Forest Technology

Forest technology professionals use skills learned through training programs or formal education to conserve and harvest trees. Read on to learn more about career requirements, specializations, employment and training.

Is Forest Technology for Me?

Career Overview

Forest technology is a field of study that focuses primarily on producing, harvesting and conserving trees. With a degree in forest technology, you might get a job in forestry production or wood processing, perhaps working as a mid-level manager or working under a conservation scientist or forester. You might work for the government or in a manufacturing industry, gathering research data, conducting forest inventories, measuring timber and locating property lines. Forest technicians are likely to spend a lot of time outdoors, so be prepared to regularly face the elements and work in adverse conditions. Because some forest technician jobs involve supervisory or management duties, you should also be comfortable working with others and delegating responsibility. Many forestry and conservation workers learn the necessary skills through on-the-job training. However, if you want to work as a forestry technician, you typically need to complete some type of postsecondary training. High school courses in science, algebra and English can help you prepare for a college program.

Specializations and Career Options

Training in this field could also prepare you to work as a logging supervisor, lumber inspector, quality control technician, dry kiln operator or mill manager. Although this field often focuses on production, you might use your forest technology degree to help the environment, perhaps working in forest conservation, wildlife habitat improvement, natural resource management or forest fire control.

Employment Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of forest and conservation technicians was expected to decline by four percent from 2012 to 2022 (www.bls.gov). Working in this industry, you might expect to earn about $34,910 yearly. This was the BLS-reported national median annual wage for forest and conservation technicians as of May 2013.

How Can I Work in Forest Technology?

Education

Many colleges and universities offer associate degree programs in this field. You can typically earn your Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Forest Technology in two years. Diploma and certificate programs in forest technology that take up to four semesters to complete are also available. You can also find similar certificate, diploma and associate degree programs under the titles of 'forest resources technology' and 'forest management technology'.

All such programs are likely to stress hands-on experience and outdoor learning. A forest technology curriculum typically includes courses in dendrology (tree identification), general botany, silviculture (growing healthy forests), forest surveying, timber harvesting, wildlife management, forestry equipment, land management and forest recreation. Often, you'll learn to use GPS and GIS technologies. If you want to advance in your forestry career, you might consider becoming a conservation scientist or forester, positions that typically require a bachelor's degree.

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