Skip to the main content
This website uses cookies to give you a better online experience. By using this website or closing this message, you are agreeing to our cookie policy. More information
Alberta Supports Contact Centre

Toll Free 1-877-644-9992


The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted legislation and services. Information on this website may not reflect the current situation in Alberta. Please visit for up-to-date information about these impacts.

Timber Scaler

Timber scalers measure logs or trees to determine volume and quality of wood to be used for manufacturing.

  • Avg. Salary $80,053.00
  • Avg. Wage $39.63
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook below avg
  • Employed < 1500
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Log Scaler

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) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
Interest Codes
The Timber Scaler is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Forestry Technologists and Technicians

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


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


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

Updated Mar 05, 2021

Timber scalers measure the volume of sample truckloads of timber, decked trees or single trees to provide reliable estimates of harvested wood. Volume measurements are done to report to the government on what was delivered to a mill and to determine how much the company owes to loggers (for cutting the timber) and to the provincial government (for timber dues). Most mills have a timber quality program in place to grade the loggers on the utilization of the timber logged.

Duties and responsibilities vary somewhat from one job to another. For example, some companies expect scalers to buck (cut) tree length logs into usable lengths before scaling them. Other companies, the wood is delivered as cut to length by the loggers. In general, however, scalers:

  • Measure log lengths and diameters using scale sticks and logger tapes
  • Use handheld computers or tally sheets to record measurements in the field and later upload or enter data into computer programs
  • Estimate the loss of volume caused by defects and tree shape
  • Identify cull logs containing excessive amounts of unsound wood
  • Calculate the difference between gross volume and unusable volume to obtain usable volume
  • Keep records of the amount, condition and species of each load of logs scaled

Industry timber scalers are subject to periodic checks by the provincial government to ensure measurements are accurate.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 05, 2021

Timber scalers work outdoors generally for an 8-hour day, with some overtime required when there is sufficient daylight. Depending on the mill, scalers can be busy most of the year except for spring break up. However, busy season for some mills is only during fall and winter months.

Most scaling is done in mill yards. However, some bush scaling is required to determine volumes in logging cut blocks.

This work requires standing and bending for long periods of time. Safety precautions and safety equipment are required to reduce the risk of injury when working around large equipment, possibly operating a chainsaw and working on decks of logs, particularly when they are slippery.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 05, 2021

Timber scalers need:

  • Physical stamina
  • The ability to work in cold conditions
  • Numerical and computer skills to calculate volumes and keep accurate records

They should enjoy taking responsibility for projects that require planning and decision making, having clear rules and organized methods for their work and performing precision tasks.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 05, 2021

There are no standard minimum educational requirements for timber scalers. However, they must be able to recognize different tree species and may be required to have a minimum Grade 10 education in order to attend training courses. Those who are self-employed need business management skills.

Employers generally prefer to hire people who have experience in the logging industry or related post-secondary education in forestry.

Scalers must be certified by the provincial government. The Hinton Training Centre offers 5-day provincial certification courses for timber scalers at the centre, and through Portage College in Lac La Biche. The college may also offer 10-day courses, which will cover the same course content but allow more time for hands-on experience. Graduates who pass an exam are certified as Alberta permitted scalers.

For information about longer forestry certificate and diploma programs that include instruction for Alberta scaler certification, see the Forest Technician and Forest Technologist profiles.

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

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 05, 2021

Timber Scaler

Timber scalers measure logs or trees to determine the total volume and inspect logs for defects to estimate their usable content. Scalers may measure individual logs or decks of tree length timber.


Under Alberta's Forests Act and Scaling Regulation, scalers who provide harvest information to Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development must follow procedures set out in the Regulation and hold a valid scaler's permit. There are two types of scaler's permit: scaler (full) and scaler (modified tree length).

What You Need

Certification for a modified tree length permit requires successful completion of a one day course and exam.

Certification for a full permit requires successful completion of a 30 hour course and an exam.

Scalers must be recertified every five years. For official, detailed information about certification requirements, contact Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development or visit their website.

Working in Alberta

Timber scalers who are certified by and in good standing with a regulatory body elsewhere in Canada may be eligible for certification in Alberta if certified timber scalers in the two 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 authority (below).

Contact Details

Forest Management Branch
Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development
7th Floor, 9920 - 108 Street
Edmonton, Alberta 
Canada  T5K 2M4
Phone number: 780-422-5239
Toll-free phone number (within Alberta): 310-0000
Fax number: 780-427-0075

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 05, 2021

Timber scalers are employed by wood processing facilities such as sawmills and woodland contractors.

Experienced scalers can move into other positions in mills, advance to supervisory positions or become self-employed contractors. Post-secondary education in forestry may improve advancement opportunities.

Timber scalers 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 (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • 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.

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

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 05, 2021

Timber scalers working on a contract basis may be paid by volume (m3 or tonne) or a set rate per load. Load rates range from $250 to $350 per load, but contractors paid per load must pay their own costs.

Forestry technologists and technicians

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 $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.

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.

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 05, 2021

Government of Alberta Agriculture and Training website, Hinton Training Centre:

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry website:

Work Wild website:

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

Updated Mar 05, 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.

Was this page useful?