Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Exploring Careers in Forestry

Throughout the United States and Canada, big business and a variety of careers are found within the forestry industry. In regions such as British Columbia, forestry creates close to 80,000 jobs throughout the province. Today, an array of positions are available that allow individuals to showcase a range of skills and experience, such as protecting and managing forests, fire fighting, and maintaining wood manufacturing businesses. Not only does a job in forestry place employees in the great outdoors and fresh air, but also allows individuals to play an important role in saving the environment.

Forestry Education

A wide range of skills from math to biology to botany all serve a purpose in careers pertaining to the forestry industry. Individuals may pursue technical, supplementary, or professional instruction in order to carry out their duties, as well as advance in the field. When seeking education to further goals in the forestry industry, you may encounter forest technology programs, university transfers, 1-year or 2-year certifications, advanced and graduate studies, as well as forestry training programs (focused on subjects, such as chain sawing and fire suppression).

Jobs in the Forestry Industry

Depending on your interest in forestry, there is a wide range of careers to pursue in the field. Below you will find a few jobs to consider when entering in the world of forestry:

Forest protection officers usually make between $45,000 to $58,000 as fire suppression experts that assist in the protection of forests, natural resources, life, and property threatened by wildfires. Controlling and extinguishing fires and promoting the growth of areas suffering from fire damage are just some of the duties this type of job involves. An individual may decide to pursue forest protection through both technical (Scientific/Technical Officer) and professional (Licensed Science Officer) levels. Forest firefighters make an average of $20,000 to $30,000 to man the front lines during the spread of a wildfire. Heat and smoke are some of the elements involved in this type of employment, which is usually a seasonal position.

A timber cruising technician makes about $35,000 to $54,000 blocking layouts and creating boundaries for tree stands. They are also responsible for taking timber inventory, as well as assisting professional foresters in building roads. A forest technology diploma is needed for this line of work.

A registered professional forester can make a lucrative living, as they manage the resources attached to a particular forest. The annual salary for this career includes $50,000 to $93,000. Important decision-making skills are required to take on such a job, which includes the knowledge of the treatment of logging and reforestation. The ability to create short and long-term plans for managing forest resources also fall under this line of work, as well as enforcing government and industry regulations. A bachelor's or master's degree in forestry is needed to efficiently perform the duties associated with being a forester.

Biologists study the plants and animals in a forest and aid professional foresters in creating sufficient forest plans of management. A bachelor's or master's degree in biology is needed to make an average salary range of $35,000 to $60,000.

As the field of forestry allows a wide range of careers to flourish, additional jobs one may also consider includes forest technologist ($40,000 - $70,000) road systems engineer ($38,900 - $64,500) log scaler ($43,000 - $62,000) radio communications operator ($47,000 - $58,000) natural resource policy analyst ($35,500 - $70,000) administrative assistant ($32,000 - $43,000) research officer ($36,000 - $70,000) and range officer ($30,000 - $65,000).

Top Forestry Companies

When looking to gain employment with one of the top forestry companies throughout the United States and Canada, a variety of selections may be found in locations, such as Boise, Idaho or Montreal, Quebec. With $3.6 billion in sales, Abitibi Consolidated is headquartered in Montreal and offers work with integrated forest products.

In Boise, Idaho, Boise brings in $7 billion in sales with their integrated paper and wood products. Greenville, South Carolina is home to Bowater, which is the largest producer of U.S. newsprint and directory paper. The Chesapeake Corporation in Richmond, Virginia is a market leader in the sale of specialty packaging and merchandising services.

The world's largest owner of private, merchantable softwood comes from Weyerhaeuser, which makes $12 billion in sales at their headquarters in Tacoma, Washington. Offering the largest integrated producer of paperboard and paper-based packaging products in the world, the Chicago, Illinois-based company, Smurfit-Stone Container is worth $7.1 billion in sales.

Additional companies to seek out in the United States for a forestry job include Rayonier (Jacksonville, Florida), MeadWestvaco (Stamford, Connecticut), Louisiana-Pacific (Portland, Oregon), Kimberly-Clark (Dallas, Texas), and International Paper (Purchase, New York). When looking for careers away from the industrial aspect of the field, major national parks and forests provide satisfying job opportunities.

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