All You Need To Know About A Forester Career

You consider becoming a forester but are still not entirely sure whether this career will be right for you or not?

Stick with me since I will show you everything you need to know about a forester career in the following chapters!

Not only will we talk about money, but you will also learn a lot about job satisfaction, working hours, work-life balance, educational requirements, future outlook and much more.

At the end of this article, you will also find an FAQ section where I answer the most common questions about being a forester.

Hence, after reading this article, you will have a much better idea of whether you still want to pursue a forester career or rather want to go for a different job instead.

Table of Contents

What does a Forester do?

Foresters are responsible for keeping our forests tidy and healthy.

Forests play a major role in the lives of billions of people.

Not only are forests important for recreational purposes, but they also provide us with wood and also store carbon dioxide.

Hence, protecting our forests is crucial to slow down global warming and to assure a sustainable future for the next generations and foresters therefore do an important job in this regard.

Responsibilities & Duties of a Forester

  • Determining which trees have to be cut down
  • Detection of tree and plant diseases
  • Making sure that infested trees are removed
  • Assuring the overall health of the forest
  • Increasing the productivity of a forest
  • Making sure that wildlife feels comfortable in forests
  • Finding the balance between economic and natural interests
  • Appraise timbers worth
  • Determining what kind of timber is used for what purpose
  • Complying with legal requirements related to woodworking
  • Conservation of habitats
  • Planning of reforestation and afforestation

What a Typical Day of a Forester looks like?

Foresters usually start their workday between 7 and 9 a.m.

After driving to the forest they are responsible for, they often just take a walk through the forest and see whether there are some issues that need to be resolved.

If foresters find those issues on trees, they often mark those trees with colors so that they know what to do with them a few days from now.

After inspecting the forest, foresters often remove unnecessary branches to keep forests healthy in the long run and to avoid the spread of bark beetles.

After spending time in nature for many hours, foresters usually finish their workday between 4 and 6 p.m.

Forester Salary 2021

Forester salary brackets 2021

Salary BracketsSalary (per year)Salary (per hour)
Top 10 %> $91,000> $45.38
Top 25 %$79,000 – $85,000$39.41 – $42.39
Bottom 25 %$48,000 – $57,000$23.92 – $28.47
Bottom 10 %$38,000 – $43,000$18.91 – $21.43
Range$38,000 – $97,000$18.91 – $48.45
Average (Mean)$68,000$33.91
Median$66,000$32.94

Forester salary 2021 by expert level

Level of ExperienceSalary (per year)Salary (per hour)
Entry level$38,000 – $47,000$18.91 – $23.44
Junior$45,000 – $61,000$22.47 – $30.39
Professional$58,000 – $72,000$28.86 – $35.94
Senior Professional$69,000 – $81,000$34.38 – $40.42
Expert$77,000 – $88,000$38.43 – $43.91
Top Expert$85,000 – $97,000$42.36 – $48.41

Forester salary by state 2021 (average)

StateSalary (per year)Salary (per hour)
Alabama$65,700$32.89
Alaska$67,300$33.58
Arizona$69,500$34.72
Arkansas$63,200$31.54
California$75,400$37.67
Colorado$69,100$34.53
Connecticut$67,300$33.64
Delaware$65,800$32.88
District of Columbia$68,300$34.13
Florida$67,900$33.92
Georgia$69,300$34.63
Guam$65,200$32.54
Hawaii$69,900$34.87
Idaho$67,100$33.51
Illinois$64,500$32.23
Indiana$63,800$31.88
Iowa$68,700$34.32
Kansas$66,900$33.41
Kentucky$69,300$34.63
Louisiana$68,200$34.07
Maine$65,100$32.54
Maryland$69,500$34.73
Massachusetts$70,300$35.08
Michigan$67,500$33.72
Minnesota$66,800$33.33
Mississippi$64,300$32.14
Missouri$62,900$31.38
Montana$68,100$34.03
Nebraska$65,900$32.94
Nevada$64,300$32.11
New Hampshire$66,800$33.38
New Jersey$68,100$34.04
New Mexico$62,200$31.07
New York$74,700$37.32
North Carolina$64,800$32.36
North Dakota$66,500$33.21
Ohio$67,900$33.93
Oklahoma$69,300$34.64
Oregon$66,100$33.04
Pennsylvania$69,800$34.83
Rhode Island$65,400$32.67
South Carolina$68,200$34.09
South Dakota$67,100$33.52
Tennessee$64,300$32.13
Texas$66,800$33.37
Utah$67,200$33.57
Vermont$68,900$34.36
Virginia$65,100$32.53
Washington$68,300$34.11
West Virginia$67,800$33.88
Wisconsin$65,600$32.79
Wyoming$63,900$31.94

Job Security of Foresters

Foresters have decent job security.

There are not that many people who aspire to a career in this field anymore and with an increasing demand for qualified foresters, foresters don’t have to fear losing their jobs anytime soon since they are also hard to replace by machines in the near future.

Future Job Prospects of Foresters

Also the future outlook for foresters is pretty decent.

Due to global warming and other issues, conservation of nature has become an important topic for politicians.

In turn, lots of money will be spent in this field in future years and foresters will be one group of people who will benefit from this development since they are important to preserve ecosystems and protect our planet in general.

Working Hours of Foresters

Most foresters start their workday between 7 and 9 a.m. and finish their workday between 4 and 6 p.m.

Consequently, foresters work in a classical 9 to 5 environment and if leisure is really important to you, working as a forester can definitely make sense in this regard.

Job Satisfaction of Foresters

Most foresters are pretty happy with what they are doing for a living.

Not only are they able to make decent money, but they also enjoy lots of leisure and also have a regular workweek.

Consequently, foresters have enough time and money to enjoy their time off.

Promotion Opportunities of Foresters

There are not many promotion opportunities for foresters.

Once you work in this field, you will do the same job for many years or even decades and if you aspire to a demanding career and to climb the ladder soon, you may want to go for a different career instead.

Career Levels of Foresters

  • Forester intern
  • Junior forester
  • Senior forester
  • Forester with personnel responsibilities
  • Manager of a forestry
  • Owner of a forestry

Fields and Types of Foresters

  • Forester focused on avoiding the spread of diseases
  • Forester specialized in avoiding the spread of bugs and other pests
  • Forester specialized in the conservation of nature
  • Forester specialized in the preservation of habitats
  • Forester with expertise in planning forest development
  • Forester focused on afforestation or reforestation
  • Forester responsible for complying with local rules and regulations
  • Forester specialized in wood and how to use it as efficiently as possible
  • Forester responsible for managing budgets

Educational Requirements for Foresters

You need at least a bachelor’s degree in forestry to be able to work as a qualified forester.

Hence, you will have to go to college and spend lots of time and money on your education and before you decide on becoming a forester, you should really make sure that you want to work in this field for quite a long time to make it worth the investment.

How to become a Forester

  1. Inform yourself about the advantages and disadvantages of being a forester
  2. Apply for a college degree in forestry
  3. Choose your favorite college and start college education
  4. Apply for an internship at a local forestry
  5. Make a good impression during your internship
  6. Stay in touch with your colleagues
  7. Finish your forestry degree with decent grades
  8. Apply for forestry jobs in your region
  9. Sign your labor contract
  10. Learn and become better every day

Character Traits you need as a Forester

  • Passion for working with wood
  • Passion for our environment in general
  • Interest in spending time in nature
  • You should be willing to do hands-on work
  • Motivation to convince people about the importance to protect our planet
  • You should be kind to animals
  • Willingness to learn every day
  • Willingness to use our modern technologies to make your life easier
  • Preservation of nature should be your goal

Hard Skills for Foresters

  • Good knowledge of the local flora and fauna
  • Knowledge of how to protect our forests
  • Expertise in woodworking
  • Knowledge of how to preserve natural habitats
  • You should know what equipment you need for certain tasks
  • Ability to operate machines in a safe manner
  • Physical power helps you get your work done
  • Knowledge of modern technologies is a plus
  • Good problem-solving skills
  • Math skills help as well
  • Expertise in digital media help you spread the message of preserving our planet

Soft Skills for Foresters

  • Empathy for people who don’t understand why preserving our forests is important
  • Good people skills help you lead a team
  • Patience is key to get things done
  • Good time management skills
  • Communication skills help you address certain issues to different stakeholders
  • You should not get discouraged by drawbacks
  • Ability to stand up for what you think is important
  • Passion for protecting our natural habitats
  • Critical thinking helps you stay on track for reaching your goals

Exit Options for Foresters

If you don’t want to work as a forester anymore, you could also work as a faller or a nature conservation activist.

However, apart from that, there are not many other exit options for foresters.

Forester – Similar Careers

  • Faller
  • Landscape architect
  • Farmer
  • Nature conservation activist
  • Carpenter
  • Animal trainer
  • Florist
  • Hunter
  • Fisherman

Forester Career FAQs

Is working as a forester physically demanding?

Working as a forester can be physically demanding since you often have to remove branches and other stuff from forests to keep them healthy in the long run and to avoid the spread of bugs.

Consequently, you will have to work with your hands in a physical manner.

Is working as a forester mentally demanding?

Being a forester is not heavily mentally demanding.

Even though you have to think about how to preserve forests and what actions you have to take for it, working as a forester will not be that demanding compared to working in a demanding office job where you have to work on complex models all day long.

Is it dangerous to work as a forester?

Working as a forester can be risky.

If you are unlucky, trees may fall down on you and may seriously injure you.

Hence, you will have a high risk at work compared to most other people and if you are not willing to take on this risk, you should rather go for an office job instead.

How long do foresters stay in their jobs?

Foresters stay in their jobs for many years or even decades since most of them are really passionate about their work and just can’t imagine doing anything else.

Moreover, some foresters also don’t find a job in a different field and may have to stay in forestry for quite a long time due to that.

Is it easy for foresters to find a new job?

Since there are not many people who want to become foresters anymore while there is still a huge demand for qualified people in this field, you will have a pretty easy time finding a new job as a forester and don’t have to worry about getting unemployed anytime soon.

Is it hard to switch from being a forester to another field of work?

While foresters often have an easy time finding a job in their field, it is pretty hard for them to find a job in a different industry since they are just pretty specialized and will often lack the skills needed to work in a different field.

Consequently, before becoming a forester, you should make sure that you really want to work in this field for quite a long time to avoid any issues in this regard.

Do foresters have a high social status?

Foresters have a decent social status.

However, even though you do an important job for our environment, you will still not be admired as much as doctors or other people who can save lives on a regular basis.

Can you help out your family and friends as a forester?

You will not be able to help out your loved ones as a forester that much.

While you will have expertise in protecting our forests and nature in general, you will not learn that many practical skills and may not be able to add much value to other people’s lives.

Can foresters work remotely?

Foresters are not able to work remotely.

Instead, you will have to be present at forests in person and compared to someone who works in a classical office job and can work from home on a regular basis, you will not have that much flexibility as a forester.

Is it easy to find a partner as a forester?

Since foresters can make decent money and also have lots of leisure, foresters have a relatively easy time finding a partner for a long-term relationship since they are just good providers and are often able to care for their families well.

Do foresters have to work on weekends?

Foresters usually don’t have to work on weekends. Instead, they work in a classical 9 to 5 environment and from Monday to Friday.

However, since many foresters just love nature, they may still also spend additional time in forests during their weekends.

Do foresters have to work on holidays?

Foresters don’t have to work on holidays.

Instead, you can spend those days with your loved ones and make a nice barbecue in your garden or make nice weekend trips with your family while many other people like train drivers or waiters have to work during these times.

Do foresters have to work at nighttime?

Foresters don’t have to work at nighttime.

In fact, working in forests during nighttime would be dangerous and also pretty unproductive and this is the reason why foresters only work during the day.

You will also come home from work relatively early and will have more than enough time to meet up with your favorite people after work.

Do you have to travel as a forester?

There is no need to travel as a forester.

While many other people who work in classical office jobs have to make business trips on a regular basis, you will not have to do those things as a forester and can rather stay at home and spend time with your family instead.

Are forester pensions good?

Since foresters can make decent money during their active careers, they also receive decent pensions.

Moreover, foresters are also able to save and invest some money so that they will have enough financial funds once they retire.

Are forester salaries going up?

Salaries of foresters have been going up over the past years.

This is due to the fact that there is a lack of qualified foresters in many regions while the demand for foresters is increasing since protecting our environment has become an important part of the political agenda.

In turn, forester salaries will likely also continue to go up in the future.

Can you have a positive impact on society as a forester?

You can also have an important impact on society as a forester since you can speak to many people and convince them regarding how important it is to conserve nature and to protect our planet if we want to hand over a livable future to the next generations.

How long does it take to become a forester?

Since you will need to get at least a bachelor’s degree in forestry before you are able to work in this field, it will usually take you at least 4 years to finish educational requirements.

Thus, make sure that you really want to work in this field to make it worth the time and money you have to spend on your education.

Is it difficult to become a forester?

Becoming a forester is not that difficult. Even though you need a college degree, you will be able to get this degree even if you are not a genius if you are willing to work hard for it.

Do you need to be smart to work as a forester?

You don’t need a high IQ for becoming a forester.

What’s much more important is that you have a passion for spending time in nature and also for protecting our environment.

Do foresters have a good work-life balance?

Foresters have a decent work-life balance.

They don’t have to work on weekends or holidays and also work in a classical 9 to 5 environment.

Consequently, foresters have more than enough time to spend on the things they like even more than working.

Do foresters have to work many extra hours?

Foresters don’t have to work many extra hours.

In fact, they have a pretty rigid schedule and if you don’t finish your work on one day, you will just finish your regular shift and continue to work on it the next day.

How to maximize your chances of becoming a forester?

The more experience you get in this field at a young age, the more likely it will be that you will be able to work as a forester.

Hence, apart from getting good grades, you should also work as an intern at a local forestry to build contacts and to already have a foot in the door when it comes to applying for jobs in this field.

Can foresters work part-time?

While foresters are also able to work part-time, most of them still work full-time since they need the money and also since they are really passionate about what they are doing for a living and really enjoy spending time in nature.

Do foresters work indoors or outdoors?

Foresters work outdoors most of the time.

Consequently, if you are not willing to work outdoors during times of bad weather, you might be better off working in a classical office environment instead.

What does the workplace of a forester look like?

Foresters spend most of their workday in nature. Hence, your workplace will be the forest and you will be surrounded by beautiful nature on a regular basis.

Do you have to look good for working as a forester?

Your looks don’t matter for succeeding as a forester since you will not have contact with clients but will rather focus on preserving nature and our environment in general.

Is a forester career beneficial for your private life?

A forestry career can be beneficial for your private life since you can make decent money while you will still have more than enough time to spend with your loved ones.

Consequently, the risk that your partner will cheat on you will be relatively low compared to people who are away from home quite often and barely have time for their families at all.

Do you need a college degree for becoming a forester?

You need at least a bachelor’s degree in forestry to be able to work in this field.

Consequently, you have to spend many years on college education and you may also have to take on student loans.

Hence, you should really make sure that working as a forester is your dream job to stay in this field for quite a long time and to make it worth the initial investment.

Do you need to be certified to work as a forester?

You don’t need to be certified as a forester.

Apart from getting your college degree, there are no fancy additional requirements to be able to work in this field.

How much does it cost to become a forester?

Since you will have to get a college degree, you would also have to spend lots of money on tuition and other expenses related to college.

You may also have to take on student loan debt to finance your degree.

Is being a forester a good career?

Since you can make decent money and will also have lots of leisure and a rather stress-free life, many people consider being a forester a good career, even though you will not make that much money compared to doctors, lawyers or investment bankers.

Is it easy to start your own business as a forester?

It is pretty hard to start your own forestry business since you would need to spend lots of money on equipment in the first place.

Hence, if you want to work self-employed, this would be much easier in a different field.

Can foresters teach themselves?

Foresters are able to teach themselves many important things.

However, if you want to be able to work as a forester in an official manner, you still need to get your college degree in forestry and teaching yourself will not be enough.

Do foresters make good money?

Foresters can make decent money.

While they don’t make as much money as people who work in demanding office jobs, foresters can still make a decent living from what they are doing and may even be able to afford some luxury.

Is it ever too late to become a forester?

While it is never too late to become a forester, you should still start your career relatively early since you will have to spend lots of time and money on college education and the sooner you start, the sooner you will make it worth the initial investment.

Moreover, working as a forester can be physically demanding and the younger you are, the better you will be able to stress your body and the more productive you will be.

Do foresters have to quit their careers early?

Most foresters don’t have to quit their careers early.

Even though working as a forester can be physically demanding, you will still not have to stress your body as much as construction workers or welders who often suffer from physical health issues sooner or later and have to quit their careers relatively early.

What is the most challenging thing about working as a forester?

The most challenging thing about working as a forester is that you always have to convince people that protecting our forests is a good idea and this can be really tough, especially if you talk to young people who just want to party and don’t care about taking their trash with them at all.

Can you provide for your family by working as a forester?

Thanks to the decent money you will be able to make as a forester, you will also have a rather easy time providing for your family, at least if you live in a region where living costs and rents are rather low.

Will foresters suffer from old-age poverty?

Most foresters don’t suffer from old-age poverty since they get a decent pension and also save money on the side.

However, whether you will suffer from old-age poverty also greatly depends on your spending habits and whether you spend money in a wise manner or not.

Can foresters retire early?

Most foresters are not able to retire early.

Even though they make decent money, foresters are often not able to save enough money to retire early and rather have to work until they reach official retirement age.

Do foresters get a fixed or variable salary?

Foresters get a fixed salary most of the time.

In fact, even in case there is a variable component, it would be pretty low and this means that your performance at work will not really matter for your overall salary.

Can you get rich as a forester?

It is not possible to get rich as a forester, at least if you work as an employed forester.

If you really want to get wealthy or rich, you should start your own forestry business and expand it as much as possible.

Do foresters need a second job?

Foresters often don’t need a second job to pay their bills since they can make decent money from what they are doing for a living.

Do you get continuous training as a forester?

You don’t get continuous training as a forester.

Once you got your degree and are officially able to work as a forester, it will be on you to hone your craft and to learn on the job every day.

Do you get sick pay as a forester?

Many foresters get paid in case they get sick.

However, you can never be entirely sure about that and you should therefore also have an emergency fund in case you don’t get paid and still have to pay your bills in case of illness.

Do foresters have a high level of responsibility?

Foresters have a high level of responsibility since they have to make sure that people can spend time in forests in a safe manner and they are also important to preserve nature.

Can foresters work abroad?

Foresters are needed all over the world.

However, before you move to a different country, make sure that your education will be recognized since you would have to get additional forestry education otherwise.

Is it stressful to work as a forester?

Working as a forester is not stressful at all.

You will have more than enough time to get things done and don’t have to meet strict timelines as in many other jobs out there.

Is it boring to work as a forester?

Working as a forester may become boring, especially if you are just in the game for the good working conditions and are not deeply interested in forestry at all.

In such a case, you may get bored with what you are doing sooner or later and you may rather want to go for a different career instead.

Is being a forester hard?

Working as a forester is not that hard.

Even though it involves a physical component and you will have to lift heavy stuff from time to time, you will still not have to stress your body as much as in many other craftsmen jobs.

Are foresters at risk of burnout?

Since foresters don’t experience lots of stress at work, they are also not at great risk of burnout.

Instead, they will have a rather low risk in this regard and can spend their workday in a rather relaxed manner while other people who work in demanding jobs may burn out sooner or later.

Is there a dress code for foresters?

There is no official dress code for foresters.

Quite often, you will be able to wear whatever you want and don’t have to comply with fancy dress codes as it would be the case of working in a classical office environment.

What kind of foresters are paid the most?

The more experienced you are and the more knowledge you have about sustainable woodworking and forestry, the more money you can make as a forester since those topics will become pretty important in the future to protect our environment.

What percentage of foresters are women?

Less than 20% of all foresters are women while over 80% are men.

This is due to the physical nature of the job and also since women are generally less interested in working in this field.

Do I need a mentor to succeed as a forester?

You don’t need to have a mentor to succeed as a forester.

What’s much more important is that you have a real passion for forestry and for protecting our environment in general.

Will you be personally liable for mistakes as a forester?

You will not be personally liable for mistakes as an employed forester most of the time.

However, if you want to be 100% sure in this regard, you should consult a lawyer or get insurance to be covered in case of emergency.

Do foresters have a high life expectancy?

Foresters have a rather low life expectancy since they work in a risky environment where accidents at work are pretty common.

Hence, if you really want to maximize your life expectancy, you should rather work in a classical office job instead.

Do foresters suffer from sleeping problems?

Since foresters don’t have to work in the evening or at nighttime, they will also not suffer from sleeping problems related to their jobs since they are able to maintain a healthy sleeping pattern.

What states are best for working as a forester?

The best states to work as a forester are states and regions where foresters are in high demand while living costs are still relatively low.

Hence, working as a forester can be great in rural regions in Alaska or other states with lots of natural environments.

Who do foresters work with?

Foresters don’t have much contact with other people.

Quite often, they spend lots of time alone in nature and if you are a rather communicative and outgoing person, you may not become happy as a forester since you might just feel lonely.

Is working as a forester cool?

Being a forester is not considered cool by the majority of young people.

However, if it is your dream to become a forester, you should not listen to other people but still go for it even though it might not be cool and your friends may not understand your decision.

Can you start a side hustle as a forester?

You can start many side hustles as a forester.

For instance, you could start a YouTube channel or a blog where you talk about your forestry career and how we can protect our planet to raise awareness and to make some bucks on the side.

Do you have to be creative as a forester?

You don’t need to be overly creative as a forester.

Instead, you will need lots of knowledge regarding how to protect our ecosystems in the best possible manner and about woodworking in particular.

Do foresters suffer from being overweight?

Since foresters spend lots of time in nature in the fresh air and also work in a physical manner, most of them are rather fit and don’t suffer from being overweight.

How employable are foresters?

Since protecting our environment has become an important part of the political agenda, foresters will be in high demand in the near future and since not that many people want to become foresters anymore, you will have excellent job prospects.

Are foresters happy with their jobs?

Most foresters are pretty happy with what they do for a living since they can spend time in beautiful natural environments while they still have enough time for their families and also make enough money to provide for their loved ones.

Is working as a forester exciting?

Working as a forester is only exciting if you are really passionate about nature and about preserving our planet.

Otherwise, it might get boring pretty soon.

Can you have a positive impact on our environment as a forester?

You can have a significant positive impact on our environment as a forester since your job will be to protect our forests and to raise awareness of the importance of protecting our planet.

What are the pros and cons of working as a forester?

If you still want to become a forester, you should also have a look at additional pros and cons of a forestry career.

Sources

https://www.statista.com/statistics/683069/us-employment-projection-for-forestry-fishing-hunting-agriculture-industry/

https://www.statista.com/statistics/252838/employment-of-the-us-forest-products-industry-2012/

Interviews and own research.

About the author

My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.

This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.

Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.

I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.

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