How to Become a Forest Engineer

How to Become a Forest Engineer: Career Guide

A career as a forest engineer can be a perfect fit for you if you have an interest in detail-oriented work, life-long learning, working outdoors and solving problems. 


Below we've outlined what you'll need to succeed in a career as a forest engineer. We've also included helpful information for a forest engineering career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!





Educational Requirements to Become a Forest Engineer

Although specific educational requirements to become a forest engineer may vary by employer, the typical minimum requirement is having a degree in environmental engineering or civil engineering. Coursework in the field of forestry can also be considered an asset either by the employer, or in terms of gaining relevant knowledge in the forestry sector.


Coursework in areas such as business, management and project management can be of great value to prospective and current forest engineers, as they may be required to advise on matters concerning operations and management during the course of their careers.


Forest engineers are also expected to maintain high levels of professional knowledge in their field. This can be accomplished by reading trade magazines, attending conferences, or taking coursework through universities and professional associations. 


High School Preparation: High school students interested in studying forest engineering should take courses in chemistry, biology, physics, and mathematics; including algebra, trigonometry, and calculus.




Forest Engineer Job Description

Forest engineers perform duties related to log removal from timber harvesting areas. These duties entail planning and directing the construction, installation and use of structures and equipment related to logging transport. 



Forest Engineer Job Duties

• Survey timber harvesting land

• Draw maps of topographical features of the area by sketching and using computer aided design programs

• Plan and direct construction of roads or rail networks used to transport logs from harvesting area to loading and storage areas

• Ensure safe and efficient removal of logs from cutting areas by planning and overseeing the construction of campsites, loading docks, bridges, equipment shelters and water systems

• Determine locations of loading points and storage areas

• Select methods and equipment for handling logs



Personal Characteristics Needed to Become a Forest Engineer

• Willingness to deal with unidentified or surprise hazards

• Must be comfortable with work that involves a great amount of detail

• Must be interested in working with mechanical devices and instruments

• Must enjoy working independently and liaising with others

• Must be keen on solving problems

• Must possess excellent written and communication skills




Work Environmental for Forest Engineers

The work environment for forest engineers can vary significantly depending on the tasks they are doing. Forest engineers typically work in an office setting when they are conferring with project managers, other engineers and various other personnel. Forest engineers work outdoors (also known as in the field) when they are implementing solutions to construction, transportation or logistical problems.



Forest Engineer Salary

Accurate information for the salary of forest engineers is difficult to obtain, as reliable information is hard to come by for this specific sub-set of engineers. We can however get a good idea of their salary by examining the salary information of closely related occupational groups.


Forest Engineer Salary Alberta: According to the 2011 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, the average salary of Alberta workers in the Civil Engineers occupational group was between $32.07 and $90.33 per hour, with a mean wage of occupational group was $44.58 per hour.


Forest Engineer Salary United States: In the United States, the Bureau of Labor statistics reports that the average salary for workers in the Environmental Engineers occupational group earned an average salary of $78,740 per year (2010 figures).



Who Hires Forest Engineers?

There are employers representing different sectors of industry that are interested in the specific skill set and knowledge base of forest engineers. Below is an example of the types of employers that hire forest engineers.


Sectors of Industry


• Public Administration

• Forestry and Logging

• Manufacturing

• Professional, Scientific and Technical Services




• Companies that produce forest products (such as lumber, pulp and paper, plywood, panelboard)

• Consulting companies

• Educational institutions

• Government departments and agencies (all levels)

• Utility companies

• Oil, gas and mining companies

• Some forest engineers are self-employed as consultants



Forest Engineer Jobs

Our job board below has "Forest Engineer" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.

Careers Similar to Forest Engineer

Listed below are jobs that are similar in nature to that of a forest engineer, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


Civil Engineer


Geotechnical Engineer

Procurement Forester

Traffic Engineer



References: Forest Engineer Career

Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a Forest Engineer.


Alberta Learning and Information Services website:

The Pacific Forestry Foundation website:

United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website:



Scholarships for Becoming a Forest Engineer

Scholarships listed for majors that apply to becoming a Forest Engineer can be found on the following pages:


Civil Engineering Scholarships

Environmental Engineering Scholarships

Forestry Scholarships


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Becoming a Forest Engineer: Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming a forest engineer. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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