- Manage woodlands and forests, planning tree-felling, planting and general maintenance
- You'll need strong leadership and planning skills, as well as specialist knowledge
- Combine work outdoors with some time in the office
As a forest officer, you'll be responsible for individual woodlands.
- Manage a budget
- Carry out a business plan
- Report to the head forester
- Plan work to be carried out by staff and contractors
- Manage maintenance of machinery and equipment
- Keep accurate work records
- Make sure health and safety policies are followed
- Survey and inspect trees and sites
- Select and mark up timber to be harvested
- Plan, monitor and evaluate habitat management work
You'll spend some time in an office but you'll mainly be working outdoors in all weathers. The work can be physically demanding and you'll need to be able to cope with working at height.
To be a forest officer, you'll need initiative, thoroughness and attention to detail, excellent verbal communication skills, patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations, leadership skills, knowledge of maths and geography, and basic computer skills.
If you work in private woodland or for the Forestry Commission, you'll need land management skills.
You'll usually need a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in a relevant subject, such as arboriculture, countryside management, forest management, forestry, or woodland ecology and conservation.
Most employers will expect you to have 2 to 3 years' woodland experience to become a forestry officer.
You can get this job through an arborist or forest operative intermediate apprenticeship.
You could also do a college course, such as a course in Forestry and Arboriculture.
You may need a driving license and access to a vehicle to read forest and woodland areas.
You may also need the certificates of competence for your work like chainsaw use, chipper use, or operation of specialist equipment like a tree harvester.
With experience, you could move into consultancy work or a university research role.