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Forest Technologist

Forest technologists perform many of the technical functions involved in the scientific management of forested areas.

Also Known As

Biological Sciences Technician / Technologist, Environmental Technician / Technologist, Forest Guardian

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 technologists work in close consultation with other land and resource management specialists to ensure that forest land is managed wisely. Their objective is to optimize production of forest resources and minimize adverse impacts on the land, water and wildlife. As such, they assess, plan and manage the health, sustainability, conservation and renewal of forests, vegetation, wildlife, watersheds, soil, airsheds and ecosystems.

Duties and responsibilities vary from one position to another but, in general, forest technologists:

  • plan and administer silviculture activities such as timber harvesting (logging) and reforestation operations to ensure healthy, diverse forest regeneration
  • conserve and improve wildlife habitat through carefully planned silviculture programs
  • conduct forest timber inventories and analyze forests using computer hardware and software
  • use information-management technologies such as global positioning systems (GPS), geographic information systems (GIS) and databases to assist with conservation and forest management activities
  • interpret government regulations for effective supervision of staff and contractors
  • prepare and administer forest management plans
  • work with government to develop and implement environmentally sound harvesting and reforestation plans
  • participate in research, analyze data and prepare technical reports
  • conduct forest ecological surveys such as ecosystem classification and songbird inventories
  • work with the oil and gas industry to ensure activities comply with forestry legislation and minimize negative impacts on the forest land base
  • perform auditing and compliance functions
  • direct wildfire control operations and monitor fire activities.
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2017
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

Forest technologists often perform tasks that are strenuous, sometimes on steep, wet or uneven terrain. They also work indoors conducting experiments, analyzing data and writing reports. When outdoors, they work in all weather conditions.

Technologists who work primarily outdoors often work in remote locations, sometimes on their own. They may commute daily to forest sites or routinely be away from home for periods of a week or more, staying in modern camps or small rural communities.

Forest technologists may work 12- to 16-hour shifts when necessary to fight forest fires. Some technologists routinely work 12-hour shifts, 4 days a week.

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2017

Forest technologists need:

  • clerical perception for taking measurements and updating computer databases
  • spatial and form perception for mapping and inspecting
  • motor coordination and manual dexterity for adjusting instruments and for activities such as tree planting
  • communication and interpersonal skills for dealing with people and working as part of a team.

Those who work primarily outdoors also need to be:

  • physically fit
  • able to work alone effectively
  • able to deal with mechanical problems such as snowmobile breakdowns.

All forest technologists should enjoy directing and supervising others, taking a methodical approach to compiling information and enforcing regulations, and developing innovative approaches to problems.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2017
  • Minimum Education 2 years post-secondary

For the purposes of this profile, forest technologists are defined as graduates of 2-year or 3-year forest technology programs. It should be noted, however, that the terms “forest technologist” and “forest technician” may be used differently by various employers and post-secondary schools.


Required Education

The following schools offer programs and courses that meet this occupation’s educational requirements. Other eligible programs and courses may be available.

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

Forest Technologist

Forest technologists perform many of the technical functions involved in the scientific management of forested areas.

Legislation

Under Alberta's Regulated Forestry Profession Act [pdf] and Registered Professional Forest Technologists Regulation [pdf], you must be registered with the College of Alberta Professional Forest Technologists (CAPFT) to use the protected titles reserved for regulated members:

  • Registered Professional Forest Technologist
  • Registered Forest Technologist
  • Professional Forest Technologist

Registration is mandatory if you meet identified competency requirements and intend to practise forestry on public lands.

For information on what you need and other details, visit the certification profile Forest Technologist.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2017

Forest technologists are employed by:

  • companies that produce forest products such as lumber, pulp and paper, plywood or panel board
  • consulting companies
  • schools
  • government departments and agencies
  • power companies
  • oil and mining companies.

Some forest technologists are self-employed private consultants.

Work experience in the forestry field is a definite advantage for forest technology graduates seeking entry-level positions such as log scaler, timber cruiser or supervisor of a tree-planting crew. Outdoor experience (such as camping, bush travel, use of all-terrain or 4-wheel-drive vehicles) is a definite asset. The Alberta Junior Forest Rangers program, operated by the Government of Alberta, provides work-related forestry experience for senior high school students.

Competition for permanent positions is keen. Post-secondary program graduates usually start their careers in seasonal positions and obtain permanent positions after gaining 2 to 4 years of experience. Most positions are in northern Alberta.

Experienced forest technologists may develop forestry plans or assist foresters in developing plans, supervise other forestry workers and technologists who acquire the data for plans, or actually do the field work required to implement plans. They may also move into related areas such as provincial parks, survey crews, reclamation crews or the oil and gas industry.

Forest technologists 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.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2017

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
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

College of Alberta Professional Forest Technologists website: www.capft.ca

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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