Forest officer

forester forest manager woodland manager assistant head forester

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would look after an area of forest to produce timber and conserve the woodland environment.

You’d plan the planting and harvesting activities in the forest. You’d lead a team of forestry workers and supervise their work.

It will be your responsibility to make sure that the trees in the forest are healthy and free from disease so the timber can be harvested.

Your work would help to conserve the woodland environment so that other plants and wildlife can flourish. You’d also manage the facilities, like paths and signposts to help visitors enjoy the environment.

You would:

  • Survey and inspect trees and sites
  • Select and mark up timber to be harvested
  • Plan, monitor and evaluate habitat management
  • Manage the maintenance of machinery and equipment
  • Maintain records of work
  • Ensure that heath and safety policies are followed

You’d follow the business plan for your area of woodland and manage the budget so you’d need project management skills.

Depending where you work you may manage an individual site and report to a head forester who oversees work in several woodlands.

You might also require land management skills.

Working conditions

Hours

You would typically work a standard full-time week. However, the hours may vary and weekend or Bank Holiday work can be required.

Travel

Depending on the area covered, there may be a significant amount of travelling between different sites. A driving licence may be required. Occasional periods may be spent working away from home.

Environment

You will be partly office-based but will also spend a lot of your time outdoors.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Delegating
  • Taking responsibility
  • Taking initiative
  • Implementing ideas
  • Developing a plan
  • Attention to detail
  • Verbal communication
  • Written communication
  • Cooperating

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

Entry into this work requires a Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8) in:

  • Forestry
  • Arboriculture
  • Countryside management
  • Forest management
  • Environmental conservation management

To enter a Higher National Certificate courses require one to two Highers (SCQF level 6), and work experience is required for some courses.

Qualifications are also available at degree level and require a relevant HND or Nationals plus four to five Highers.

Useful subjects

  • English 
  • Maths
  • A science subject

Helpful to have

Qualifications that show an interest and understanding of the natural environment such as Skills for Work Rural Skills (SCQF 4) or the John Muir Award.