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How to Become a Logging Worker

Most logging workers have a high school diploma. They get on-the-job training to become familiar with forest environments and to learn how to operate logging machinery.


Many states have training programs for loggers. Although specific coursework may vary by state, most programs usually include technical instruction or field training in a number of areas, including best management practices, environmental compliance, and reforestation.

Safety training is a vital part of logging workers’ instruction. Many state forestry or logging associations provide training sessions for tree fallers, whose jobs require more skill and experience than other logging positions. Sessions may take place in the field, where trainees have the opportunity to practice various felling techniques.

Logging companies and trade associations also offer training programs for workers who operate large, expensive machinery and equipment. Often, a representative of the equipment manufacturer spends several days in the field, teaching loggers how to operate newly purchased machinery.

Important Qualities

Decision-making skills. Logging workers must make quick, intelligent decisions when hazards arise.

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

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

Physical stamina. Logging workers need to be able to perform laborious tasks repeatedly.

Physical strength. Logging workers must be able to handle heavy equipment.


A high school diploma is enough for most logging workers. Some vocational and technical schools and community colleges offer courses leading to a two-year technical degree in forest harvesting. This degree may help workers get a job. Courses may include field trips to observe or participate in logging activities.

A few community colleges offer training for equipment operators.

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