Forest Conservation Technician: Salary and Career Facts

Explore the career requirements for a forest conservation technician. Get the facts about job duties, education requirements, salary and job outlook to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Natural Resources & Conservation degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Forest Conservation Technician?

Forest conservation technicians assist foresters and scientists in protecting the animal and plant life in forests. They may also participate in forest nursery or logging operations. They often help collect data, such as the content and condition of a forest, to help monitor management and conservation efforts. Forest conservation technicians may assist with controlled burns, planting seedlings or training other forest workers to do so as well. These professionals may work for different levels of the government or private organizations. The following chart gives you an overview of what you need to know before entering this field.

Degree Required Associate of Science; Bachelor of Science preferred
Education Field of Study Forest technology or science major
Key Skills Field and lab work, track and compile data, use monitoring instruments, tree selection for logging
Projected Job Outlook (2014-2024) -6%*
Average Salary (2015) $38,260*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What Does a Forest Conservation Technician Do?

Forest conservation technicians work with foresters and conservation scientists to protect and maintain plant and animal health in forested areas. You may research the conditions of forests by compiling data on the soil, water, plants and animals of woodland ecosystems, as well as the size of the forest tract. You might conduct experiments either in the field or in a laboratory, participate in reforestation efforts, collect samples of plant life and issue permits. It could also be your responsibility to install monitoring instruments to help forestry professionals who analyze the impact of forest use on watersheds.

You might also keep track of logging volume, train other forest conservation workers, select trees for logging, oversee forest nursery operations or enforce environmental regulations. Additionally, you could also be in charge of insect surveys, disease surveys or forestry engineering research.

Do I Need a Degree?

You typically need at least an associate's degree in a scientific field, although employers may prefer those holding bachelor's degrees. Degrees specifically in forest technology are also available from community colleges, technical schools and universities. These degree programs often combine general education classes, science classes and specialized forestry classes. The following are courses you might find in the curriculum:

  • Biology
  • Dendrology
  • Boundary and topology surveying
  • Forest ecosystems
  • Forest safety
  • Geographic information technology
  • Logging practices
  • Wildlife protection policies
  • Forest and watershed measurements
  • Forest firefighting

What is the Job Outlook and Median Salary?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the employment rate for forest and conservation technicians is expected to decline by 6% from 2014-2024. However, the increasing demand for wood and wood products, along with a heightened need for forest fire protection, will provide some jobs in this profession. In May 2015, the average annual salary for forest and conservation technicians was $38,260, with the top employers being federal, state and local governments.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Environmental science and protection technicians have closely related positions that require an associate's degree. These technicians look at pollution and other environmental factors that affect human health. They also monitor compliance with environmental regulations. Agricultural and food scientists, as well as zoologists and wildlife biologists, also have related careers, though they require at least a bachelor's degree. Agricultural and food scientists focus on improving the manufacturing processes of various agricultural products. Zoologists and wildlife biologists are typically involved in conservation or wildlife management initiatives. They study different animals, their characteristics and their habitats.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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