Did you know that you spend roughly one-third of your entire life at work?
On top of that, the average American spends 90% of their time indoors. If you find these statistics a bit depressing, you might be wondering if there careers where you can spend your time in the great outdoors rather than confined to a cubicle.
If you are reluctant to spend your working career slaving away under fluorescent lights, you might be wondering what opportunities there are in forestry for you.
Let’s take a look at what forestry jobs are available and what it means to get a job and forestry.
Forestry Careers: What Are My Options?
The focus of forestry jobs is the maintenance and healthy growth of parks and woodlands. This can mean working in a number of different capacities, including suppressing wildland fires or overseeing them. These days, forestry workers are able to monitor their land with precision with the help of technological advancements.
A conservation scientist protects and manages natural resources, parks, and forests. They work with private landowners and government agencies around issues of land improvement and land use in order to help protect the environment. They use a variety of forest monitoring software in order to analyze the quality of forest areas, collect data, and many other purposes.
Individuals who work as foresters have a number of different responsibilities. They supervise conservation and forest technicians and workers, oversee forest land, create forestry project plans, and manage budgets.
It is a part of their job to make sure that all of the activities of their crew are in compliance with government regulations.
Forest and Conservation Technicians
It is the role of forest and conservation technicians to help with quality improvement and measure forest details. They use a variety of tools and software in order to gather and analyze data from the forest, which helps them to determine where trees should be planted and should be removed in order to enhance the overall health of the forest.
It can also be a part of the job description of technicians to supervise the work of other conservation and forest workers.
Forest and Conservation Workers
These workers protect and maintain forest under the supervision of technicians and foresters. They are the people that perform the manual labor required to promote forest health. These tasks may include clearing debris, cutting and planting trees, and spraying herbicides and insecticides on forest vegetation.
When performing the physical work of managing forests, you might become familiar with a wide variety of tools. These might include skid steers, deck mulchers, tree shears, and other forestry attachments.
You can learn more about durable and specialized skid steer forestry attachments here.
Employment, Wages, and Outlook
While a love of the great outdoors is a great start if you’re interested in getting a job in forestry, it’s also important to understand what a job in this field will mean in practical terms.
Most forestry workers in the United States are employed out West. These include states that have vast amounts of remote areas with plenty of forest land.
Employment in the field is primarily in local, state, and federal government. However, some social advocacy organizations hire conservation scientists, and loggers frequently work for private industries.
The wages you can anticipate making from a job in forestry are going to depend on what type of role you take on. The range of wages for forestry jobs in 2015 range from $26,000 a year to $61,000 a year. On the lower end of the spectrum, you will find conservation and forestry workers, and on the higher end of the spectrum, you will find conservation scientists.
It is expected that the employment of conservation and forest technicians will decline in the period leading to 2024. For conservation of forest workers, the occupation will still grow, but at a slower than average rate. For conservation scientists enforcers, there is an expected average growth in this job field.
There will likely be some employment increases in the coming years because of the need to control wildfires as well as increased demand for wood pellets and timber. However, there have been many technological advancements in this field that make it so that fewer people are needed in order to have the same productivity output.
The Pros and Cons of Forestry Jobs
The type of forestry job that you end up getting will determine how and where you’re spending most of your time.
For most of these jobs, some work will be done outdoors and some will be done in offices. For some individuals and forestry, their job might demand that they spend time in very remote locations.
For many people, the notion of spending their working life inside an office under fluorescent lights is absolutely appalling. For this reason, they are drawn to the ability to work a job that entails spending time in the great outdoors.
There are many health benefits to spending time outside. Being in nature can help to improve your health in a number of different ways, including:
- Improving your short-term memory
- Reducing stress
- Reducing inflammation
- Eliminating fatigue
- Fighting depression and anxiety
- Protecting your vision
- Lowering your blood pressure
- Improving your ability to focus
- Increasing your creativity
- Boosting your immune system
- Lowering your overall risk of an early death
Many individuals also get into forestry because of their desire to help improve the environment and take part in conservation efforts. Their love of nature drives them to find work that is meaningful to them where they can help to preserve natural habitats, avoid the distraction of wildlands, and contain or prevent wildfires.
Other people might truly enjoy using technological equipment that comes hand-in-hand with forestry work.
On the other hand, though, there are some drawbacks to working in forestry.
First, while it’s great to work in the great outdoors, sometimes mother nature is unfriendly. If you end up working in the forestry field, you might find yourself working in unpleasant weather, extreme temperatures, and hazardous conditions.
It’s important to understand that working in forestry can be quite dangerous. In fact, it can even occasionally be fatal.
Additionally, forest work can be both physically and mentally exhausting. You will likely have to carry heavy equipment and be comfortable being alone a lot of the time. On top of that, you will at times have to contend with the variety of creatures that live in the forest, whether that be bears or mosquitoes.
Another dangerous aspect of this job is the threat posed by forest fires. Forest fires have been increasing in both intensity and size over the past 20 years. When a wildfire is raging, forestry workers can end up working incredibly long and abnormal hours in order to contain the fire.
Getting a Job and Forestry: Skills, Education, and Training
Depending on which occupation you’re interested in, you might need more or less training or education in order to get a job in your desired role. Jobs that focus on analysis will typically require that an individual undergo more education. On the other hand, jobs that focus on physical tasks and manual labor typically require less education.
No matter what role you choose to fulfill as far as forestry careers go, it will be important that you have problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Math skills are also needed, as well as a basic knowledge of geography and biology.
Forestry workers also required excellent communication skills in order to collaborate with other colleagues, write reports, or make presentations.
Depending on which occupation you choose, some skills might be more important than others. Conservation and forestry workers will need to be physically fit and have quite a bit of physical stamina. Conservation scientists will require management skills, as they will be responsible for the various projects of forestry crews.
If you are interested in becoming a conservation or forest worker, you typically need to have a high school diploma. People that are interested in becoming conservation and forest technicians will likely require an Associates’ degree. For people who become foresters and conservation scientists, they will likely need at least a bachelor’s degree if not an advanced degree.
Conservation and forest workers commonly receive training on the job. Typically, this training will last anywhere between one month to a year. Some states may require that workers complete commercial pesticide training.
For entry-level technicians, scientists, and foresters, there is not usually on-the-job training. Instead, they have received the training that they need during their education.
It might be necessary for you to receive training on suppressing and monitoring forest fires.
What Are Some Other Jobs That Might Appeal to Someone Interested in Forestry?
Is forestry interesting to you but you aren’t quite sure that any of these jobs fit the bill? There are other jobs that might appeal to you if you find the idea of working outside and with nature attractive.
If you are more interested in helping people and spending time alone in the wilderness, perhaps you would be interested in becoming a firefighter. This is an incredibly competitive career field that requires long hours, hard work, and a lot of dedication.
Rather than focusing on plant life and forest, geophysicist focuses on other aspects of the earth. These might include the study of seismic, magnetic, electrical, or gravitational occurrences. The part of the job to measure, evaluate, and document geographic anomalies and features.
Seismology is a field of Earth science. Specialists in this field research and interpret the structures of the area and its geological composition. They also evaluate the potential dangers and risks of earthquakes as well as attempt to improve construction standards and minimize the impact of earthquakes.
Most seismologists these days are employed in petroleum exploration.
If you are more interested in the biology of animals than the maintenance of forests, you might consider becoming an ornithologist. These are geologist whose focus is on different types of birds. This includes every different aspect of birds, such as their migration patterns, flight patterns, physical appearance, and songs.
Do you love being outside but love people just as much? Maybe a better fit for you would be working as a recreation worker.
As a recreation worker, you typically lead outdoor activities at institutions such as parks, camps, recreation centers, residential care facilities, and nursing homes.
Have you always wanted to get paid to have fun? The recreation work might be worth checking out.
Once you start to look at nature more closely, it is hard to escape how beautiful and incredible it truly is. If you’ve always been interested in gardening and plants, you might find botany appealing.
There are many different types of jobs that one can get in the field of botany. This might include working as a field botanist searching for new species of plants or as a medical botanist.
Becoming a park ranger is another great job if you love being outside, love people, but appreciate your alone time too. It’s an opportunity to spend a lot of time in nature while also assisting park guests. You’ll also be responsible for searching for lost hikers.
Is a Job in Forestry Right for You?
Whether you do lumber work or work as a conservation scientist, working in forestry can be an excellent way to spend time in the great outdoors. These jobs can be quite taxing, though, so it’s important to make sure that the job description fits with what you hope to do in your occupation.
Did you find this article on forestry jobs interesting? If so, be sure to check out the rest of our blog for more fascinating and informative content!