Career Choice: Forester

Career Choice: Forester
  • Type: Career Type
  • Opening Intro -

    Making a difference in this world is the goal of many college students.

    Some choose paths leading to degrees in medical science, others works as forensic experts in a bid to solve crimes.

    For people who want to raise environmental awareness, working a forester may be an option worth exploring.


Foresters, as their name implies manage forested lands. These professionals, who are sometimes known as fire prevention foresters, service foresters or urban foresters, are land use experts. Foresters may work to preserve wildlife, test water quality and soil stability, and help comply with environmental regulations. Foresters may also plant trees, inspect trees for disease and monitor growth; and if working for a corporation, determine when a tree should be harvested.


Foresters are required to obtain a bachelor’s degree in biology, environmental sciences, forestry or related discipline to qualify for work. Previous experience including completing internships can enhance the visibility of a job candidate. Those foresters who desire to conduct research must have at least a master’s degree with some employers requiring a Ph.D. notes the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Pay Scale

The pay range for foresters was $35,670 to $75,540 with the mean annual wage set at $55,790 as of May 2010. The median annual wage for this profession was $54,540. The middle 50 percent of foresters earned from $43,700 to $66,510. The bureau records just 9,470 people working as foresters as of 2010.

Leading Employers

Most foresters are government workers, with state governments employing more than one-third of these professionals as of 2010. State foresters averaged $50,650 or nearly $4,000 less than the national mean annual wage. Paying nearly $8,000 above the national mean were federal workers, who earned a mean annual wage of $62,200 and represented the second-largest group of foresters. The third-largest group of foresters worked for local governments and included urban foresters. These professionals earned just above the national mean, making $54,920 per year. Top paying employers included electric companies, offering $66,810 per year; general businesses at $64,650; and paper and pulp companies paying $60,410 annually.

Job Outlook

The bureau projects that demand for foresters will increase by 12 percent from 2008 to 2018, paralleling the rate for all jobs. With two-thirds of the jobs coming from government entities, the majority of openings will come from local, state and federal governments. Wildfire prevention and control are an area of increasing importance to governments and will likely be behind the demand for new foresters. City planning and urban revitalization should also fuel growth as cities seek to preserve limited areas of green growth for future generations.


O-Net Online: Summary Report for: 19-1032.00 – Foresters

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition; Conservation Scientists and Foresters

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics; Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2010; 19-1032 Foresters

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Categories: Career Planning