Forest Technician

How to Become a Forest Technician

 

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 how to get started in this profession. We've also included helpful supplementary information, such as a job description, an overview of the job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employer types 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 this profession, particularly familiarity with GIS and GPS systems.

 

 

 

 

General 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.

 

 

Typical Job Duties & Responsibilities

• 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 Employs Them?

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 them:

 

Sectors of Industry

 

• Public Administration

• Forestry and Logging

• Manufacturing

• Professional, Scientific and Technical Services

 

Employers

 

• 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

 

 

 

 

Gaining Relevant 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. 

 

 

Typical Salary Level

The salary level of forest technicians can vary, typically depending on the following factors:

 

• Their level of education and experience

• The size, type and budget of their employer

• Their wage and salary negotiating abilities 

• The region in which they work

• The scope of responsibilities involved in their job

 

Forest Technician Salary - United States: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of Americans working in the ‘Forest and Conservation Technicians’ occupational group is $40,110 per year (May, 2018 figures). The lowest 10% of salaries in the group were at or below $26,600, and the highest 10% were at or above $57,700 per year.

 

Salary - Canada: According to ECO Canada, workers in the “Forestry technicians” occupational group earn between $33,000 and $37,000 per year in Canada, during their first few years on the job. With several years of experience and education, they can make between $40,000 and $70,000 per year.

 

 

Career Advancement Possibilities

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 technicians.

 

Those 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.

 

 

Current Job Opportunities

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

 

 

 

Similar Occupations in Our Database

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

 

 

Relevant Professional Associations

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:

 

Canada

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

 

 

Resources for This Career Guide

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: www.alis.alberta.ca

ECO Canada website: www.eco.ca

College of Alberta Professional Foresters website: www.capf.ca

Bureau of Labour Statistics website: www.bls.gov

North Carolina Forestry Association website: www.ncforestry.org

Work Wild website: www.workwild.ca

 

 

Scholarships for Becoming a Forest Technician

Scholarships listed for majors that apply to becoming a forest technician are all of those that 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!

 

 

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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