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

  • Avg. Salary $94,619.00
  • Avg. Wage $47.36
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed < 1500
  • In Demand Lower
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: Forestry Professionals (2122) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Forestry Professionals (C022) 
  • 2011 NOC: Forestry professionals (2122) 
  • 2016 NOC: Forestry professionals (2122) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Interest Codes
The Forester is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Forestry Professionals

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

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

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

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.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
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

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.

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

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 02, 2021


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.

What You Need

Registration requires:

  • An approved 4-year bachelor's degree in forestry, or equivalent
  • At least 2 years of suitable post-graduate work experience as a forester-in-training, or equivalent
  • Successful completion of the college's professional examination on Alberta forest policy and legislation

For detailed official information about registration requirements, contact the College of Alberta Professional Foresters (CAPF).

Working in Alberta

Foresters who are registered and in good standing with a regulatory organization elsewhere in Canada may be eligible for registration in Alberta if registered foresters in Alberta and the jurisdiction which the applicant originates have similar responsibilities and competencies. For more information, see What if I am already certified in another province or territory in Canada? and the College of Alberta Professional Foresters (CAPF) website.

To learn about certification for internationally educated foresters, see Forester Registration Process.

Contact Details

College of Alberta Professional Foresters
200, 10544-106 St. NW
Edmonton, Alberta  T5H 2X6

Call: 780-432-1177
Fax: 780-432-7046

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.

Foresters are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 2122: Forestry professionals. In Alberta, 96% 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:

  • Trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • 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 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.

Forestry professionals

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
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $30.59 $45.40 $39.13 $41.20
Overall $35.10 $54.29 $47.36 $50.22
Top $35.40 $57.76 $51.62 $53.32

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.

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.

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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