Forestry and natural resources is an exciting, broad field in the ecological, social and policy aspects of resource management that can provide a variety of career opportunities in and around nature.

If you are tormented at the thought of a 9 to 5 office job, and you’d rather be working in the woods experiencing nature and wildlife, we’ve got good news.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the forest products industry estimates needing replacements for 45-50 percent of its workforce in the next 4-5 years.

Furthermore, the U.S. Forest Service estimates needing replacements for up to 60 percent of its workforce in the next 4-5 years, leaving huge opportunity for those who want to work in and around our forests.

As we experience natural disasters such as wildfire and drought on an unprecedented scale, our forests can provide solutions, and managing them in a sustainable way will require skilled professionals.

California’s forestry industry employs more than 52,000 people per year contributing more than $3.3 billion of annual payroll into our economy.

As California’s population increases so does the need for renewable wood products, and educated and skilled professionals who can manage and maintain healthy sustainable forests for generations.

California foresters take great pride in their work, but they don’t do it alone. They rely on the expertise of many other forest related professionals to get the job done. Forestry offers both skilled and professional careers. Here are just a few of the careers that can get you working in the woods:

Maintenance Mechanic
Nursery Specialist
Natural Resource Teacher
Policy Advocate
Park Administrator
Park Ranger
Restoration Forester
Registered Professional Forester
Recreation Manager
Sawmill Worker
Urban Forester
Wildlife Biologist
Licensed Timber Operator and Manager
Land-Use Planner
Wildlife Biologist

Agriculture Teacher
Certified Grader
Computer Programmer
Fisheries Biologist
Fire Technician
Forestry Fire Pilot
Forest Technician
GIS Technician
GIS Specialist
Heavy Equipment Operator
International Forester

Undergraduate education from any of the forestry and natural resource programs below can be followed by graduate education at the Masters and PhD levels. Careers in forestry and natural resources can lead to senior level positions in industry, government, research, nonprofit organizations, utilities, real estate, investment firms, professorial positions at universities and more. For information on university level education programs visit:

Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo, Natural Resources Management Department
Humboldt State University, Department of Forestry and Wildland Resources
University of California, Berkeley, College of Natural Resources

Informed technician-level graduates are critically important to sustainable forest management. In addition to the university level programs listed above, there are several 2-year technical forestry programs.

Reedley College, Forestry and Natural Resources
Shasta College, Natural Resources and Forestry Science
Columbia College, Forestry and Natural Resources