What does a Forester do?

Median Pay $61,710
Growth Rate 2%
Citation Retrieved from BLS.gov

A forester is a career professional that specializes in forests and are employed for a variety of purposes. Some foresters may work on the commercial aspect of forestery and take inventory on how much wood can be harvested from a forest and at what price. Other foresters may work more on the conservation aspect of forestry and work to project wildlife habitats and ways to foster new forest growth.

How to Become a Forester

become a forester

To become a forester, employers look for those with bachelor’s degrees in forestry or a similar field such as ecology, wildlife management, or environmental science. Some programs also provide internship opportunities that allow you to gain hands-on experience prior to graduation and may also help with career placement after graduation. In addition to these opportunities, ask any programs you are researching if there are opportunities to specialize in a particular area of forestry, this could help you stand out among other job candidates.

Once you earn a bachelor’s degree, you can also continue that education and gain your certification through the Society of American Foresters (SAF). There is an option for you to gain a certification if you have not earned a bachelor’s degree in a related field but you must have more than five years experience. You can learn more from SAF’s Certification Requirements webpage (link opens in a new tab).

Job Description of a Forester

The job description of a forester would depend on the industry and type of work they are asked to do. Some foresters may evaluate a forest and determine if wood can be harvested, how much, and the environmental impact a harvest would have. This includes inspecting the health of the forest and providing a recommendation on when to harvest and methods to replace the trees by replanting others. Some foresters concentrate heavily on conservation and the ecosystem of a forest. These professionals work to project the wildlife, water sources, and soil in a forest as all aspects of a forests ecosystem rely on one another to maintain a healthy balance. Much of a forester’s work is outdoors and all foresters must comply with environmental regulations.

Forester Job Posting

Let’s look at a job description posted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This job announcement is looking for a person to perform the following responsibilities:

  • Work closely with other agency representatives in developing and projecting long range plans, coordinating logging and range operations, and other problems.
  • Establish areas of responsibility and delegate appropriate authority.
  • Make decisions on appropriate forestry practices, adequacy of inspections, timber appraisals, volume estimates, surveys, inventories, contract compliance, reporting and records maintenance.
  • Review research involving the development and testing of new techniques in forest management and initiates the most economical methods of selling or harvesting timber.
  • Administer security program on timber operations and movement from the Post.

This position was posted to run 01/08/2019 until 01/23/2019 with a salary range of $33,394 to $65,788 per year on USAjobs.gov (link opens in a new tab). USAjobs.gov is an official website of the United States government and part of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Free Teacher and Student Resources

The state of Oregon has a list of free resources for educators on their Forestry for Teachers webpage.

For students, the U.S. Forestry Service (link opens in a new tab) has a list of fun activities and learning resources on their kids page.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Conservation Scientists and Foresters and Occupational Employment and Wages

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