How to Become a Forest Engineer


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 other helpful information relevant to this occupation, 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 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.





General 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. 



Typical Job Duties for Forest Engineers

• 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 Be Successful

• 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





Typical Work Environmental

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.



Salary Level of Forest Engineers

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 - United States: In the United States, the Bureau of Labor statistics reports that the average salary for workers in the "Environmental Engineers" occupational group (the most closely related occupatoinal group available) earned an average salary of $87,620 per year (2018 figures). The BLS also states that the lowest 10 percent of salaries in this group are below $53,180, and the highest are above $137,090.


Salary - Canada: According to the 2018 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, the average salary of Alberta workers in the "Civil Engineers" occupational group was between $36.96 and $64.08 per hour, while the Province of British Columbia notes that those in the same group earn an annual provincial median salary of $80,101. Unfortunately, no similar statistics were available from reliable sources for other Canadian provinces or territories at the time of writing (July 24, 2019).



Who Employs 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 employ them:


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 Engineering Jobs

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




Similar Careers in Our Database

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


Civil Engineer


Geotechnical Engineer

Procurement Forester

Traffic Engineer




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


Occupations in Alberta:Environmental Engineer.” (March 31, 2018). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved November 27, 2019.

Architecture & Engineering:Environmental Engineers.” (September 4, 2019). Occupational Outlook Handbook - United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved November 27, 2019.

Explore Careers:Civil Engineers.” (July 2, 2019) WorkBC website. Retrieved November 27, 2019.

Engineering Career Pathways:Forest Engineering.” (n.d.) Engineering Career Pathways website. Retrieved November 27, 2019.

Career Development Center:College of Forestry.” (n.d.). Oregon State University website. Retrieved November 27, 2019.



Scholarships for Becoming a Forest Engineer

Scholarships in our database that are relevant for becoming a forest engineer are all of those that 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!



Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point for getting into this line of work. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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