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Forest Technician

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

Also Known As

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

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Forestry Technologists and Technicians (2223) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Forestry Technologists and Technicians (C123) 
  • 2011 NOC: Forestry technologists and technicians (2223) 
  • 2016 NOC: Forestry technologists and technicians (2223) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Forestry Technologists and Technicians
2006 NOC : 2223

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
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

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

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 for this NOC group 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 About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2017

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 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 vary from one position to another but, in general, forest technicians:

  • 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 saw logs 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 Mar 31, 2017
  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg

Forest technicians typically work outdoors in all weather conditions, often performing strenuous tasks on steep, wet or uneven terrain. But they also work in office environments. Lifting requirements vary depending on the nature of the job. 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 12 to 16 hour shifts for several days at a time and may be required to lift equipment weighing up to 30 kilograms. Some positions are seasonal.

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2017

Forest technicians need:

  • physical fitness
  • spatial and form perception for mapping and inspecting
  • motor coordination and manual dexterity for adjusting instruments and navigating forest terrain
  • attention to detail when taking measurements and updating computer databases
  • communication and interpersonal skills for dealing with people and working as part of a team
  • the ability 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 Mar 31, 2017
  • Minimum Education Varies

Minimum education level varies. 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.

Some employers use the title forest technician for technical positions requiring a 2-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

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2017
  • Certification Provincially Regulated

Certified Technician

Certified Technicians are applied science, information technology, or engineering technology professionals. They perform routine technical procedures with occasional direct supervision. They also may assume limited responsibility for decision-making processes.

Legislation

Under Alberta’s Engineering and Geoscience Professions Act [pdf] and ASET Regulation [pdf], you must register as a 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 register if you do not call yourself a Certified Technician.

For information on what you need and other details, visit the certification profile Certified Technician.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2017

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 [pdf] 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)
  • size of the occupation.

In Alberta, the 2223: Forestry technologists and technicians occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.1% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 20 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

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

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2017

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

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Forestry technologists and technicians

2016 NOC : 2223
Average Wage
$39.63
Per Hour
Average Salary
$80,053.00
Per Year
Average Hours
39.1
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
11.8
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2019 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 2223 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

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.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $18.00 $46.60 $35.28 $38.64
Overall $23.13 $50.17 $39.63 $44.10
Top $29.00 $71.41 $45.98 $44.10

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.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

Public Administration
ALL INDUSTRIES

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
100%
100%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
12%
12%
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
31%
31%
Vacancy Rate
4%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Environment, Forestry and Related Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2017

Alberta Junior Forest Rangers website: alis.alberta.ca/jfr

ECO Canada website: www.eco.ca

Work Wild website: www.workwild.ca

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2017. 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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