Forest and Conservation Workers: Schools and Careers

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Forest And Conservation Workers

Individuals who are employed in the forest and conservation field perform a variety of functions relating to the conservation of timberlands and maintenance of forest facilities such as roads and campsites. Forest and conservation technicians plant and remove trees, compile data characterizing forest tracts, and provide technical assistance on conservation of natural resources. These tasks are all performed under the supervision of a forester, who is responsible for the overall management of a particular parcel of forested land.

Forest And Conservation Workers picture    Forest And Conservation Workers image

Forest and Conservation Programs

Generally, forest and conservation workers need a high school diploma. Since many forest worker positions provide only seasonal employment during the warm weather periods, students are often employed to perform short-term labor intensive tasks.

The Society of American Foresters accredits dozens of associate degree programs in forest technology. These forest and conservation programs are offered at technical and community colleges and a number of them are designed to provide easy transfer to a 4-year college or university. Technician training is generally offered at technical institutes although the type of training typically includes less theory than that offered at technical or community colleges.

The length of programs at technical institutes varies, although certificate programs lasting one year and associate degree programs lasting two years are most common. Some schools offer cooperative-education programs or internships which allow students the opportunity to work locally while attending classes. Participation in such programs can significantly enhance a student's employment prospects.

Forest and Conservation Worker Schools

Students who would like to continue on in their education to become foresters are encouraged to attain a bachelor's degree in forestry. The following forestry schools offer degrees in forestry and are accredited by the Society of American Foresters:

  • Purdue University: This university located in Indiana offers bachelor's degrees in forestry and sustainable biomaterials.
  • The University of Alaska: The Fairbanks campus of this state university offers a bachelor's degree in natural resource management.
  • The University of Georgia: The Warnell School of Forest Resources offers a bachelor's degree in forestry, in addition to a bachelor's degree in natural resources recreation and tourism.
  • The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences at this university offers a bachelor's degree with a concentration in resource conservation and restoration ecology.
  • The University of Maine: Bachelor's degree students at this state university in Orono can major in forestry, as well as ecology and environmental sciences.

Forestry Education Requirements

When hiring forest and conservation technicians, employer preferences vary in terms of educational qualifications. Many employers prefer job candidates to have at least one or two years of specialized training. Some favor candidates with an associate degree while some others prefer a bachelor's degree.

The forestry education requirements for foresters vary by state, but in general, both licensing and registration require completion of a 4-year degree in forestry and a period of forestry work experience. In addition, licensure usually requires candidates to take and pass a comprehensive written exam.

Many foresters pursue certification as a means of professional advancement. The Society of American Foresters certified foresters who have at least a bachelor's degree from one of its accredited programs (or from a forestry program that is substantially equivalent); five years of qualifying professional experience; and who are able to pass a qualifying examination.

Resources for Forestry Workers


  1. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Conservation Scientists and Foresters, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/conservation-scientists.htm
  2. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Forest and Conservation Workers, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/farming-fishing-and-forestry/forest-and-conservation-workers.htm
  3. Purdue University, https://ag.purdue.edu/fnr/Pages/undergrad-grad-programs.aspx
  4. The University of Alaska, http://www.uaf.edu/snras/forest_sciences/
  5. The University of Georgia, http://www.warnell.uga.edu/
  6. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, http://academics.aces.illinois.edu/majors/nres
  7. The University of Maine, https://nsfa.umaine.edu/

The Top Cities tab shows employment statistics for Forest and Conservation Workers by major metro area.

The Top Industries tab shows which industries have the most jobs for Forest and Conservation Workers, along with salary data by industry.

The Browse Schools tab lets you search for schools by field of study, degree level, and location.

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Metro Areas Rated for Popularity for:
Forest and Conservation Workers

Listed below are metro areas ranked by the popularity of jobs for Forest and Conservation Workers relative to the population of the city, as of 2008. Salary data was obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A Relative Popularity of 1.0 means that the city has an average number of the particular job, for its population, compared to the rest of the US. Higher numbers mean proportionally more jobs of that type.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Metro Area Jobs Salary


Redding 130 $18890 43.29
Riverside 140 $18880 2.13
San Bernardino 140 $18880 2.13
Ontario 140 $18880 2.13
Salinas 60 $18880 7.05
Los Angeles 220 $18880 0.78
Long Beach 220 $18880 0.78
Anaheim 220 $18880 0.78
San Diego 160 $18880 2.42
Carlsbad 160 $18880 2.42


Bend 30 $35700 8.64
Redmond 30 $35700 8.64

South Dakota

Sioux Falls 30 $37980 4.51


Knoxville 60 $22450 3.07
Nashville 0 $23550 0
Davidson 0 $23550 0
Murfreesboro 0 $23550 0
Franklin 0 $23550 0


Mount Vernon 90 $19990 41.56
Anacortes 90 $19990 41.56
Seattle 150 $19610 1.66
Tacoma 150 $19610 1.66
Bellevue 150 $19610 1.66
Yakima 40 $25580 8.3
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Career Stories (Job Profiles) for Forest and Conservation Workers

To find out more about building a career as Forest And Conservation Workers, we spoke with professionals in the field across a variety of specialties. Learn about their experiences on the job, the steps they took to complete their education, and what it takes to excel in this industry. Click the link to see a story.

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Most Popular Industries (as of 2008) for:
Forest and Conservation Workers

Industries representing at least 1% of total jobs for the occupation.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Industry Jobs Percent Salary
Government 6,930 89% $22,590
Wood Products Manufacturing 240 3% $24,250
Non-profit 180 2% $32,240
Social Service 150 1% $16,810
Professional And Technical Services 90 1% $32,560
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Forest And Conservation Worker Training Schools by State

We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Forest and Conservation Workers.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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