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How to Become a Forest and Conservation Worker

Forest and conservation workers typically need a high school diploma before they begin working.  Most workers get on-the-job training.

Education and Training

Forest and conservation workers typically need a high school diploma before they begin working.  Entry-level forest and conservation workers generally get on-the-job training as they help more experienced workers. They do routine labor-intensive tasks, such as planting or thinning trees.

When the opportunity arises, they learn from experienced technicians and foresters who do more complex tasks, such as gathering data.

Training programs for forest and conservation workers also are common in many states. These programs, which typically take place in the field, encourage the health and productivity of the nation's forests through programs such as the Sustainable Forest Initiative.

Some vocational and technical schools and community colleges offer courses leading to a two-year technical degree in forest management technology, wildlife management, conservation, and forest harvesting. Programs that include field trips to watch and participate in forestry activities provide a particularly good background.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Forest and conservation workers must effectively convey information to technicians and other workers.

Decision-making skills. Forest and conservation workers must make quick, intelligent decisions when hazards arise.

Detail oriented. Forest and conservation workers must watch gauges, dials, or other indicators to determine whether equipment and tools are working properly.

Listening skills.  Forest and conservation workers must give full attention to what their superiors are saying. They must understand the instructions they are given before performing tasks.

Physical stamina. Forest and conservation workers must plant trees and perform a variety of repeated physical tasks. They must also be able to walk long distances through densely wooded areas.


To advance their careers and become forest and conservation technicians or foresters, forest and conservation workers usually need an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in forestry or a related field. For more information, see the profiles on forest and conservation technicians and conservation scientists and foresters.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition