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Forest officer

Alternative titles for this job include Forester, forest manager, woodland manager, assistant head forester

Forest officers manage forestry workers, plan harvesting activities and monitor planted areas.

Average salary (a year)

£19,000 Starter


£35,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

41 to 43 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays flexibly

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become a forest officer

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship


You'll usually need a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in a relevant subject, like:

  • arboriculture
  • countryside management
  • forest management
  • forestry
  • woodland ecology and conservation

There is also a small number of postgraduate courses.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

More Information


You could do a college course, which would teach you some of the skills and knowledge you need in this job. Relevant subjects include:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Forestry and Arboriculture
  • Level 3 Diploma in Forestry and Arboriculture

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course

More Information


You can get into this job through an arborist or forest operative intermediate apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship

More Information

More Information

Career tips

Most employers will expect you to have 2 to 3 years' woodland experience to become a forestry officer.

Professional and industry bodies

You could apply for membership of the Institute of Chartered Foresters, which may help with your career prospects and professional development.

Further information

You can find more advice about careers and training in forestry through the Royal Forestry Society and The Arboricultural Association.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • the ability to use your initiative
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • leadership skills
  • knowledge of geography
  • the ability to work well with others
  • knowledge of maths
  • the ability to monitor your own performance and that of your colleagues
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

Restrictions and Requirements

You'll need to:

  • be able to cope with working at height

You may need a driving licence and access to a vehicle to reach forest and woodland areas.

You may also need the certificates of competence for your work like chainsaw use, chipper use or operation of specialist equipment like a tree harvester.

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

In this job, you could:

  • manage a budget
  • carry out a business plan
  • report to the head forester
  • plan work to be carried out by staff and contractors
  • manage maintenance of machinery and equipment
  • keep accurate work records
  • make sure health and safety policies are followed
  • survey and inspect trees and sites
  • select and mark up timber to be harvested
  • plan, monitor and evaluate habitat management work

Working environment

You could work in a park, in an office or in woodland.

Your working environment may be physically demanding, outdoors in all weathers and you may spend nights away from home.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could become a forest manager, move into consultancy work or do research at a university.

You may also be able to apply for chartered environmentalist status. You can find out more about being a chartered environmentalist from the Society for the Environment.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a forest officer right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Forestry & Arboriculture Level 3 90-Credit Diploma

  • Start date: 14 September 2022
  • Location: Pulborough

Extended Diploma in Forestry and Arboriculture Level 3

  • Start date: 05 September 2022
  • Location: Norwich

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