Forest and conservation workers
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Overview
Forest and conservation workers measure and improve the quality of forests. Under the supervision of foresters and forest and conservation technicians, they develop, maintain, and protect forests.
Predicted employment growth
Over the next decade, jobs for forest and conservation workers are expected to shrink by 2%, and should have about 2,200 job openings a year.
Safety from automation
Forest and conservation workers are more likely to be automated than 71% of other careers.
Workforce size
Forest and conservation workers, with 14,300 workers, form a smaller workforce than 80% of careers.
Education
Only 22% of forest and conservation workers have a bachelor's degree or higher.
Education attained by forest and conservation workers
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Context: workers with bachelor's degrees
This is near the middle of all careeers' percentages of bachelor's holders.
Salaries
The median (middle) salary for 91% of all other jobs is higher than the middle salary for forest and conservation workers. The graph shows inflation-adjusted salaries for most forest and conservation workers.
This job's median $27KAll jobs' median $39K$29K$38K20142015201620172018$0$10K$20K$30K$40K$50K
Context: Median Salary
Gender
Women account for 16% of forest and conservation workers -- that's a smaller percentage than 69% of other jobs.
Gender of forest and conservation workers
Men
Women
Context: Salary inequity
For each career, we compared the median (middle) men's salary to the median women's salary. For forest and conservation workers, the median men's salary was 15% more the median woman's salary.
Race/Origin
About 12% of forest and conservation workers are minority, and 25% are foreign-born.
Race/origin of forest and conservation workers
White
Black
Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Asian
American Indian
Multiracial
Other
Context: Foreign-born workers (25%)
Where are the most jobs?
We ranked the number of jobs in Forest and Conservation Workers per thousand workers in each state, DC, and Puerto Rico. The darker the blue, the higher the job density.
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
Job benefits
Employer or union-sponsored pension plans are offered to 43% of forest and conservation workers, and 58% have company-sponsored health insurance (21% have dependents enrolled in their employer's health plan).
Employer-provided health coverage for forest and conservation workers
100% premiums covered
Partial premiums covered
Plan with no cost sharing
No health insurance
The downside
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of forest and conservation workers who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety (79%)
  • Time Pressure (47%)
  • Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings (46%)
  • Exposed to Contaminants (43%)
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations (37%)
  • Exposed to Hazardous Conditions (35%)
SOURCES:24.0 O*NET
Salary and diversity
Salary overview
What do forest and conservation workers earn?

In this section, we want to give you a clear idea of what you can expect to earn in this career. We use two sources of data here: the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which asks employers to classify their workforce and to report salaries using the SOC-specialty level of reporting, and the American Community Survey (ACS), which asks people to classify their jobs using the broad classifications that ididio uses for career profiles, and to self-report their salaries. For some jobs, the differences in survey approaches between BLS and ACS can paint a very different end-picture. Whenever possible, we provide data from both sources.

The BLS-compiled salary data is reported by companies for their employees. This data excludes self-employed workers. We first show the distribution of salaries for forest and conservation workers, and then we show how the middle (median) salary for forest and conservation workers compares to the BLS-computed median salaries of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for forest and conservation workers (BLS Salary Data)
$27K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (BLS Salary Data)
$27K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
We compiled household data from the ACS to determine the salaries that people working at least 35 hours a week report themselves to earn. Unlike the BLS estimates, this data includes self-employed wages. We first show the full salary distribution for all forest and conservation workers, and then we show how the median (middle) salary for forest and conservation workers compares to the median ACS-reported salary of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for forest and conservation workers (ACS Salary Data)
$32K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (ACS Salary Data)
$32K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Employers and salary
A look at employers and corresponding salaries
The donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, and following we show the salary distributions for these workers based on those employer types. For some careers, the salaries can be vastly different between private, government, and self-employment. As with our salary overview, we view the both the BLS economists' salary profiles and the household-reported salaries from ACS to get a thorough understanding of where forest and conservation workers work and for what salary. We have the great faith in the accuracy of economist-vetted BLS data; however, the BLS restrictions on which employers are surveyed skews the data a bit (read more in the sources), and the ACS responses provide different and useful categorizations of employers and salaries.
Employers of Forest and conservation workers (ACS)
Private for-profit (57.1%)
Private not-for-profit (5.5%)
Local government (10.4%)
State government (7.7%)
Federal government (15.4%)
Self-employed incorporated (1.2%)
Self-employed not incorporated (2.7%)
Working without pay (0.0%)
Distribution: Salaries of forest and conservation workers by type of employer (ACS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type calculated by aggregating individual household survey responses.
$32K$28K$41K$41K$35K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000Federal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivate for-profitAll
Distribution: Salaries of forest and conservation workers by type of employer (BLS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type as reported by BLS based on large employer-focused surveys. We note that smaller employer categories are not included by BLS.
$27K$33K$29K$23K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000State governmentLocal governmentPrivateAll
Age and career advancement
Salary growth for forest and conservation workers

The biggest take-away from the following two charts is the relationship between salary and experience that we can infer from age. Does this job seem to attract especially younger or older workers? Does it reward experience?

Take a minute a look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working in this career changes. We only provide this data when there are enough consistent ACS survey responses to allow a reasonable margin of error, so for some careers you will see gaps in our reporting of salary by age.

$41K$28K$31K$47K$44K$33K$28K$48K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100KSalary distribution20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64
05001K2K2K3KNumber employed20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Gender and Equity
Forest and conservation workers and gender

With 16% women, this occupation has a lower percentage of women than 69% of careers.

Context: Women in the workforce
16%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Gender of Forest and conservation workers
Men (84%)
Women (16%)
Distribution: Salaries by gender

As we'll illustrate at the bottom of this section, the median salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 20%. The situation is a little better for forest and conservation workers, with the median salary for men 15% higher than the median salary for women. This chart shows you the salary range for most workers by gender.

$28K$32K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KWomenMen
Context: Salary Inequity

Nationwide there are twenty careers for which men do not have a higher median (middle) salary than women. The chart below shows the salary inequity, the percentage by which the median men's salary is higher than the median women's salary, for most jobs. Forest and conservation workers have one of the middle percentage increases for men's salary, with the increase for the men's median salary over the women's median salary in this job higher than that for 43% of other jobs.

15%0%20%40%60%80%100%

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Race/Origin
Race and origin of forest and conservation workers

The representation of minority and foreign-born workers is quite different between careers, and the relative pay of those workers also varies significantly between careers. There is a smaller percentage of minority forest and conservation workers than for 86% of other careers. Although this career does not include a large percentage of minorities, it does hire more foreign-born people that most other careers.

Race/origin of forest and conservation workers
White (82% )
Other (7% )
Asian (3% )
Multiracial (3% )
American Indian (2% )
Black (2% )
Hispanic (1% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Context: Representation of minorities in the workforce
12%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Context: Representation of foreign-born workers
25%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Distribution: Salaries for forest and conservation workers by race/origin

For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.

$33K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KWhite
Distribution: Salaries for forest and conservation workers by nativity
$26K$34K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KAll foreign-bornAll native citizens

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Pathways to this career
Education requirements and salary
Education attained by forest and conservation workers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), forest and conservation workers typically hold a high school diploma or equivalent.

Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as forest and conservation workers as reported in responses to the American Community Survey. Following, we investigate whether education level influences salary for forest and conservation workers.

Education attained by forest and conservation workers
None
High School
Some College
Associate's Degree
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Deg/Doct
Doctorate
Details: Education and training recommended for forest and conservation workers

Forest and conservation workers typically need a high school diploma and a valid driver’s license before they begin working. Some vocational and technical schools and community colleges offer courses leading to a 2-year technical degree in forestry. The programs typically offer courses in forest management technology, wildlife management, conservation, or timber harvesting. Programs that include field trips to watch and participate in forestry activities provide particularly good background knowledge.

Distribution: Salary by education level

What level of education is truly needed for forest and conservation workers? Below we see the distribution of forest and conservation workers salaries based on the education attained. These comparisons are based on all survey responses by those who identified themselves as forest and conservation workers, and are not intended as a statistical analysis of salary differences that would correct for non-educational factors that could contribute to high or low earnings.

$27K$32K$41K$47K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KHigh School (25%)Some College (21%)Associate's Degree (9%)Bachelor's Degree (17%)
Switching Careers
Most common new jobs
The most common next careers for forest and conservation workers

What jobs will most forest and conservation workers hold next year?

The data in this chart comes from person interviews for the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The survey interviews households eight times over a two-year period, allowing us a glimpse into how people move from job to job. You can see more details from the results of the survey in our last tab in this section, and you can read about our methodology in our source descriptions.

Here we see all of the jobs that at least 1% of forest and conservation workers reported holding in their second year's survey. Is your future job on this list?

Grounds maintenance workersHand laborers and freight, stock, and material moversForest and conservation workersAgricultural workers (specialized areas)Agricultural ManagersPurchasing agentsSales workersConservation scientists and forestersRecreation and fitness workersHighway maintenance workersFirst-line supervisors of landscaping, lawn service, and groundskeepingworkersFirst-line supervisors of production and operating workersFirst-line supervisors of farming, fishing, and forestry workersLaundry and dry-cleaning workersConstruction equipment operatorsBiological techniciansIndustrial truck and tractor operatorsMachinery maintenance workersBus driversMedical records and health information techniciansReal estate managers
Lateral career moves
Lateral job transitions for forest and conservation workers

A lateral career transition is a move to a job with similar pay and responsibilities. A move to such a job can offer a change of pace without an increase in stress or a decrease in pay. The following table simply identifies all 4 jobs which were held by at least 1% of survey respondents before working as forest and conservation workers as well as 1% of respondents after working as forest and conservation workers. Select a row to investigate the job's full description and determine if it truly offers an opportunity for a lateral transition.

Lateral-move careers for forest and conservation workers
Annual openings
How many openings are expected each year?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Men
Women
Grounds maintenance workers
191,100
$0$200K$23K
Agricultural Managers
95,600
$0$200K$39K
Biological technicians
8,900
$0$200K$47K
Conservation scientists and foresters
3,200
$0$200K$56K
Full prior and next career listings
Prior and next careers for forest and conservation workers: full listings

What do people typically do before and after they work as forest and conservation workers? Here are the full lists of all jobs that at least 1% of forest and conservation workers surveyed reported as holding a year earlier or later.

Choose which type of transition to view
Prior jobs
Next jobs
Prior careers for forest and conservation workers
Annual openings
How many openings are expected each year?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Men
Women
Percentage Transitioning
What percentage worked in this job the previous year?
Grounds maintenance workers
191,100
$0$200K$23K
9.3%
Construction laborers
153,300
$0$200K$30K
1.2%
Agricultural Managers
95,600
$0$200K$39K
3.7%
Managers (specialized areas)
84,000
$0$200K$72K
7.2%
Protective service workers
74,900
$0$200K$19K
5.0%
Shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks
67,300
$0$200K$31K
2.9%
Office and administrative support workers
30,900
$0$200K$40K
1.6%
Science technicians
24,800
$0$200K$41K
4.5%
Environmental scientists and geoscientists
13,900
$0$200K$70K
1.2%
Pest control workers
11,900
$0$200K$36K
6.1%
Biological scientists
11,200
$0$200K$60K
1.3%
Biological technicians
8,900
$0$200K$47K
1.8%
Paper goods machine setters and operators
8,300
$0$200K$39K
4.6%
Surveying and mapping technicians
7,300
$0$200K$47K
3.7%
Crane and tower operators
5,400
$0$200K$53K
1.2%
Agricultural and food scientists
4,800
$0$200K$61K
5.1%
Conservation scientists and foresters
3,200
$0$200K$56K
15.0%
Agricultural and food science technicians
3,000
$0$200K$44K
2.7%
Forest and conservation workers
2,200
$0$200K$32K
16.0%
No occupation
2.7%
Read about forest and conservation workers
Responsibilities and activities
Responsibilities and activities

Forest and conservation workers typically do the following:

  • Plant seedlings to reforest land
  • Clear away brush and debris from trails, roadsides, and camping areas
  • Count and measure trees during tree-measuring efforts
  • Select or cut trees according to markings, sizes, types, or grades
  • Spray trees with insecticides and fungicides to kill insects and fungi and to protect the trees from disease
  • Identify and remove diseased or undesirable trees
  • Inject vegetation with insecticides and herbicides
  • Help prevent and suppress forest fires
  • Check equipment to ensure that it is operating properly

Forest and conservation workers are supervised by foresters and forest and conservation technicians, who direct their work and evaluate their progress.

Forest and conservation workers perform basic tasks to maintain and improve the quality of the forest. They use digging and planting tools to plant seedlings and power saws to cut down diseased trees.

Some work on tree farms or orchards, where they plant, cultivate, and harvest many different kinds of trees. Their duties vary with the type of farm and may include planting seedlings or spraying to control weed growth and insects.

Some forest and conservation workers work in forest nurseries, where they sort through tree seedlings, discarding the ones that do not meet standards. Others use handtools or their hands to gather woodland products, such as decorative greenery, tree cones, bark, moss, and other wild plantlife. Some may tap trees to make syrup or chemicals.

Forest and conservation workers who are employed by or are under contract with state and local governments may clear brush and debris from trails, roads, roadsides, and camping areas. They may clean kitchens and restrooms at recreational facilities and campgrounds.

Workers with a fire protection background help to suppress forest fires. For example, they may construct firebreaks, which are gaps in vegetation that can help slow down or stop the progress of a fire. In addition, they may work with technicians to determine how quickly fires spread and how successful fire suppression activities were. For example, workers help count how many trees will be affected by a fire. They also sometimes respond to forest emergencies.

Personality and skills
Personality and skills

Can you see yourself in the ranks of forest and conservation workers? Here are the skills and traits that could lead to success.

Communication skills
Forest and conservation workers must convey information effectively to technicians and other workers.
Decisionmaking skills
Forest and conservation workers must make quick, intelligent decisions, especially when they face dangerous conditions.
Detail oriented
Forest and conservation workers must watch gauges, dials, or other indicators to determine whether equipment and tools are working properly. Workers must follow safety procedures with precision.
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 plant trees and repeatedly perform a variety of physical tasks. They also must be able to walk long distances through densely wooded areas and carry heavy equipment with them.
Trends in employment
Salary trends
Distribution and trends: Salaries for forest and conservation workers
Choose actual dollars or inflation-adjusted dollars to view
Adjusted for inflation
Historic dollars

In 2018, the median (middle) for 91% of all other jobs were higher than the median (middle) salary for forest and conservation workers. This graphic shows how the salary distribution (adjusted for inflation) has changed for this job over recent years. The gray line, as a comparison, shows the median salary of all US workers.

This job's median $27KAll jobs' median $39K$26K$38K200420052006200720082009201020112012201320142015201620172018$0$10K$20K$30K$40K$50K
Projected versus actual employment
Exploring actual employment trends versus projected trends

Currently, jobs for forest and conservation workers are anticipated to shrink by 2%. over the next decade; 83% of jobs are projected to grow more.

The projected employment for forest and conservation workers is the best guess created by talented economists and statisticians at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, as you look through several careers you'll notice that the projections are heavily influenced by past performance and may miss current trends. No one can tell the future, and as new information and better techniques are developed, actual counts and future projections may change. Here's a glimpse at the actual counts versus the projections over time.

200020102020203005,00010,00015,00020,00025,000
Employment counts
Actual measured employment
BLS 10-year predictions
Variation by state
Employment
State-by-state employment numbers

Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.

Job density versus job count

Which states hire the most forest and conservation workers? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as forest and conservation workers. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.

BLS vs ACS data

This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.

Choose the metric to review
Jobs per 1000 working
Number of jobs
Use this data source
BLS
Number of Forest and Conservation Workers per 1,000 workers (BLS)
Select a state to see local area details
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
0.00.51.01.5
Salary
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where forest and conservation workers earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio

We use two methods to compare salaries across states:

  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for forest and conservation workers compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for forest and conservation workers.

We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.

BLS vs ACS data

We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information.

Choose the metric to review
In-state comparisions
Median salary
Use this data source
BLS
Median salary ratio: Forest and Conservation Workers to all workers (BLS)
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which forest and conservation workers earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this ratio might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
0.00.51.01.5
Compare to similar jobs

If this job interests you, then use the dots below to find other jobs you might like. The dots closer to the top represent jobs that are like Forest and conservation workers (shown with a blue star). Look for the dots to the right to find the best salaries! (We pulled salary data from BLS, and they give a top salary value of just over $200K to protect privacy, so our graph would go much higher if the salaries were not top coded.)

How should the career similarity be computed

There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide:

  • Interests: Also known as a Holland Code - Are you a thinker? A helper? What fits your personality?
  • Environment: Are there hazards? Will you be comfortable? Will it be stressful?
  • Knowledge: What do you need to know the most about?
  • Physical Abilities: Do you need to especially strong or coordinated?
Choose the similarity measure to compare careers
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Knowledge
Physical Abilities
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