What Are Some Popular Career Options in Forestry?

From timber management to forest land preservation, forestry is a field that offers many different job opportunities. This article discusses some popular career options in forestry and provides education requirements, career outlook and salary information. Schools offering Environmental & Social Sustainability degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Forestry Careers Overview

Forestry careers range from worker-level jobs that just require a high school diploma and some on-the-job training to professional forestry positions that mandate a bachelor's degree from a program accredited by the Society of American Foresters (SAF) and may also require licensure, certification or registration. After graduating from high school, one can seek employment in a range of positions in the logging industry. Individuals who would like to have a more technical position may complete an SAF-accredited associate's degree program and find employment working as assistants to foresters. Continue reading for descriptions of three jobs within forestry.

Important Facts About Popular Career Options in Forestry

Logging Forestry Worker Forestry
On-the-Job Training Provided by state and longing associations Provided by employer Internships available
Work Environment Logging companies; sawmills and wood preservation State and local governments; social advocacy organizations; logging companies Federal, state, and local governments; social advocacy organizations
Key Skills Physical strength and endurance; good judgment and decision making; clear communication; attention to detail Active listening; clear communication; attention to detail; physical endurance Analytical and critical thinking; delegation; clear communication; good judgment and decision making
Similar Occupations Construction equipment operators; forest and conservation workers; conservation scientists and foresters Agricultural workers; firefighters; grounds maintenance workers Agricultural and food scientists; environmental science and protection technicians; zoologists and wildlife biologists


Individuals who want to specialize in timber management may work in the logging industry. There are many different roles in a logging crew, including tree fallers who cut down trees with felling machines, buckers who cut logs and choke setters who prepare lumber for transport. Rigging slingers then dismantle the fastenings, and log sorters organize the timber by species, size and ownership. Finally, log graders determine the marketable content of timber based on volume and defects.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that in 2018, the median annual wage of logging equipment operators was $40,510, and that of all other logging workers was $39,750. Overall, from 2016-2026, a 13% decrease in employment of loggers is expected. The greatest declines in jobs were expected for tree fallers (-16%) and all other logging workers (-15%). There was a 13% decline expected for logging equipment operators.

Forestry Workers

Forest workers assist foresters by gathering and analyzing forest land data. They collect information, such as tree population numbers, fire hazard conditions and indicators of pest and disease. Forest workers may also supervise a tree harvest, measure timber and identify property lines. Furthermore, forest technicians may have conservation duties. They may be responsible for the maintenance of camp facilities and forest roads, as well basic forest maintenance and care. Typical conservation tasks include clearing brush and removing damaged trees, spraying for disease and insects and planting seedlings.

According to the BLS, the 2018 median salary for forest and conservation workers was $27,460. From 2016-2026, a 2% decline in employment opportunities in this field is predicted.


Foresters are responsible for conservation, recreation, economic and environmental management of forests. They monitor the overall health of forests and devise strategies for protecting them from wildfire, pests and disease. Some, known as procurement foresters, negotiate the sales of timber. Urban foresters maintain urban forested land and focus on quality of life issues, such as beautification, air quality, shade and property value.

In 2018, the median salary for a forester was $61,410, according to the BLS. This profession has a better employment outlook than that of loggers and forest technicians; from 2016-2026, a 5% increase in jobs is forecast.

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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