18 Pros and Cons of Being a Forester

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The job of a forester is to manage, or take care of, a forest.

A forester is a scientist with a college degree in forestry.

It is similar to the job of a park ranger, but there are significant differences.

While a park ranger is charged with taking care of an entire park, a forester is primarily concerned with the health of the trees in the forest he or she is managing. 

Pros of Being a Forester

1. The great outdoors

Foresters take care of forests, so they are out there in the forest a lot of the time.

There may be some physical hard work involved, but if you enjoy the outdoors you will enjoy that as well.

Foresters need to be out in the forest a lot to monitor the health of the forest and the trees. 

This is a great job for people who love being outside in nature.

2. Low-stress job

Managing a forest is an important job for a lot of reasons, but there is not a lot of stress involved.

The pace is rather relaxed and there is no supervisor watching what you are doing.

There will likely be no pressure to hurry or get things done faster.

You can supervise yourself and work at your own desired speed.

There are no deadlines to meet, and as long as the forest stays healthy, you are doing a good job.

3. Getting back to nature

For millions of years, humans lived in forests, so it’s a big part of our evolution.

There seems to be a natural desire to get back to nature, and people spend a lot of money just to get a week or so out in the woods each year.

As a forester, you will be there every day. 

 Being outdoors surrounded by forests is good for your mental health.  

4. Good work-life balance

There are not many deadlines and not much pressure, so there is never a need to work on weekends, holidays, or even overtime.

Work hours are set and it is very unusual to have to stay late. 

In addition to being a low-stress job, you will work set hours each day and will have time for other pursuits.

You can plan your life with certainty, and have time for hobbies and other interests.

5. Work independently

While you will have a boss, that boss may not even be where you work.

As a forester, your job is to manage the forest, and that may involve managing what other people do.

You will be able to call the shots and do what you want to do as long as you keep the forest healthy.

You will decide what needs to be done and when it will be done.

6. Helping save the environment

Keeping a forest in good shape, and realizing that this helps the environment, can give you a sense of accomplishment.

You may not become famous for it, but knowing you are doing something meaningful is great motivation to go to work each day. 

Foresters use their knowledge to preserve the forest and keep trees healthy.

Your work will not likely be recognized by others, but you will know you are doing something significant.

7. Good pay, job security

Foresters average $65,000 and often live in rural areas where costs are lower.

There are not a lot of qualified foresters, so the job prospects are good as well.

There are a lot of college graduates that do not make that much.

Since there are not enough foresters around, you have great job security.

There is little risk of losing your job, and you will make enough to live comfortably.

8. It is a healthy job

A forester is outside a lot, and probably walking a lot as well.

There may be some lifting involved.

You will get a good physical workout almost every day, so there’s no need to exercise after work.

Working as a forester will be good for your physical health.

Being out in the forest is also good for your mental and emotional health.

You will likely become strong and stay healthy just by doing your job.

9. Learning about the forest

You have to have a degree in forestry, so hopefully, you will come to the job with a lot of scientific knowledge to get started. 

Even so, there’s nothing like being out there observing how nature really works.

Your specialized education will lead to even more specialized knowledge and understanding of how the world works.

There are also specialized tools and new technology to discover, which makes the job more interesting.

Cons of Being a Forester

1. Working outside

Being outside most of the time is great when the weather is good, but you have to be out there working no matter what the weather is.

If you are in an area that gets cold or snowy, you will be out there working on it. 

You will have to be outside in the rain at times as well.

The work still has to get done.

This is one case where one of the great benefits is also one of the biggest drawbacks.

2. Rural life

Many people like rural life, and you will be rural if you work as a forester.

If you don’t like rural life, this job may not be for you.

If you live in a medium to a large city, you will have to move, which is a consideration when thinking about career choices.

Rural life is another area where a positive for some people will be negative for others.

3. There is some danger

When you are outside a lot, and working with various kinds of machinery, accidents are likely to happen.

A limb or tree could fall on you.

You could get cut with a knife or saw.

There are also snakes and other wild animals to contend with.   

There is a higher chance of getting injured out in the woods than there is in an office setting in a city.

4. You have to be in good physical shape

This is a physically demanding job.

You get a good workout every day.

If you get injured, you won’t be able to work.

If you develop a health issue that keeps you from being outdoors, you will not be able to work.

Physical conditioning is a positive, but if you are unable to perform the job, it will be a big negative.

5. The ladder is not tall

While the starting wages for a forester are decent, there is a limit to how much you can make.

You will not make a fortune in this job. 

You won’t be poor, but at some point, you will “top out” and reach the highest level of pay.

Most facilities have just one forester, so there is not much of a chance of moving up the ladder.

There is a pay scale with regular raises,  but it only goes so high.

6. Skills are not transferable

As a forester, you will have very specialized knowledge that few other people have.

The downside of that is, those skills will not likely be transferable to another kind of job.

Foresters find it difficult to change fields of work once they get started.

Once you get a job managing a forest, you will have to work there until you retire or get more education. 

7. It could get boring

If you love the outdoors, you will love this job, at least for a while.

There is not much pressure and you get to work at your own pace, but that can get boring.

There are not a lot of unexpected challenges to contend with as a forester.

The work is the same most of the time, so it could fall into a routine and get boring.

After a while, it may not be challenging enough for some people.

8. You have to be there

This is a very hands-on type of job.

You have to physically be in the forest to take care of the forest.

There’s no remote work possible.

You won’t be able to run home for a few minutes during the day, for instance.

But you will have your nights and weekends to do whatever you want.

There just is not much flexibility when it comes to working schedules. 

9. Lack of respect

Foresters are not held in high regards like other professionals, such as lawyers, teachers, or doctors.

Most people have no idea what you do and think you are just hanging out in the woods all day. 

Even though you have a college education, there is still a bit of stigma or classism concerning jobs that involve working with your hands.

If what others think matters to you, this may not be a good fit.

Pros and Cons of Being a Forester – Summary Table

Pros of Being a ForesterCons of Being a Forester
1. The great outdoors1. Working outside
2. Low-stress job2. Rural life
3. Getting back to nature3. There is some danger
4. Good work-life balance4. You have to be in good physical shape
5. Work independently5. The ladder is not tall
6. Helping save the environment6. Skills are not transferable
7. Good pay, job security7. It could get boring
8. It is a healthy job8. You have to be there
9. Learning about the forest9. Lack of respect

Should you become a forester?

This is a good job for someone who likes working outside and likes to work on their own.

If you want a more structured environment and do not relish being outdoors even in bad weather, this may not be the job for you.

It is a great job for certain personalities, but not so great for other personalities.

Outgoing social people may find it boring.

People comfortable being on their own will like it.

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Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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