Forestry Technologists and Technicians

Occupation:Forestry Technologists and Technicians
Category:Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology

About the job

Nature of work:

Forestry technologists and technicians may work independently or perform technical and supervisory functions in support of forestry research, forest management, forest harvesting, forest resource conservation and environmental protection. They are employed by the forest industry sector, provincial and federal governments, consulting firms, and other industries and institutions, or they may be self-employed.

Job duties:
Forestry technologists and technicians perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Conduct, supervise and participate in forest inventory cruises, surveys and field measurements following accepted scientific and operational procedures.
  • Assist and perform technical functions in the preparation of forest management and harvest plans using photogrammetric and mapping techniques and computerized information systems.
  • Assist in planning and supervise construction of access routes and forest roads.
  • Implement, supervise and perform technical functions in silvicultural operations involving site preparation, planting, and tending of tree crops.
  • Coordinate activities such as timber scaling, forest fire suppression, disease or insect control or pre-commercial thinning of forest stands.
  • Supervise and perform technical functions in forest harvesting operations.
  • Monitor activities of logging companies and contractors and enforce regulations such as those concerning environmental protection, resource utilization, fire safety and accident prevention.
  • Provide forestry education, advice and recommendations to woodlot owners, community organizations and the general public.
  • Develop and maintain computer databases.
  • Supervise forest tree nursery operations.
  • Provide technical support to forestry research programs in areas such as tree improvement, seed orchard operations, insect and disease surveys or experimental forestry and forest engineering research.
Sample job titles:
  • enforcement officer - forestry
  • forest engineering technologist
  • forest fire ranger
  • forest fire technician
  • forest planning technician
  • forest research technologist
  • forestry conservation technician
  • log grader
  • silviculturist
  • timber scaler

For these jobs, you should enjoy technical work and have an interest in science. A high degree of manual dexterity and mechanical ability may be necessary. You must be methodical, precise and analytical, and able to work alone or as part of a team. Good oral and written communication skills are important, as well as the ability to supervise and coordinate the work of others. Familiarity with mapping techniques and computerized information systems may be required for some positions. Physical stamina may be needed for fieldwork.

Job requirements:
  • Completion of a one- to three-year college program in forestry technology or in a renewable resource program or forest ranger program is usually required.
  • Certification by, or registration with, a provincial association as a forestry technologist or technician may be required.
  • Certification or licensing as a scaler is required for some positions.
Other considerations:

Mobility may be possible to jobs in natural resource and wildlife management and in parks management.

Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Fair

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “average”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is comparable to the average for all occupations in Nova Scotia. This is not a large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities may not be that frequent. The number employed in this occupation is expected to decline moderately over the next few years, which will likely limit the number of new opportunities available. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Forestry Technologists and Technicians most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs are typically permanent positions. With employment conditions being somewhat seasonal, periods of downtime or layoff throughout the year affect some workers.

The median employment income for 65% of Forestry Technologists and Technicians who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $64,039. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

OccupationEstimated employment in 2018Estimated change in employment between 2017 and 2019Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019Estimated rate of unemployment in 2018 Estimated hourly earnings in 2015 (learn more)Estimated annual earnings in 2015
Forestry Technologists and Technicians225decline15Moderate
Minimum: $17.00
Median: $26.00
Maximum: $38.00
Minimum: $6,220
Median: $50,627
Maximum: $84,176
Occupations in Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology25,875Strong growth3,095Low
Minimum: $17.69
Median: $31.35
Maximum: $47.18
Minimum: $13,568
Median: $60,422
Maximum: $107,009
Forestry Technologists and TechniciansCompared to: Occupations in Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology
Percent employed full-time92%94%
Percent self-employed6%7%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentForestry Technologists and TechniciansCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Cape Breton12%x13%$32,974
Annapolis Valley10%x13%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgeForestry Technologists and TechniciansCompared to: All Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology
% Employed% Employed
Median Age4543
GenderForestry Technologists and TechniciansCompared to: Occupations in Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology
% Employed% Employed
EducationForestry Technologists and TechniciansCompared to: All Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high schoolN/Ax0.7%$28,107
High school9.8%x12.1%$35,125
Trades certificate3.9%x6.8%$54,923
College certificate or diploma70.6%$77,87333.7%$52,476
University certificate or diploma3.9%x3.7%$52,446
Bachelor's degree11.8%$71,02629.7%$58,011
University advanced certificate or diplomaN/Ax2.0%$54,917
Master's degreeN/Ax9.7%$37,706
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometryN/Ax0.1%$57,566
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.


Employment Requirements & Contacts

Timber Scaler
Right to Practice:This job is regulated in Nova Scotia. A licence shows that the holder has met provincial requirements and is required to work in this job.
Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources
PO Box 698, 1701 Hollis Street
Halifax, NS B3J 2T9
(902) 424-5935
(902) 424-7735
Useful contacts:
Canadian Institute of Forestry - Nova Scotia
c/o The Canadian Ecology Centre P.O Box 99, 6905 Hwy. 17 West
Tel: (705) 744-1715
Fax: (705) 744-1716
Forestry Safety Society of Nova Scotia
PO Box 696
Truro, NS B2N 5E5
Tel: (902) 895-1107
Fax: (902) 895-4270

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Forest technology/technician
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to assist foresters in the management and production of forest resources. These programs include courses in woods and field skills, tree identification, timber measurement, logging and timber harvesting, forest propagation and regeneration, forest firefighting, resource management, equipment operation and maintenance, record-keeping, sales and purchasing operations, and personnel supervision.
There are no schools in Nova Scotia offering this program.
Additional resources: