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Foresters plan, administer and direct programs related to managing forested lands and renewable resources.

Also Known As

Arborist, Forest Economist, Forest Health Specialist, Forest Resource Planner, Growth and Yield Analyst, Harvesting Supervisor, Land Use Planner, Operations Supervisor, Planning Assistant, Project Manager, Research Scientist, Silviculture Supervisor, Woodlands Manager

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

  • 2122: Forestry Professionals

2006 NOC-S

  • C022: Forestry Professionals

2011 NOC

  • 2122: Forestry professionals

2016 NOC

  • 2122: Forestry professionals

2021 NOC

  • 21111: Forestry professionals

2023 OaSIS

  • 21111.00: Forestry professionals
Updated Mar 02, 2021

Foresters 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.

Foresters may:

  • Prepare and manage plans for reforestation or forest renewal, and oversee seed- and tree-planting programs for areas where trees have been harvested or burned by forest fires
  • Assess and deal with the impacts of wildfires, insects, diseases and pollution on forests, and develop strategies to minimize forest losses
  • Prepare and manage long-term engineering plans and oversee forest engineering activities such as road layout and construction, bridge construction and culvert installation
  • Plan and supervise 200-year timber harvesting sequences and operations to minimize the impact of harvesting on wildlife, soil, water resources, and recreation
  • Supervise timber harvesting contractors, tree planters and site preparation contractors
  • Plan and consult with communities for forest land uses such as recreational activities, domestic grazing and timber harvesting operations
  • Plan and supervise access for well-site drilling operations, power and pipelines
  • Calculate and trade carbon credits
  • Advise government and industry officials on forest management issues and assess new forest management applications
  • Use technology such as remote sensing, geographic information system (GIS) and drones
  • Manage public involvement processes to identify best practices for forest land use
  • Oversee the business and economics aspects of the forest, such as the selling of forest products
  • Develop and deliver public education and awareness programs
  • Develop and use computer programs to aid in forest management

There is no one industry or one role which foresters fill. Foresters may work in various industries related to forestry such as business, finance, oil, gas, mining, environment, power generation or product supply. Or they may work in land inspection and enforcement to ensure that forest-cleared lands are reclaimed to their most suitable end use, or that outdoor recreational activities and commercial land uses comply with the guidelines and regulations for forested public lands.

Foresters working in watershed protection and wildlife management monitor wildlife populations and assess the impacts of forest operations on populations and habitats, and study water yield variations following surface disturbances.

Forest research scientists and forestry research officers may work in forest management science and research areas. They may:

  • Investigate the impact of forest operations on soils, water, wildlife and their habitats
  • Assess human and environmental impacts such as air pollution, tree diseases, insects, fires and climate change on forest habitats
  • Investigate, develop, and integrate forest regeneration techniques
  • Develop and test new forest products and harvesting processes
  • Conduct research on tree improvement (for example, using genetic selection to develop trees with better resilience and features)
  • Assess how changes in forests impact humans on a social and economic level
  • Consult on policy changes
  • Investigate new or alternative ways of enhancing forest renewal opportunities and of minimizing the negative impact of harvesting

Many Registered Professional Foresters (RPFs) spend their time planning and administering programs or conducting research. They may:

  • Accumulate and analyze data
  • Work with large teams of professionals including biologists and hydrologists to complete land use plans
  • Correspond and meet with industry, government and environmental groups
  • Facilitate meetings with land users
  • Develop provincial and federal forest policy
  • Write reports or scientific papers
  • Deliver presentations
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 02, 2021
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

In entry-level positions, foresters may spend a considerable amount of time working outdoors in the field, either by themselves or with small crews. They may work in remote sites or bush camps. They may hike in rugged country, wet muskeg areas or over steep terrain in all kinds of weather. Forest fire control and tree planting activities are particularly physically demanding and hazardous.

To deal with harsh weather conditions and to avoid being outdoors for extended periods, foresters use various portable devices, drones and GIS navigation. They also use all-terrain vehicles, trucks, helicopters and snowmobiles to move more easily around the forest.

Many Registered Professional Foresters (RPFs) work primarily indoors.

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 Professionals

2006 NOC: 2122

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group

Interest in precision working to conduct advanced research into areas such as tree improvement, nursery seedling production, forest soils, forest ecology, forest mensuration and forest operations


Interest in synthesizing information to plan and conduct public relations, educational and extension programs related to forestry; and in providing advice and recommendations as consultants on forestry issues to private woodlot owners, companies and municipal, provincial and federal governments


Interest in supervising programs to plan and direct woodlands harvesting, reforestation, silviculture, fire prevention and fire suppression programs, road building, wildlife management, environmental protection and insect and vegetation control programs; and in developing and overseeing programs for tree seedling production and woodlands nursery operations

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


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

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 02, 2021

Foresters need:

  • Organizational and communication skills
  • A keen interest in all aspects of nature and a serious concern for the environment
  • The ability to work effectively alone and in a team environment
  • The ability to direct the work of assistants and oversee several projects at the same time

They should enjoy exploring things in depth, developing innovative studies and programs, working with people and directing the work of others.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 02, 2021
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary

Foresters must have an accredited university degree in forestry or equivalent (e.g., applied science degree and significant work experience in forestry). Forestry research positions usually require at least a master’s degree in forestry; often, a doctoral (PhD) degree is required for independent research positions. Computer skills are a definite asset, particularly familiarity with GIS and GPS systems.

Outdoor experience (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 in a variety of forestry roles.

Required Education

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

Related Education

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

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 02, 2021
  • Certification Provincially Regulated

Certain professional titles or duties within this occupation are protected by provincial legislation. Requirements vary if you use these titles or perform these duties.

The related legislation is shown below. If there are multiple related legislations, select a certification heading to learn about each one.


Foresters plan, administer and direct programs related to managing forested lands and renewable resources.


Under the Regulated Forestry Profession Act [pdf] and the Registered Professional Foresters Regulation [pdf], you must be registered with the College of Alberta Professional Foresters (CAPF) to use protected titles reserved for regulated members. These titles include:

  • Registered Professional Forester
  • Registered Forester
  • Professional Forester
  • Forester-In-Training

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 Forester.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 02, 2021

Foresters are employed by:

  • Companies that produce forest products such as lumber, pulp and paper, plywood and panelboard
  • Consulting companies
  • Government departments and agencies
  • Non-profit Organizations
  • Oil and mining companies
  • Power companies
  • Schools

Some foresters are self-employed private consultants.

To gain related work experience, students are highly recommended to seek out seasonal employment with related government programs or forestry companies.

After several years in junior positions, foresters may assume responsibility for assessing data gathered by forest technologists and forestry workers, planning and implementing projects, and supervising technologists and forestry workers in fieldwork. With additional experience, foresters may move into management and administrative positions.

Foresters who have several years of work experience may move into related fields such as land use planning, reclamation work, vegetation control, surveying or working in provincial parks.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 2122: Forestry professionals occupational group, 78.4% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 2122: Forestry professionals occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 2.3% from 2021 to 2025. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 31 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

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: 2021-2025 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 02, 2021

Salaries may be higher for foresters doing reclamation and remediation or resource management and planning in the environment, energy or other natural resources industries. Salaries for those working in the forestry sector may be lower.

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 professionals

2016 NOC: 2122
Average Wage
Per Hour
Average Salary
Per Year
Average Hours
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 2122 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.

C: Lower Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Lower Reliability, represents a CV of between 15.01% and 33.00% and/or if fewer than 20 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 33% of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Hourly Wage

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

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $30.40 $72.31 $40.78 $38.88
Overall $34.02 $72.31 $47.62 $48.01
Top $38.93 $72.31 $51.12 $50.22

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

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
Vacancy Rate
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Environment, Forestry and Related Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 02, 2021

Alberta Junior Forest Rangers website:

Association of Alberta Forest Management Professionals website:

ECO Canada website:

Work Wild website:

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

Updated Mar 02, 2021. 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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