanical skills and can build almost anything given some guidance as to what needs to be done. Hunter/gatherers would be helpful too.

  • The last thing you need is a preacher – so called man of god. telling ever one how to live and burning the witches

  • Such good points! My thought is to find new members of a community of like minded individuals who are cross-trained. i am a biblical counselor (who does NOT judge or condemn anyone!), respiratory therapist who can also suture and perform quite a few medical procedures (even though I don’t hold a degree in nursing), work with herbs and oils for medicinal purposes, can plant and can/freeze dry foods, teach children, hunt, organize and plan/administrate with fairness….. i am in my 50s so i’m not great in the stamina department and have some health issues. i have long thought that it would be wise to be a part of a community in the ozarks who have members who are trained in many areas, have adequate land, water and shelters. I also believe that any community like this should have a bunker area with shtf supplies for survival. many of these communities have sprung up and are scams or they fall apart soon after everyone wants to rule the roost. anyone out there who wants to join together for this purpose?