How to Become a Forest Technician

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How To Become a Forest Technician: Career Guide

Becoming a forest technician takes a combination of education, the proper skill set, and knowing where to look for a job. Below we've outlined what you'll need to succeed in a career as a forest technician.


We've also included helpful information for a forest technician career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education To Become a Forest Technician

Although formal education is not typically required to get a job as a forest technician, many employers consider it an asset. A degree in forestry or a closely related field such as environmental science, environmental engineering, or botany is usually necessary to advance to careers such as forest manager or forestry consultant. 


Computer skills are a definite asset in a career as a forest technician, particularly familiarity with GIS and GPS systems.




Forest Technician Job Description

Forest technicians are responsible for performing a wide range of duties related to forest protection, management, harvesting and conservation. They typically work under the supervision of forest managers and conservationists.



Forest Technician Job Duties

• Perform surveys of forests and access roads

• Assist land managers with field activities

• Count and measure tress in plots along a grid in order to determine the volume of trees in a specific area

• Maintain records of the amount and condition of logs reaching log mills

• Survey tree re-growth in cut areas

• Map forest areas using GPS, aerial photographs and other methods

• Inspect trees and collect samples of plants, seeds, foliage, bark and roots to record insect and disease damage



How to Get a Job as a Forest Technician

Entry-level positions in the field of forestry, such as forest technician, are very competitive. Having work experience or internship experience may be a pre-requisite for a permanent job in forestry, depending on who the employer is. Landing an internship opportunity or getting a part-time job with an organization involved in forestry or conservation are great ways to add beef to your resume and stay ahead of the competition.


If you have all of the necessary pre-requisites for getting a job as a forest technician (looking at specific job postings will give you a great idea of what those are), your last step to becoming a forest technician is to make a list of possible employers and suitable positions, and start handing out resumes. Do your research and figure out which companies are hiring forest technicians and related positions; these employers will be in a variety of sectors.



Who Hires Forest Technicians?

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


Sectors of Industry


• Public Administration

• Forestry and Logging

• Manufacturing

• Professional, Scientific and Technical Services




• Environmental consulting firms

• Forestry consulting firms

• Land management consulting firms

• Logging companies

• Lumber companies

• Oil and gas companies

• Private contracting firms

• Provincial/State governments

• Pulp and paper companies




Gain Forest Technician Career Experience as a Student

Landing an internship opportunity or getting a summer job in forestry, botany or environmental science career fields are all great ways to add relevant experience to your resume as a student. Speak to your school's career services office, as well as your forestry, botany or environmental science professors and other faculty, in order to learn about any available positions. 



Forest Technician Salary

The U.S Labor and Statistics reports that the median salary for employees in the Forest and Conservation Technicians occupational group was $33,390 USD per year.


In Canada, the numbers are a little different. According to the 2011 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Forestry Technologists and Technicians occupational group earned on average from $16.30 to $29.27 an hour. The mean wage for this group was $22.43 an hour.


Please note: Salary levels can vary greatly for forest technicians, depending on the level of education, who the employer is, and the amount of work experience of the technician.



Career Advancement for Forest Technicians

Forest technicians who gain a lot of experience and/or advance their education may pursue career opportunities such as forest manager and forestry consultant. Within the role of forest technician they may acquire additional responsibilities and duties, such as working with teams to develop management plans and supervising other forestry technicians.


Forest technicians who have several years of work experience also may move into related fields such as land use planning, reclamation work, vegetation control, surveying or working in state/provincial/federal parks.



Forest Technician Jobs

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

Careers Similar to Forest Technician

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


Botanical Field Technician

Environmental Technician

Forest Manager

Forestry Consultant

Geoscience Technician

Nursery Operator



Professional Associations for Forestry Technicians

Professional associations for Forestry Technicians are collections of practitioners, organizations and agencies committed to the support, development and enhancement of careers in the field of forestry and forestry management. The field of forestry has a number of professional associations that support ethics in related professions, report current research findings within the field, and foster partnerships among its members.


Below are some of the numerous benefits to becoming a member of a professional forestry association.


• Demonstrate professional commitments as a forester

• Maintain current awareness of industry developments and trends

• May be able to take professional forestry courses

• May be able to participate in industry research projects and/or policy decisions

• Networking opportunities: Meet potential employers, partners and mentors

• Learn about employment and professional experience opportunities

• May be entitled to discounts from sponsors

• Nominate yourself or others for industry awards

• Set yourself apart from other qualified applicants


Those interested in becoming a forest technician should visit these websites for more information:



Canadian Forest Service

Canadian Forestry Accreditation Board

Canadian Institute of Forestry



United States

Oregon Society Professional Foresters

The Society of American Foresters

US Forest Service



Forest Technician Career Information: Resources

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


Alberta Learning and Information Services website:

College of Alberta Professional Foresters website:

Bureau of Labour Statistics website:

North Carolina Forestry Association website:

Work Wild website:



Scholarships for Becoming a Forest Technician

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


Botany Scholarships

Environmental Science 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 Technician: Applicable Majors

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


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