If you've ever wondered how in the world you will
survive sitting at a desk under florescent lights five days a week,
perhaps you need a change of scenery and a new career. With the growing
emphasis on environmental concerns, outdoor activities, and natural
resource conservation, success can be found in just about every setting
and situation. You can broaden your career horizons by considering the
wild frontier. There are a lot of great jobs to be found in the great
In fact, careers in nature and the environment are as vast and
varied as the earth itself. For more job descriptions and career
information in this field, explore your local library for books on other
outdoor careers. You will discover that the opportunities are endless.
Whether it's on land, sea or in the sky, there's a job for you that
doesn't necessarily require an air-conditioned building or the
traditional 9-to-5 grind.
FORESTER AND CONSERVATION SCIENTIST
Forests and rangelands supply us with wood products, land and
grass for livestock use, minerals, energy resources and water. They also
provide environments to use for recreation as well as habitats for
wildlife. The care of these natural resources is of paramount importance
to society and all living things.
Foresters and Conservation Scientists
• Manage, develop, use, and help protect the timberlands and other natural resources.
the difficult job of balancing the conservation of forested ecosystems
for future use with the present need to use and enjoy it as a natural
• Often specialize in one area, such as forest resource management, urban forestry, wood technology, or forest economics.
State and Federal Government Foresters
• Manage public parks and forests and also work with private landowners to protect and manage forest land.
• May also design campgrounds and recreation areas.
• Estimate future growth and widespread trends in forest and land use.
Range Managers, Range Conservationists, Range Ecologists
• Manage, improve, and protect one billion acres of U.S. rangelands to maximize their use without damaging the environment.
• Help ranchers organize grazing systems and livestock production.
• Maintain soil stability and vegetation for other uses, such as wildlife habitats and outdoor recreation.
technical assistance to farmers, ranchers, and others concerned with
the conservation of soil, water, and related natural resources.
• Develop programs designed to get the most productive use of land without damaging it.
areas with erosion problems, find the source of the problem, and help
landowners and managers develop management practices to combat it.
Private Industry Foresters And Forestry Consultants
• May manage and procure timber from private landowners.
• Take inventory on the type, amount, and location of all timber on the property.
• Appraise the timber's worth, negotiate the purchase of timber, and draw up a contract for procurement.
with loggers or pulpwood cutters for tree removal, and maintain close
contact with all parties to ensure that the work is performed to the
landowner's, as well as federal, state, and local environmental
how best to preserve wildlife habitats, creekbeds, water quality, and
soil stability, and how best to comply with environmental regulations.
• Supervise regeneration (the planting and growing of new trees).
• Mainly work in the field, although some do work in labs or offices.
• Can be physically demanding; outdoors in all kinds of weather.
• Sometimes work in isolated areas and densely wooded land.
can be found with the federal government, state and local governments,
private industry ( forestry, logging, sawmills) and as private or
• About one third of all salaried workers work for the federal government.
is heavily concentrated in the forests and rangelands of the western
and southeastern states, although there is work in every state.
• Slow job growth forecast due to federal government budget constraints.
will eventually grow with an expected wave of retirements and the need
to manage increasingly complex environmental regulations.
salary as a forester in private industry or the federal government with
a bachelor's degree $18,340 to $22,717 a year, depending on job and
• A master's degree holder could start at $22,717 or $27,789.
• Doctorates could start at $33,623 or, in research positions, at $40,298.
1993, the average federal salary for forester positions was $42,440;
for soil conservationists-$39,448; and for forest products
• Starting salaries in state and local governments were generally lower than private industry or the federal government.
state and local governments, and large private firms generally provide
foresters and conservation scientists with more generous benefits, such
as pension and retirement plans, health and life insurance, and paid
vacations than do smaller firms.
• Bachelor's degree in forestry necessary to be a professional forester.
• Thirteen states have mandatory licensing or registration requirements.
• Specialized research or teaching requires an advanced degree.
colleges and universities offer degrees in forestry with curriculums
stressing science, math, computer science and technical forestry as well
as forest economics and business administration.
• Thirty-one colleges and universities offer degrees in range management.
• Soil conservationists may have degrees in agronomy, general agriculture, crop or soil science, or other related fields.
• Recent graduates train and get experience while under supervision.
Society of American Foresters
5400 Grosvenor Ln., Bethesda, MD 20814
Information about a career as a range manager as well as a list of schools offering training is available from:
Society for Range Management
1839 York St., Denver, CO 80206
Information about a career as a soil conservationist is available from:
Soil and Water Conservation Society
7515 Northeast Ankeny Rd., RR#1, Ankeny, IA 50021-9764
For information about career opportunities in the federal government, contact:
Bureau of Land Management
U.S. Department of the Interior, Room 3619
1849 C St. N.W., Washington, DC 20240
Chief, U.S. Forest Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture, P.O. Box 96090
Washington, DC 20090-6090
Natural Resources Conservation Service (formerly the Soil Conservation Service)
U.S. Department of Agriculture
14th St. and Independence Ave. S.W., Washington, DC 20013
Other Internet Resources:
Environmental Protection Agency
Journal of Soil and Water Conservation
NationalSoil Erosion Research Laboratory
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
WWW Virtual Library: Forestry