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Forest And Conservation Technician Career

Career Description

Forest and Conservation Technicians compile data pertaining to size, content, condition, and other characteristics of forest tracts, under direction of foresters; train and lead forest workers in forest propagation, fire prevention and suppression. May assist conservation scientists in managing, improving, and protecting rangelands and wildlife habitats, and help provide technical assistance regarding the conservation of soil, water, and related natural resources.

Common Work Tasks

  • Compile data on the size, content, and condition of forest land
  • Work in a forest under the supervision of a forester, doing specific tasks such as measuring timber, supervising harvesting operations, assisting in road building operations, and locating property lines and features
  • Gather basic information, such as data on populations of trees, disease and insect damage, tree seedling mortality, and conditions that may pose a fire hazard
  • Train and lead forest and conservation workers in seasonal activities, such as planting tree seedlings, and maintaining recreational facilities
  • Work in urban forestry—the study of individual trees in cities—and other nontraditional specialties, rather than in forests or rural areas
  • Monitor activities of logging companies and contractors
  • Select and mark trees for thinning or logging,  drawing detailed plans that include access roads
  • Thin and space trees and control weeds and undergrowth, using manual tools and chemicals, or supervise workers performing these tasks

Other Job Titles

Forest and Conservation Technicians are also known by other titles, including:

  • Science Technicians
  • Biological Technicians
  • Environmental Scientists
  • Health Scientists

Education,  Training, and Experience

Education and Training
 
There are several ways to qualify for a job as a science technician.  Many employers prefer applicants who have at least 2 years of specialized training or an associate degree in applied science or science-related technology. Because employers’ preferences vary, however, some science technicians have a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, biology, or forensic science or have completed several science and math courses at a 4-year college.

Experience
     
Good communications skills are important for prospective forest and conservation technicians in industry, who often need to explain technical matters to persons without statistical expertise. An understanding of business and the economy also is valuable for those who plan to work in private industry.

Salary

The median annual salary of a Forest and Conservation Technician is $33,000. The top 10 percent earn more than $51,000, and the lowest 10 percent earn less than $23,000.  Median earnings in the industries employing the largest number of forest and conservation technicians are:

  • Federal Executive Branch  - $35,750
  • State Government - $36,020
  • Local Government - $33,950
  • Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools  - $36,390
  • Scientific Research and Development Services  - $36,160

Job Outlook

  • 2006-2016 Employment growth:  -2%
  • Number of new jobs created 2006-2016: -700
  • Employment 2006 : 34,000
  • Employment 2016:  33,000
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