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Forestry Consultant: Job Description, Duties and Salary

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a forestry consultant. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and licensing to find out if this is the career for you.

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Forest management, land surveys and advice on pest control issues are just a few of the services a forest consultant may offer to their clients. A relevant undergraduate degree can be useful in finding clients, but is not necessary.

Essential Information

Forestry consultants advise their clients on how to get the most benefit from their land. They need expertise in many areas of timber and forest management, including pest control and environmental impact, even tax issues. There are no standard requirements for education to enter this field, but most forestry consultants have, at minimum, bachelor's degrees in forestry or another relevant subject. Professional certifications are available, and some states require licenses for individuals working as foresters.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in forestry or related field recommended
Other Requirements Some states require licensing or certification for foresters
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 1% for foresters
Median Annual Salary (2018)* $61,410 for foresters

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Job Description

Forestry consultants are conservation scientists who work independently, or as employees of small consulting companies, to advise clients on the use of natural tree and land resources. With their expertise, they can increase the financial output of logging operations, consult on a wide range of land-use issues and serve their clients' best interests. Their clients are landowners, whether individual, corporate or public, who seek to accomplish specific goals regarding their land.

Job Duties

Forestry consultants are available for a wide range of services relating to timber and forest management. They may consult on problems including land use, pest control and tax issues, and they may produce environmental impact statements, boundary surveys, damage estimates and expert testimony for litigation. Another responsibility of forestry consultants might include solving problems to allow for the best use of natural resources, requiring that they perform many of the same duties as officials from government departments of natural resources.

Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), forest and conservation workers earned $27,460 as a median annual salary in 2018. The BLS also reported in 2018 that forest and conservation technicians earned a median yearly wage of $37,180. Finally, the BLS mentioned in 2018 that foresters made an annual median wage of $61,410.

Education Requirements

Forestry consultants do not have set educational requirements. However, most people in the field have completed at least a bachelor's degree program, and some hold master's or doctoral degrees. According to the BLS, the Society of American Foresters (SAF) accredits the majority of forestry programs. The SAF also offers certification programs that attempt to provide an industry standard in response to a lack of state or federal guidelines. The organization also provides opportunities for continuing education as part of its recertification process (safnet.org). Additionally, 16 states currently provide a registration or licensure process for foresters. Requirements could include a combination of undergraduate education and experience, as well as passing a formal exam.

There are programs available for forestry consultants to get an edge over their competition and gain more experience in their field. Undergraduate degrees are available as well as graduate degrees in either forestry management or related topics. Forestry consultants should have an understanding of sustainable forest use, issues affecting forest growth and maintenance, as well as land use regulations.

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