CAREER GUIDE FOR FOREST TECHNICIAN

SOC Code: 19-4093

 

Pay Band(s): 3            (Salary Structure)

 

Standard Occupational Description: Compile data pertaining to size, content, condition, and other characteristics of forest tracts, under direction of foresters; train and lead forest workers in forest propagation, fire prevention and suppression. May assist conservation scientists in managing, improving, and protecting rangelands and wildlife habitats, and help provide technical assistance regarding the conservation of soil, water, and related natural resources.

 

Forest Technician positions in the Commonwealth are assigned to the following Roles in the Natural Resources Career Group:

 

Natural Resource Specialist II

While Forest Technicians within the Commonwealth are all located within the Natural Resources Career Group, individuals may want to pursue other opportunities within the Commonwealth depending upon individual training, education, knowledge, skills, abilities, and interests.   

 

Other Career Group(s) that may be of interest are:

Agricultural Services

Environmental Services

Public Safety Compliance

Training and Instruction

Laboratory and Research Services

SKILLS, KNOWLEDGE, ABILITIES AND TASKS

(Technical and Functional Expertise)

 

Skills

Note: The technical and functional skills listed below are based on general occupational qualifications for Forest Technicians commonly recognized by most employers.  Typically, you will not be required to have all of the skills listed to be a successful performer.  Recruitment and selection standards for an individual state job must be based on the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities for that job as indicated in the job announcement and job description in the Employee Work Profile.

 

1.      Managing one's own time and the time of others.

2.      Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

3.      Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.

4.      Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

5.      Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

6.      Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem solving and decision-making.

7.      Using mathematics to solve problems.

8.      Talking to others to convey information effectively.

 

 

Knowledge

Note: The technical and functional knowledge statements listed below are based on general occupational qualifications for Forest Technicians commonly recognized by most employers.  Typically, you will not be required to have all of the knowledge listed to be a successful performer.  Recruitment and selection standards for an individual state job must be based on the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities for that job as indicated in the job announcement and job description in the Employee Work Profile.

 

The Knowledge of:

 

1.      Plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.

2.      Structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

3.      Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.

4.      Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

 
Abilities

Note: The technical and functional abilities listed below are based on general occupational qualifications for Forest Technicians commonly recognized by most employers.  Typically, you will not be required to have all of the abilities listed to be a successful performer.  Recruitment and selection standards for an individual state job must be based on the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities for that job as indicated in the job announcement and job description in the Employee Work Profile.

 

The Ability to:

 

1.      Communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

2.      Apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

3.      Listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

4.      Tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.

5.      Read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

6.      Combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

7.      Generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.

8.      Speak clearly so others can understand you.

9.      Arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).

 

Tasks

Note:  The following is a list of sample tasks typically performed by Forest Technicians.  Employees in this occupation will not necessarily perform all of the tasks listed. 

 

1.      Manage forest protection activities, including fire control, fire crew training, and coordination of fire detection and public education programs.

2.      Conduct inspections and monitor water quality at logging sites to enforce water quality laws.

3.      Patrol park or forest areas to protect resources and prevent damage.

4.      Enforce burning law during fire season.

5.      Perform reforestation (forest renewal), including nursery and silviculture operations, site preparation, seeding and tree planting programs, cone collection, and tree improvement.

6.      Select and mark trees for thinning or logging, drawing detailed plans that include access roads.

7.      Supervise forest nursery operations, timber harvesting, land use activities such as livestock grazing, and disease or insect control programs.

8.      Thin and space trees and control weeds and undergrowth, using manual tools and chemicals, or supervise workers performing these tasks.

9.      Train and lead forest and conservation workers in seasonal activities, such as planting tree seedlings, putting out forest fires and maintaining recreational facilities.

10.  Conduct laboratory or field experiments with plants, animals, insects, diseases and soils.

11.  Install gauges, stream flow recorders, and soil moisture measuring instruments, and collect and record data from them to assist with watershed analysis.

 

 INTERESTED?

 

Like people, occupations have traits or characteristics.  These characteristics give important clues about the nature of the work and work environment, and give you an opportunity to match your own personal interests to a specific occupation.  When you choose a job in an occupation that matches your own interests you have taken an important step in planning a successful and rewarding career.

 

The occupation of Forest Technician has Realistic and Investigative characteristics as described below:

 

Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

LICENSURE, REGISTRATION, OR CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

 

Generally this is not required for Forest Technician positions in state government.  However, the Department of Forestry's Forest Technician is hired at the Moderate Fitness Level. The Forest Technician is expected to obtain a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) and the Emergency Vehicle Operation Certification (EVOC) within six months of employment. The Forest Technician is expected to obtain a Pesticide Applicator's license within one year of employment. For additional information on licensure or certification requirements contact the Virginia Department of Forestry and the Department of Conservation and Recreation. Their web sites are http://www.vdof.org/  and http://www.dcr.state.va.us/jobs.htm.

 

EDUCATIONAL, TRAINING, AND LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES 

 

Forest Technicians in the Commonwealth of Virginia are qualified through academic background, technical training, physical fitness and experience to perform responsible forestry work in a variety of areas.  Forest Technicians typically have an Associates Degree in Forest Technology or equivalent knowledge, skills, and abilities. Technical and community colleges offer associate degrees in a specific technology such as forestry technology or a more general education in science and mathematics.

 

The State Council of Higher Education lists Dabney S. Lancaster Community College as a Virginia educational institution offering an associate degree as a forest technician.

 

The Virginia Department of Forestry and the Department of Conservation and Recreation are the primary employers of forest technicians for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

 

These agencies provide additional training opportunities in many topics. The Training Program Opportunities are available for Forest Technicians in combination with structured courses developed, scheduled and conducted for employees of the Departments.

 

COMMONWEALTH COMPETENCIES

 

Competencies are a set of identified behaviors, knowledge, skills, and abilities that directly and positively impact the success of employees and the organization. Competencies can be observed and measured.  When consistently demonstrated, competencies make employees particularly effective in their work.  Competencies help lay out a road map to career success.  You can use the Commonwealth Competencies to help improve your individual performance by adopting behaviors that make high performing employees successful in their jobs. In this way, you can use the Commonwealth Competencies for your further professional development.

 

The Commonwealth Competencies are:

 

1.      Technical and Functional Expertise

2.      Understanding the Business     

3.      Achieving Results

4.      Serving the Customer

5.      Teamwork

6.      Interpersonal and Communication Skills

7.      Leadership and Personal Effectiveness

 

The above competencies may be applied to employees throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.  They can be rank-ordered by agencies and hiring managers to represent the needs of a specific job.  The rank ordering will change depending upon the occupation, an organization's priorities, the actual job requirements, and the supervisor's preferences. 

 

Career success is both about what you do (applying your technical knowledge, skills, and ability) and how you do it (the consistent behaviors you demonstrate and choose to use) while interacting and communicating with others.  Hopefully, by studying the Commonwealth competencies, identifying your developmental opportunities, and working to refine your own competence, you can take charge of your career!

 

For additional information about the Commonwealth Competencies go to: http://jobs.state.va.us/cc_planningctr.htm.  For the competencies, we first list the competencies and then define each.  Finally, we list competency indicators; to describe what successful performance looks like. 

COMMONWEALTH CAREER PATH

 

Career opportunities in the Commonwealth are not limited to moving “up” to the next highest role and pay band, changing positions, or to becoming a supervisor.  That's because most roles describe a broad group of occupationally related positions that perform a range of work that requires increased knowledge and skills.  For that reason, Commonwealth roles describe the career paths within the same or higher-level role for the same or different Career Group.  The broad salary range and the Commonwealth's pay practices provide flexibility in recognizing career development and advancement. (Salary Structure)

 

For example: Forest Technician

 

PAY BANDS

PRACTITIONER ROLES

 

PAY BANDS

MANAGER ROLES

3

Natural Resource Specialist II

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sample Career Path

 

Natural Resource Specialist II

The Natural Resource Specialist II role provides a career track for forest technicians involved in a variety of skilled, technical or compliance functions in conservation, forestry, marine and fisheries operations, parks, wildlife projects, or program development that provide support and require some independence of action. Employees perform work that range from entry-level technician to those with supervisory responsibilities.

 

ADDITIONAL OCCUPATIONAL INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT: 

Virginia Employment Commission
http://www.alex.vec.state.va.us/

Career One Stop
http://www.careeronestop.org/

Virginia Career Resource Network
http://www.vacrn.net/

Society of American Foresters
http://www.safnet.org/

Chief, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture
http://www.fs.fed.us