How to Become a Logger

Logging is a complex process that involves cutting down and harvesting trees for a variety of purposes. Loggers are trained forestry workers that perform a variety of logging tasks.


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What does a logger do?

Loggers cut down and harvest trees to produce timber for many different purposes such as the manufacturing of a variety of industrial and consumer products. They fell trees in certain directions, remove branches and leaves, and measure and cut trees into logs. They then load the logs into vehicles to transport to a variety of locations such as sawmills. They use a variety of equipment such as axes, chainsaws, wedges, winches, and heavy machinery. Some loggers assess the logging conditions before performing their activities and others clear areas of brush to prepare for logging tasks. Loggers also maintain and repair logging equipment. Most loggers work for large lumber companies or individuals that are self-employed and run their own logging business.

What kind of training does a logger need?

Loggers typically need at least a high school diploma, but many employers prefer candidates with previous experience in the logging field. Many states offer training programs for loggers. Prospective loggers typically complete courses in environmental compliance, business management, safety, wetlands, reforestation, and endangered species. Some programs grant professional logger certification. Loggers typically learn their skills through on the job training. They learn the characteristics and hazards related to the forest environment and how to operate a variety of logging machines and equipment. Employers also provide intensive safety training. New loggers usually follow experienced workers and then move on to independent tasks after they gain the necessary skills and experience. Loggers complete additional training as needed throughout their careers.

What are the prospects for a career as a logger?

Employment of loggers is expected to grow more slowly than average for all professions, increasing 6% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The consolidation of the logging industry and increased foreign competition will contribute to the slow job growth.

Job prospects should be good because most job openings will arise from the need to replace loggers that retire, transfer, or leave the occupation for other reasons.

How much do loggers make?

As of February 2010, the middle 50% of loggers earn annual salaries between $30,862 and $37,243. The top 10% earn annual salaries of more than $41,452 (2).

A career as a logger is a great choice for people with a strong interest in logging and performing a variety of tasks. Loggers must have a solid understanding of the concepts, rules, and procedures of cutting down and harvesting trees. Physical stamina, patience, determination, eye-hand coordination, and good judgment are necessary characteristics. Loggers must have good communication and the ability to work as part of a team. They must enjoy working outdoors on a daily basis in many types of weather conditions. They must also be quick on their feet and make effective decisions in hazardous situations.

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