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What is a Forester?

Job Description & Duties Manage public and private forested lands for economic, recreational, and conservation purposes. May inventory the type, amount, and location of standing timber, appraise the timber’s worth, negotiate the purchase, and draw up contracts for procurement. May determine how to conserve wildlife habitats, creek beds, water quality, and soil stability, and how best to comply with environmental regulations. May devise plans for planting and growing new trees, monitor trees for healthy growth, and determine optimal harvesting schedules.

Daily Life Of a Forester

  • Procure timber from private landowners.
  • Map forest area soils and vegetation to estimate the amount of standing timber and future value and growth.
  • Monitor wildlife populations and assess the impacts of forest operations on population and habitats.
  • Study different tree species’ classification, life history, light and soil requirements, adaptation to new environmental conditions and resistance to disease and insects.
  • Plan and supervise forestry projects, such as determining the type, number and placement of trees to be planted, managing tree nurseries, thinning forest and monitoring growth of new seedlings.
  • Choose and prepare sites for new trees, using controlled burning, bulldozers, or herbicides to clear weeds, brush, and logging debris.

What Skills Do You Need to Work as a Forester?

Foresters state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Coordination: Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.

Other Forester Job Titles

  • Forest Manager
  • Wildlife Removal Specialist
  • Chief Unit Forester
  • Timber Management Specialist
  • Area Forester

Forester Employment Estimates

In the United States, there were 12,300 jobs for Forester in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 4.9% which is below the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 600 new jobs for Forester by 2026. The BLS estimates 1,100 yearly job openings in this field.


The states with the most job growth for Forester are Nevada, North Dakota, and Colorado. Watch out if you plan on working in Wyoming, Vermont, or South Dakota. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Forester Average Salary

The salary for Foresters ranges between about $41,350 and $86,870 a year.


Foresters who work in New Jersey, District of Columbia, or California, make the highest salaries.

How much do Foresters make in each U.S. state?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $65,230
Alaska $71,800
Arkansas $56,710
California $80,030
Colorado $61,890
Connecticut $72,010
District of Columbia $86,790
Florida $64,190
Georgia $54,590
Idaho $57,180
Illinois $68,570
Indiana $47,070
Iowa $64,840
Kentucky $47,680
Louisiana $69,890
Maine $52,850
Maryland $64,370
Massachusetts $76,810
Michigan $66,630
Minnesota $64,330
Mississippi $59,900
Missouri $50,180
Montana $57,960
Nebraska $61,530
Nevada $64,160
New Hampshire $64,920
New Jersey $76,760
New Mexico $52,740
New York $65,620
North Carolina $63,610
North Dakota $55,760
Ohio $61,990
Oklahoma $49,390
Oregon $70,660
Pennsylvania $66,170
South Carolina $61,430
South Dakota $54,850
Tennessee $55,610
Texas $64,740
Vermont $65,170
Virginia $59,940
Washington $69,720
West Virginia $57,640
Wisconsin $55,810
Wyoming $60,980

What Tools & Technology do Foresters Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Foresters:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Web browser software
  • Microsoft Access
  • Data entry software
  • IBM Notes
  • Geographic information system GIS software
  • ESRI ArcView
  • Work scheduling software
  • Mapping software
  • ESRI ArcGIS software

How do I Become a Forester?

What education or degrees do I need to become a Forester?


What work experience do I need to become a Forester?


Where do Foresters Work?


Below are examples of industries where Foresters work:



Image Credit: Lynn Betts via Photo by Lynn Betts, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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