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Forest officer Forester, forest manager, woodland manager, assistant head forester

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Forest officers manage forestry workers, plan harvesting activities and monitor planted areas.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £19,000 to £35,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: Variable per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll need experience in forestry and a higher level qualification in a relevant subject, like: 

  • arboriculture
  • countryside management
  • forest management
  • forestry
  • woodland ecology and conservation

You may also need the relevant certificates of competence for your work area, like chainsaw use, chipper use or operation of specialist equipment like a forwarder or harvester.

You could train for this job through a trees and timber apprenticeship.

You may need a driving licence.

The Forestry Commission has more information on becoming a forest officer.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • practical skills
  • the ability to supervise others, and work as part of a team
  • the ability and confidence to manage long-term projects
  • maths skills
  • IT skills
If you work in private woodland or for the Forestry Commission, you’ll need land management skills.

3. What you'll do

You’ll be responsible for individual woodlands.

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • managing a budget
  • carrying out a business plan
  • reporting to the head forester
  • planning work to be carried out by staff and contractors
  • managing maintenance of machinery and equipment
  • keeping accurate work records
  • making sure health and safety policies are followed
  • surveying and inspecting trees and sites
  • selecting and marking up timber to be harvested
  • planning, monitoring and evaluating habitat management work

4. Salary

Starter: £19,000

Experienced: £24,000 to £28,000

Highly Experienced: £30,000 to £35,000

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work a standard week, Monday to Friday, but you may have to work some weekends and Bank Holidays.

You’ll spend some time in an office but you’ll mainly be working outdoors in all weathers.

The work can be physically demanding.

You’ll use power tools and operate heavy machinery. 

You’ll sometimes need to wear protective clothing.

You may spend occasional periods working away from home.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could move into consultancy work or a university research role.

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Last updated: 13 September 2018