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Wood Science Careers: Job Options and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed have a career in wood science. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and prospects to find out if this is the career for you.

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A bachelor's degree in the wood science field is required to begin a career as a procurement forester, renewable materials marketing agent, or lumber production manager. These professionals may be involved in controlling the volume of trees harvested for manufacturing, overseeing the process of turning wood into products, or promoting wood products made out of recyclable materials.

Essential Information

Working within the wood science industry can include positions such as procurement forester, lumber production manager, or a renewable materials marketing agent.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in wood science field
Other Requirements Licensing exams required in some states
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 8% for foresters
Median Salary (2015)* $58,230 for foresters

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Wood Science Career Options

Procurement Forester

To help conserve trees, procurement foresters control the amount of timber cut down for manufacturing purposes. They indicate which trees may be cut down for lumber and then determine the most efficient ways to obtain and transport the wood. Procurement foresters typically negotiate sales with woodcutters and other manufacturers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), foresters are projected to see an eight percent increase in employment from 2014-2024. The median annual wages for these workers were $58,230 in May 2015.

Lumber Production Manager

Lumber production mangers work at industrial manufacturing plants where wood is turned into various products. They oversee the production process to ensure quality control and safety. Prior to production, managers coordinate with other management staff to make sure that production teams have the needed materials to meet quotas. Lumber production managers also verify the quality of the raw wood materials. During production, managers often select finished products at random to check that they meet company standards. Industrial production managers were projected to see a 4% decline in job opportunities and earned a median wage of $93,940, stated the BLS.

Renewable Materials Marketing Agent

With a more environmentally aware society, many marketing agencies have focused on promoting products made out of renewable materials. Some renewable wood products include recycled cardboard, paper and reclaimed lumber. Marketing agents may start off by conducting research on renewable products. Next, they create advertising campaigns that highlight the use of renewable materials. Marketing agents often design advertisements that target select consumer groups, such as those interested in sustainable products, which could include construction companies, manufacturers and other environmentally concerned consumers. Marketing managers were projected to see a 9% increase in job opportunities from 2014-2024, stated the BLS. The median wages in May 2015 were $128,750.

Requirements for Wood Science Careers

Education

Information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showed that procurement foresters, lumber production managers and renewable materials marketing agents usually require the minimum of bachelor's degrees to start their careers. Degrees related to wood science and technology could provide these professionals with a strong foundation concerning this renewable resource. However, not all wood science degree programs provide business management or marketing training, so individuals interested in those fields may need to take additional courses or look for programs that do include these classes.

Wood science degree programs may cover topics such as wood anatomy, forest products, timber procurement, forest harvesting, renewable materials and environmental impact. In programs where business and marketing topics are covered, courses may include natural resources global trade, renewable materials marketing, natural resources management and renewable materials manufacturing. Most wood science degree programs require students to complete internships, which could include working with foresters, conservation scientists or manufacturers.

Licensing

The BLS pointed out that some states have licensing requirements or voluntary registries for foresters. Licensing and registration requirements vary by state, but often include work experience in the forestry industry and academic training. Some states may require applicants to pass licensing exams.

With a degree in wood science it is possible to begin a career as a procurement forester, lumber production manager or renewable materials marketing agent. Professionals in these fields may also need to be licensed by their state.

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