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Forestry Technicians

At a Glance

  • Work under the direction of foresters
  • Collect and record data on forest conditions
  • May work seasonally
  • Work outdoors
  • Work both alone and with the public
  • Train through two- and four-year programs

Career summary

Forestry technicians help develop and protect forests.

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Forestry technicians work under the direction of a forester. They assist foresters with forest management projects. One of their tasks is to collect and record data of the size, content, and health of forests. They travel through forests to gather data about the types of trees and the condition of seedlings.

Technicians look for disease, insect damage, and fire hazards. They may issue controlled fire permits and timber permits. Forestry technicians train workers to fight forest fires. They sometimes cut and remove weak or diseased trees to protect other trees. Technicians may prune tree tops and limbs to control or improve growth. They spray trees, shrubs, and weeds to control insects and diseases.

Technicians also monitor the activities of logging companies and contractors. They keep records of the number of logs removed and taken to mills.

Forestry technicians train and lead conservation workers. They train them to plant tree seedlings to reforest the land. They train them to maintain campsites and recreation areas. For example, workers may restock firewood and supplies. They may clear brush from roadsides and camping areas. They may put up signs and fences where needed. They may also clean bathrooms and kitchens.

Some forestry technicians work in private industry. They assist foresters in both protecting timber and harvesting it. For example, they examine, grade, and mark trees for cutting according to a standard chart. They also help to clear site-lines, set stakes, and cut trees.

Related careers

This career is part of the Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources cluster of careers.

Related careers include:

Job duties

Task list

The following list of tasks is specific to forestry technicians.

Common work activities

Forestry technicians perform the following tasks. These tasks are common to many careers.

Work requirements

Working conditions

In a typical work setting, forestry technicians:

Interpersonal relationships

Physical work conditions

Work performance


Physical demands

Forestry technicians frequently:

It is important for forestry technicians to be able to:

It is not as important, but still necessary, for forestry technicians to be able to:

Skills and abilities

Forestry technicians need to:


Reason and problem solve

Manage oneself, people, time, and things

Work with people

Perceive and visualize

Education and training

Educational programs

The programs of study listed below will help you prepare for the occupation or career cluster you are exploring.

Programs of study directly related to this occupation

Other programs of study to consider


To work as a forestry technician, you typically need to:

Education after high school

Professional-technical schools and two-year colleges offer programs in forest technology. Programs include courses in forestry and forest resource management. You also study forest technology and environmental studies. Programs also include hands-on experience working in the field or lab.

It is becoming more common for forest technicians to enter the field with a bachelor's degree in forestry or a related field.

Work experience

Summer jobs in parks are very helpful if you would like to work as a forestry technician. Many students in forestry programs work for the state and national forests during the summer. Experience working as a wildfire fighter is also helpful.

On-the-job training

Once hired, most forestry technicians learn additional skills on the job from experienced forestry technicians. As a new technician you begin by working as a helper or forest conservation technician. As you get experience, you begin supervising other workers. Training may last up to a year.

Helpful high school courses

In high school, take classes that prepare you for college. A college preparatory curriculum may be different from your state's graduation requirements.

You should also consider taking some advanced courses in high school. This includes Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses if they are available in your school. If you do well in these courses, you may receive college credit for them. Advanced courses can also strengthen your college application.

Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this career include:

The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.

You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.

Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career. Here are examples of activities and groups that may be available in your high school or community.

Things to know

Many employers prefer applicants who have at least an associate degree in forest technology or a related field. Bachelor's degrees are becoming more desirable. Summer work experience in a park, forest, or nursery may also be helpful.

Most employers require applicants to be in good physical condition and able to do strenuous work outdoors. Many employers require applicants to have a valid driver's license and a good driving record. Jobs with public contact may require a criminal background check.

Forestry technicians in state government must pass a civil service exam. Employers look for applicants with good listening, speaking, and writing skills, as well as the ability to work as part of a team. Some employers prefer workers who are cross-trained in other areas, such as business, recreation, computers, wildlife, or fisheries.

Costs to workers

Technicians may have to purchase work clothing such as boots and rain gear.


Some employers may require first aid and CPR certification. If a forestry technician is going to apply pesticides, they need to obtain a license from the Department of Agriculture.

For information on pesticide application licensing, contact:

Washington State Department of Agriculture, Pesticide Management Division (external link)
PO Box 42560
Olympia, WA 98504-2560

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Job listings

Listed below are links to job categories from the National Labor Exchange that relate to this career. Once you get a list of jobs, you can view information about individual jobs and find out how to apply. If your job search finds too many openings, or if you wish to search for jobs outside of Washington, you will need to refine your search.

To get a listing of current jobs from the WorkSource system, go to the WorkSource website (external link).


Forest and conservation technicians (SOC 19-4093)

Pay Period
Washington Hourly $13.00 $14.35 $17.42 $22.67 $27.45
Monthly $2,253 $2,487 $3,019 $3,929 $4,757
Yearly $27,040 $29,850 $36,220 $47,150 $57,100
    Mount Vernon-Anacortes Hourly $15.83 $15.84 $17.72 $22.58 $28.53
Monthly $2,743 $2,745 $3,071 $3,913 $4,944
Yearly $32,932 $32,942 $36,859 $46,956 $59,334
    Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Hourly $14.13 $15.84 $17.72 $23.41 $30.41
Monthly $2,449 $2,745 $3,071 $4,057 $5,270
Yearly $29,384 $32,941 $36,864 $48,693 $63,253
    Spokane-Spokane Valley Hourly $13.00 $14.59 $18.18 $23.91 $27.63
Monthly $2,253 $2,528 $3,151 $4,144 $4,788
Yearly $27,054 $30,348 $37,826 $49,721 $57,481
    Vancouver Hourly $15.51 $16.48 $19.33 $27.78 $31.54
Monthly $2,688 $2,856 $3,350 $4,814 $5,466
Yearly $32,257 $34,291 $40,212 $57,768 $65,613
    Wenatchee Hourly $14.59 $14.60 $16.34 $22.26 $27.23
Monthly $2,528 $2,530 $2,832 $3,858 $4,719
Yearly $30,347 $30,360 $33,979 $46,292 $56,629
United States Hourly $12.79 $14.35 $17.88 $23.30 $27.74
Monthly $2,217 $2,487 $3,099 $4,038 $4,807
Yearly $26,600 $29,840 $37,180 $48,460 $57,700

Wages vary by employer. Starting salaries in private industry are similar to those in the federal government. However, starting salaries in state and local government are usually lower. Wages also vary based on the technician's experience and education.

Benefits also vary by employer. Full-time, year-round forestry technicians may earn typical benefits, especially in government agencies. Typical benefits include vacation, sick leave, and health insurance.

Employment and outlook

Washington outlook


The table below provides information about the number of workers in this career in various regions. It also provides information about the expected growth rate and future job openings.

Forest and Conservation Technicians (SOC 19-4093)

Location Current employment Growth over 10 years Annual openings
Washington 1,345 3.8% 16.1% 167
    Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan Counties 386 0.8% 13.4% 45
    Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Walla Walla, and Whitman Counties 164 2.4% 8.6% 20
    Clallam, Jefferson, and Kitsap Counties 33 6.1% 11.9% 4
    Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum Counties 36 2.8% 15.2% 4
    Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, and Thurston Counties 114 7.0% 14.1% 15
    Island, San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom Counties 114 6.1% 14.6% 15
    King County 111 7.2% 19.6% 15
    Kittitas, Klickitat, Skamania, and Yakima Counties 169 -1.2% 13.8% 19
    Pierce County 17 0.0% 15.2% 2
    Snohomish County 65 1.5% 12.4% 7
    Spokane County 17 0.0% 13.9% 2
United States 32,700 1.8% 5.2% 4,000

National employment

Jobs for forestry technicians are located in every state. However, employment is concentrated in the western and southeastern states. Many national and private forests and parks, and most of the lumber-producing forests, are located in these states.

Major employers:

National outlook

Demand for this occupation is growing slower than average. Some job openings will occur as technicians are needed to help prevent wildland fires. Increased demand for timber, wood pellets, and biomass may also lead to new jobs. However, this is a small occupation and few job openings are expected.

Other resources

American Forest and Paper Association (external link)
1101 K Street NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20005
American Forests (external link)
1220 L Street NW, Suite 750
Washington, DC 20005
Forest Guild (external link)
Forest Resources Association (external link)
1901 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 303
Washington, DC 20006
Society for Ecological Restoration (external link)
1133 15th St. NW, Suite 300
Washington, D.C. 20005
Society of American Foresters (external link)
10100 Laureate Way
Bethesda, MD 20814
Tree Care Industry Association (external link)
136 Harvey Road, Suite 101
Londonderry, NH 03053
USDA Forest Service Research & Development (external link)
Washington Business Week (external link)
PO Box 1170
Renton, WA 98057


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