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Forest Technician

Forest technicians perform technical functions related to forest management, forest protection, silviculture, harvesting and conservation.

  • Avg. Salary $59,167.00
  • Avg. Wage $31.69
  • Minimum Education 1 year post-secondary
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed < 1500
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Environmental Technician/Technologist, Forest Fire Lookout, Natural Resource Technician

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

86%
86%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
NOC & Interest Codes
The Forest Technician is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Forestry Technologists and Technicians
NOC code: 2223
DIRECTIVE

Interest in supervising the construction of access routes, forest roads and forest tree nursery operations; and in implementing and supervising technical functions in silviculture and forest harvesting operations and in co-ordinating activities such as timber scaling, forest fire suppression, disease and insect control and pre-commercial thinning of forest stands

METHODICAL

Interest in compiling information to monitor activities of logging companies and contractors, to enforce regulations, such as those concerning environmental protection, resource use, fire safety and accident prevention

INNOVATIVE

Interest in precision working to provide technical support to forestry research programs in areas such as tree improvement, seed orchard operations, insect and disease surveys and experimental forestry and forest engineering research

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Apr 08, 2016

Forest technicians, as they are defined in this profile, work under the supervision of foresters or forest technologists. They may be involved primarily in:

  • silviculture, as members of site preparation, tree planting or stand tending crews or as nursery workers, or crew supervisors.
  • timber management, as a members of crews as compass persons, regeneration surveyors, timber cruisers or mapping technicians.
  • forest protection, performing insect and disease control activities, or as aerial observers, firefighters, helitack or rappel crew members, sector leaders, fire lookout personnel (tower personnel), timekeepers, radio operators, forestry warehouse persons or air tank base managers or assistants.
  • forest harvesting, operating equipment, supervising logging, checking log quality, doing pre-harvest or post-harvest assessments, scaling or grading timber, or laying out cutting blocks or roads.

Duties therefore vary considerably from one position to another but, in general, forest technicians perform the following functions:

  • survey forest areas and access roads
  • assist land managers with day to day field activities
  • conduct forest inventories to determine the volume of timber in an area
  • make detailed drawings of and lay out harvest blocks, haul roads and skid trails
  • mark trees for harvesting operations
  • inspect logs for defects, measure them to determine total volume and estimate the marketable content for use as sawlogs or pulpwood
  • keep records of the amount and condition of logs reaching mills
  • survey regrowth on cut areas
  • survey trees and collect samples of plants, seeds, foliage, bark and roots to record insect and disease damage
  • use aerial photographs, global positioning systems (GPS) and geographic information systems (GIS) to map and collect data on forest areas.

Forest technicians may use (or supervise workers who use) chain saws, clearing saws and manual tools, or herbicides to control weeds and undergrowth. 

Working Conditions
Updated Apr 08, 2016

Forest technicians typically work outdoors in all weather conditions, often performing tasks that are strenuous, sometimes on steep, wet or uneven terrain, but sometimes also work in office environments. Lifting requirements vary depending on the nature of the job but, in general, forest technicians routinely lift loads weighing up to 10 kilograms.

Forest technicians may commute daily to work in the woods or may have to be away from home for a week or more at a time. They often stay in small rural communities or in modern camps, but may also live in urban settings. When fighting forest fires, they often work twelve to sixteen hour shifts for several days at a time and may be required to lift equipment weighing up to 30 kilograms. Some positions are seasonal.

  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Apr 08, 2016

Forest technicians need the following characteristics:

  • physically fit
  • able to pay close attention to details when taking measurements and updating computer databases
  • good spatial and form perception for mapping and inspecting
  • good motor co-ordination and manual dexterity for adjusting instruments and activities such as navigating forest terrain 
  • good communication and interpersonal skills for dealing with people and working as part of a team
  • able to work alone, sometimes for long periods of time.

They should enjoy taking responsibility for projects, having clear rules and organized methods for their work, and solving problems by experimenting.

Educational Requirements
Updated Apr 08, 2016

Forest technicians may acquire the required skills and knowledge of provincial forest legislation and regulations by training on the job or taking related education programs. Computer skills are a definite asset, particularly familiarity with GIS and GPS systems. (Note: Some employers use the title forest technician for technical positions requiring a two year post-secondary diploma or a university degree.)

 


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Apr 08, 2016

Certified Technician

Under general supervision, certified technicians undertake the routine application of industry recognized codes, standards, procedures and practices. They use established engineering, geoscience or applied science principles and methods of problem solving. Duties may typically include testing, troubleshooting, inspecting, calibrating, drafting, maintaining, modelling, compiling, estimating, surveying, ensuring quality control, supervising in the field and working in sales.

Legislation

Under Alberta's Engineering and Geoscience Professions Act (PDF) and ASET Regulation (PDF), you must be a registered member of the Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta (ASET) to use the title Certified Technician (C.Tech.). You do not have to be registered if you do not call yourself a Certified Technician.

What You Need

Registration requires:

  • graduation from an applied science, information technology or engineering technology program
  • at least 2 years of acceptable technical experience
  • 3 professional references
  • submission of a competency report, demonstrating at least 3 C.Tech. competencies
  • successful completion of ASET's Professional Practice Exam
  • demonstration of proficiency in English.

For detailed official information, contact the regulatory organization below.

Working in Alberta

Technicians who are certified by and in good standing with a regulatory organization elsewhere in Canada may be eligible for certification in Alberta if certified technicians in the 2 jurisdictions have similar responsibilities and competencies. For more information, see What if I am already certified in another province or territory? and the Alberta regulatory organization below.

To learn about the certification process for internationally educated technicians, see Mechanical Engineering Technician Certification Process (PDF) on AlbertaCanada.com.

Contact Details

The Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta (ASET)
1600 - 9888 Jasper Ave.
Edmonton, Alberta  T5J 5C6
Phone: 780-425-0626
Toll-free in Alberta: 1-800-272-5619
Fax: 780-424-5053
Email: asetadmin@aset.ab.ca
Website: www.aset.ab.ca

Employment & Advancement
Updated Apr 08, 2016

Forest technicians are employed by:

  • logging companies
  • pulp and paper companies
  • lumber companies
  • oil and gas companies
  • forestry consulting firms
  • environmental consulting firms
  • land management consulting firms
  • private contracting firms
  • provincial governments.

In private companies or consulting firms, forestry technicians may be employed as log scalers, logging supervisors, woodland assistants/technicians, silvicultural crew members or supervisors, fire suppression crew members or supervisors, or road and cutblock specialists.

Experienced forest technicians may advance to supervisory positions or move into related positions in provincial parks, survey crews, vegetation control, reclamation work, the oil and gas industry, woodlot management or forestry equipment operation and supervision. (For more information, see the Logging/Forestry Equipment Operator occupational profile). Additional education is required to move into forest technologist or forester positions.

Forest technicians are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 2223: Forestry Technologists and Technicians. In Alberta, 90% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Apr 08, 2016

Starting salaries for forestry technicians vary depending on the type of work performed.

Forestry technologists and technicians
NOC code: 2223

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $19.00 $37.70 $26.38 $25.00
Overall $21.45 $47.41 $31.69 $30.00
Top $23.00 $50.00 $35.42 $35.00

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Public Administration
ALBERTA, ALL INDUSTRIES
Forestry, Logging, Fishing and Hunting

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

86%
86%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

9%
9%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

8%
8%

2015 Vacancy Rate

1%
Related High School Subjects
  • Science
  • Natural Resources
    • Forestry
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Environment, Forestry and Related Studies

Updated Jan 04, 2013. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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