Associated Oregon Loggers, Inc.
2015 Madrona Avenue, Salem, OR
Careers Brief | Careers

Careers in Logging


Forest Sector Careers
Forest Operations/Logging Careers
Wood Products Manufacturing Careers
The future is bright for jobs…

Forest Sector Careers.

 Careers in Oregon’s “forest sector” are in two main categories: 1) forest operations / logging; and 2) wood products manufacturing. The career future is bright for job seekers here because Oregon’s forest sector today is a top-3 largest traded good industry in the state economy—as it has been for over 100 years.

Careers in Oregon’s forest and wood products manufacturing operations offer exciting opportunities to learn and apply a wide range of skills in a variety of indoor and outdoor settings. These rewarding careers not only deliver valuable wood & paper products to expanding markets, they help ensure the continued protection of Oregon’s forest environment.

 Folks working in Oregon’s forest sector are proud to grow and produce renewable wood fiber products consumed across North America and worldwide. And, they do this while keeping forests sustainable for future generations. Ever advancing technology and innovation help people in this profession do things better, safer, and in more comfortable settings than ever before. Skilled job opportunities continue to change & grow with the advent of electronic diagnostics and computer control systems. A forest or mill worker from the 1980s would not recognize much of the technology and mechanization in use in modern forestry and mill operations today.

Oregon’s world-class forest products industry also contributes to environmental excellence by minimizing the waste of raw materials and being more energy-efficient than ever. The future is bright for careers and jobs for those seeking to join the nation’s leading forest sector and its highly-skilled workforce!

Industry analysts project continued employment opportunities and growth in the forest sector through 2020. Rising global demand for wood products, matched with Oregon’s well-managed and productive forests, will create many opportunities in the future. In addition, a wave of retirements in the forest sector is expected over the next decade, opening up many more jobs.

 Oregon’s forest sector employs at least 85,000* men and women—including 15,000 in logging operations, 18,000 in allied forestry, and 52,000 in manufacturing. That means over 33,000 Oregonians enjoy a variety of rewarding forestry careers engaged in outdoor work to manage forests, grow trees and harvest timber products. (* employment in a non-recessionary economy)

 Wages in Oregon’s forest sector are significantly above the state’s average. Competitive wages and benefits are offered by hundreds of forest products and forestry-related employers. The average annual salary for an Oregonian employed in the forest sector is $46,010 (2006 data). This is about 34% higher than the state’s overall average salary for all employment fields.

What you can earn depends on:

  • Experience and training
  • Specialized skills
  • Level of job responsibility
  • Performance and reliability
  • Commitment to safety
  • Production/safety bonuses and overtime

Forest Operations / Logging Careers.

 Forestry & logging jobs include a wide range of fascinating occupations working in or near rural Oregon forests— to harvest and deliver the wood to timber mills; to design & engineer projects; to maintain & build roads; to protect forest resources; and also to grow and tend trees. The variety of work settings and assignments often changes weekly or seasonally in outdoor forest operations.

Here, there are many fulfilling careers working in jobs where you want to go to work, and you get to travel to different outdoor jobsites every week. Although most logging employers are private forestry contractors, many other employers are forest landowners, timber mills, government agencies, suppliers, and consulting firms.

The future is bright for young men & women, or other job seekers, seeking rewarding forest careers in an outdoor setting. Because of Oregon’s highly-productive forestlands, and its world-class forestry and forest products manufacturing, there continues to be strong employment demand in the nation’s leading forest sector. With the baby boomer generation nearing retirement age, many sought-after jobs are available. The outlook for all sorts of positions (entry level and above) is excellent, and advancement can come quickly for the reliable person willing to work hard to get ahead. Wages in Oregon’s forest sector significantly exceed the statewide average.

Because of Oregon’s highly-productive forestlands, future employment outlook for the forest sector should expand regardless of the economic recovery rate. Current harvesting captures just 40 percent of total Oregon forest growth, and long-term sustainable forestry practices assure higher potential future harvests that would continue environmental protections. Oregon forestlands in 2007 comprised nearly 99 percent of the area they occupied in 1630. So, Oregon forests are growing faster than we harvest—and future harvest and job opportunities remain bright.

People who work in the woods may spend much of their day operating complex controls in the cab of a logging machine or problem-solving to design and rig ever-changing harvest methods. These machines include state-of-the art diesel and hydraulic power systems, electronic diagnostics, and on-board computers that provide information they need to maximize the value of every log. On-board computers and monitors provide information needed for the operator to optimize the value of every tree, while keeping performance efficient and diagnosing maintenance. Forest technicians visit forests to measure trees, survey conditions, and record forest information using field data recorders, GPS units, and laser instruments.

Forestry crews use teamwork to ensure efficient operations, address problems, and get the job done. A logger talks about the satisfaction from accomplishing harvest goals while leaving a light environmental footprint on the forest landscape, “Logging a parcel the right way is a lot like solving a puzzle.” Often, operators and crews must learn a variety of jobs. In many forest and logging operations, it’s common to change job sites and work assignments every month or two. Another logger said, “I learn something new every day, which helps keep my work fresh and interesting.”

Regardless of one’s education, there are good jobs and pathways leading to excellent life-long careers in Oregon’s forests and logging operation business. Most forest operations careers begin with a high school diploma—and career advancement is enhanced by further job experience, commercial drivers’ license, trade school, community college coursework, or continuing education. Skills and experience are often learned by starting in entry-level jobs, learning the trade in different positions, and managing greater responsibilities. Many additional forest operations careers in professional occupations or management do involve higher education, such as a degree from a trade school, community college, or university.

The many career opportunities for men & women seeking a great forestry career include work in the following categories:

  • Logging Crew
  • Forestry/Fire Crew
  • Road Crew
  • Heavy Equipment Operation
  • Trucking & Transportation
  • Equipment Mechanical Repair
  • Forestry/Engineering Technician
  • Management/Supervision
  • Small Business Ownership
  • Forestry/Resource Professionals

Members of Oregon’s skilled forestry workforce can take pride in providing wood and paper products and healthy, productive forests—while also feeling good about working with a renewable resource in an industry that values efficiency, innovation, environment, and little or no waste.

Wood Products Manufacturing Careers.

Wood products manufacturing jobs have been the most common thread on Oregon’s cultural fabric, and even today timber, wood and paper products is the major contributor—economically and socially—to rural and small-town life across the state. Oregon is America’s leading producer of many structural wood products, including softwood lumber and plywood panels. Rising global demand for wood products, matched with Oregon’s cutting-edge manufacturing, efficient transportation and well-managed and productive forests, will create abundant future job opportunities in the forest sector.

Leading forest products made here from trees harvested in Oregon include the following:

  • Structural lumber*
  • Plywood*
  • Engineered structural wood*
  • Poles, posts, timbers, pilings
  • Millwork cutstock
  • Pulp & paper products
  • Biomass energy
  • Landscape & agriculture products
  • Reconstituted wood products, such as panels, pellets, fiberboard
  • Many secondary wood products, such as cabinets, furniture, doors, windows, pallets

(* America’s leading producer)

Innovation, automation and computer assisted manufacturing processes make employment in wood products manufacturing safer and more satisfying than ever. People who work in a forest products plant may monitor and operate complex controls at their own work station, or maintain sophisticated electronically-controlled machinery. Continuous engineering improvement in products and manufacturing processes assure that products are better and meet new applications. Every amount of wood fiber is utilized through improved technology, optimized recovery, recycling, and energy generation.

The future is bright for jobs and careers for those seeking to join the nation’s leading forest sector and its highly-skilled workforce!

What profession is ranked as “one of the best work environments?”

According to Gallop Pollsters: Forestry, farming and fishing workers have some of the highest ratings in their work environment, healthy behavior, and emotional satisfaction. These high job satisfaction ratings are attributed to being outdoors, fulfilling accomplishment, physical exercise, and positive daily experiences, such as smiling about good results and being treated with respect.