What Does A Logger Do?
A logger is a professional who works in forested areas to cut down trees and prepare them to be used in other industries.
If you are picturing Paul Bunyan right now, then you kind of already know what a logger does. Although in his day they were called lumberjacks. Paul Bunyan was a sort of super-hero that cut down trees in a forested area and was famous for his skill, speed, and strength in doing so.
Today, we have loggers, who are real people with the same attributes of skill, speed, and strength in taking down trees.
Logger is a broad term that can include a few specific workers in the timber industry including:
- Tree climbers. They actually climb trees and remove limbs.
- Buckers. Work with the fallers to trim branches and tops of falling trees that are on the ground.
- Log graders and scalers. Use devices to determine the value of the logs and inspect them for defects and size reviewing things like knot size.
- Log sorters, movers, chippers. Mark and move logs based on predetermined metrics and work on machines that turn logs into chips.
- Logging equipment operators. Heavy machinery operation is a big part of a logging crews job. Many loggers will drive tractors and operate skidders or forwarders to move the logs to a loading area.
- Choke setters. Set the cables or chains around the logs to allow tractors to pull them to a destination.
- Fallers. Use power chain saws to cut down trees and trim logs to specific lengths.
So, as you can see there are so many types of logging jobs for you to think about! Each of these workers will be in a small group at a set location working together to make things happen.
Loggers tend to work in deeply forested areas. When we think of loggers, they are often associated with areas like California, Montana, British Columbia, and Oregon. While jobs are not limited to these areas, they can offer more opportunities than many others.
How To Become A Logger
So, what kind of education do logging workers have?
You will be happy to know, they do not need that much!
Becoming a logger is one of the easier trade jobs to get into. It is a career path that does not require any training programs or formal education. But, getting some additional education or training is recommended to ensure you can be the best logger you can be!
Below are some of the basics as to how to get into this unique career.
1. High School Diploma or GED
Obtain your high school degree or GED
2. Vocational Training / Certification
We highly recommend you attend a vocational school or certification program geared towards logging.
Look for opportunities for on-the-job training or an internship to help you build the needed skills.
Now let’s dig a litter deeper into the details of how to become a logger.
While you may be excited about the lack of required education, we still highly recommend you do take some kind of training or certification course. Learning the ins and out of the career and the opportunities available to you can make it a more rewarding career.
1. Basic Requirements
- Must be at least 18 years of age
- High school diploma or GED
2. Optional Education Requirements
Attending a community college for an Associate’s degree or certification in forest technology can help you land a variety of forestry jobs. Classes like shop or environmental science can also give you a competitive advantage when applying for jobs.
Programs that focus on forestry or environmental science can really help you learn how to understand the ecosystems you will be working on and how to evaluate the wood quality.
As you grow in your career, these additional educational factors may help you grow to more managerial positions or help you land other types of jobs within the forestry industry.
If you do attend a vocational program, you can also check to see if they have any career services that can help you find potential employers to work with. Many logger hopefuls find careers with their state or national forest associations, so those are also good places to start.
Each state is different in its requirements for training, but in all states, you will undergo some type of training before you get started in your job. You will work for a period of time under more experienced loggers where you will learn more about the logging industry and gain experience in various logging tasks.
Typical training might also include environmental compliance, reforestation, and of course safety training.
Recommended Skills For Loggers
Becoming a logger is one of the easier occupations to get into as it requires no real post-high-school education. But, there are still some skills that may make you better at the job!
Most loggers will work with a logging team, so having exceptional communication skills is important. The ability to work well with others is also extremely helpful.
Definitely not a job for the weak! This is a very physically demanding job. You will be lifting and pulling trees of all sizes, weights, and heights. Being strong is a must for most positions.
There are several tools that are often used in logging and paying attention to them is important. Detail-oriented workers will be able to see if something is not working properly which can save someone from getting hurt,
Coordination & Dexterity
Fine motor skills and coordination are a must as a logger. Whether you are working with the tools or the trees, dexterity will help you get the job done.
Pros & Cons Of Being A Logger
A job as a logger is a tough one.
The cons do outweigh the pros of this career choice.
It is a very dangerous job due to the type of work, but also because you will work in all kinds of weather conditions – and forest environments. Loggers work long hours and may travel a lot which means being away from home for long durations. But, on the good side – this travel can take you to new exciting locations you have never been to before.
- Good earning potential
- No advanced degree or training required
- Making an impact
- Physical demands
- Work in all weather
- Long hours and travel often required
How Much Do Loggers Make?
The average salary as noted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for a logger was $46,330 as of May 2021.
This is a median salary which means that half of the workers in the industry earned more and half earned less. The highest earners in the industry can make more than $61,000 annually.
This salary range can vary based on location and experience. An entry level position as a logger may start out much lower, while those with years of logging experience can make higher than median earnings.
BLS shows a median salary of $46,330.
Logging Industry Job Outlook
There is an expected 7% increase in growth through 2030.
Growth/Decline Percentage: 7% increase from 2020 to 2030*
General Outlook: Great
With a great growth rate, the opportunity for loggers is strong. Lumber or timber companies will need to replace logging workers that are retiring or changing careers.
There is also expected growth from the need to thin forests to prevent fires and because slopes often prevent large machinery from doing the work. Future innovations may limit growth in the future, but for now – there are ample employment opportunities.
When doing your job search, be sure to check areas that have a lot of forest-like land or areas that already have established logging operations that may need additional staff. Reach out to a logging company that you may come across and ask if they have openings or resources for finding new jobs that come available.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about working as a logger. If you have other questions that are not listed here – please email us or leave a comment below and we will be sure to add them!
*Data source: Bureau of Labor Statistics