Occupation Profile for Logging Workers

All logging workers not listed separately.

 
 

Significant Points

  • Workers spend all their time outdoors, sometimes in poor weather and often in isolated areas.
  • Most jobs are physically demanding and can be hazardous.
  • Little to no change in overall employment is expected.

 

 
 
Sample Job Titles
Air Saw Operator
Bark Fitter
Bark Peeler
Bark Scaler
Bark Spudder
Barker
Barker Peeler
Billet Cutter
Blazer
Bolt Cutter
Boom Man
Boom Stick Man
Boom Stick Worker
Boom Worker
Bottom Loader
Bottom Maker
Bowman
Brush Cutter
Brusher
Bull Bucker
Bull Gang Worker
Buncher
Bushler
Cable Hooker
Cable Puller
Cable Tender
Cant Hooker
Canter
Carriage Dogger
Carriage Operator
Carriage Rider
Carriage Setter
Carrier
Carrier Driver
Cat Swamper
Catcher
Cattyman
Chain Hooker
Chain Person
Chain Puller
Chain Saw Operator
Chain Tender
Chainer
Chainman
Chaser
Choke Setter
Choker
Choker Hooker
Choker Setter
Chopper
Chore Boy
Chore Worker
Chute Builder
Chute Feeder
Chute Greaser
Chute Tender
Climber
Clipper
Contract Loader
Cordwood Cutter
Coupler
Crane Chaser
Crane Follower
Crane Hooker
Cross Tie Cutter
Cross Tie Maker
Crosscutter
Cruiser
Cut Off Man
Cut Off Worker
Cutter
Dam Operator
Dam Tender
Deck Builder
Deckhand
Delivery Driver
Demurrage Man
Derrick Follower
Dogger
Driver
Drum Puller
Feed Mixer
Feeder
Fitter
Flagger
Flagman
Flume Tender
Forestry Hunter
Gofer
Gopher
Gopherman
Grab Driver
Grab Hooker
Grab Jack Man
Grab Jack Worker
Grab Setter
Grappler
Ground Worker
Groundman
Gutterman
Helper
Hitcher
Hook Tender
Hooker On
Hooker Up
Hookman
Hostler
Inspector, Logging Operations
Jackerman
Jackscrew Man
Jackscrew Worker
Jammer
Jammer Hooker
Knot Bumper
Knotter
Laborer
Laborer, Brush Clearing
Laborer, Tanbark
Landing Man
Limber
Log Brander
Log Cutter
Log Deckman
Log Driver
Log Getter
Log Handler
Log Haul Chain Feeder
Log Hooker
Log Loader Helper
Log Marker
Log Peeler
Log Raft Worker
Log Rafter
Log Roller
Log Roper
Log Skidder
Log Sorter
Log Tumbler
Log Turner
Logger, All-Round
Logging Operations Inspector
Logging Rafter Laborer
Logging Specialist
Logging Worker
Lumber Cutter
Lumber Driver
Lumber Hacker
Lumber Scaler
Mule Rider
Notcher
Peeler
Picker
Piece Cutter
Piece Maker
Piling Cutter
Pole Cutter
Pole Maker
Pole Peeler
Pole River
Poler
Pond Worker
Post Splitter
Power Barker Operator
Prop Cutter
Pulp Piler
Rafter
Raftsman
Rider
Rigger, Third
Rigging Slinger
Ringer
River
River Driver
River Rat
Riverman
Road Builder
Road Cutter
Road Monkey
Rollway Man
Rollway Worker
Ropeman
Roper
Rosser
Scalper
Scavenger
Shake Cutter
Shellfish Dredge Operator
Shingle Bolt Cutter
Signaler
Skid Adzer
Skid Road Man
Skid Road Worker
Skidder
Skidder Driver
Skidder Operator
Skidway Man
Skidway Worker
Skinner
Slackman
Slipper
Sniper
Snubber
Splitter
Spool Tender
Spotter
Spudder
Squirrel Man
Stave Block Roller
Stave Block Splitter
Stock Cutter
Straw Boss
Stull Hewer
Stumper
Swamper
Tailer In
Third Loader
Tie Bucker
Tie Carrier
Tie Cutter
Tie Hacker
Tie Sawyer
Timber Bucker
Timber Cruiser
Timber Cutter
Timber Girdler
Timber Hand
Timber Hewer
Timber Rider
Timber Selector
Timber Skidder
Timber Spotter
Timber Surveyor
Timbering
Timberman
Toggler
Tong Hooker
Tong Setter
Tonger
Tongsman
Top Loader
Topper
Trailer
Tree Marker
Tree Trimmer
Under Cutter
Wagoner
Whistle Punk
Whistler
Wood Bucker
Wood Chopper
Wood Cutter
Wood Getter
Wood Sawyer
Wood Setter
Woods Laborer
Woods Rider
Woodsman
Yard Laborer
Yardman
Zoogler

Training

Most forest, conservation, and logging workers develop skills through on-the-job training, learning from experienced workers.

Education and training. Generally, a high school diploma is sufficient for most forest, conservation, and logging occupations. Many forest worker jobs offer only seasonal employment during warm-weather months, so many students are hired to perform short-term, labor-intensive tasks, such as planting tree seedlings or conducting precommercial tree thinning.

Through on-the-job training, logging workers become familiar with the character and dangers of the forest environment and the operation of logging machinery and equipment. Safety training is a vital and required part of the instruction of all logging workers. Many State forestry or logging associations provide training sessions for tree fallers, whose job duties require more skill and experience than do other positions on the logging team. Sessions may take place in the field, where trainees, under the supervision of an experienced logger, have the opportunity to practice various felling techniques. Fallers learn how to manually cut down extremely large or expensive trees safely and with minimal damage to the felled or surrounding trees.

Training programs for loggers and foresters are common in many States. These training programs also include sessions on encouraging the health and productivity of the Nation’s forests through the forest product industry’s Sustainable Forest Initiative program. Logger training programs vary by State but generally include classroom or field training in a number of areas, including best management practices, environmental compliance, wetlands, safety, endangered species, reforestation, and business management. Some programs lead to logger certification.

Logging companies and trade associations, such as the Northeastern Loggers Association, the American Loggers Council, and the Forest Resources Association, Inc. also offer training programs for workers who operate large, expensive machinery and equipment. Often, a representative of the equipment manufacturer spends several days in the field explaining and overseeing the operation of newly purchased machinery.

Some vocational and technical schools and community colleges offer courses leading to a 2-year technical degree in forestry, wildlife management, conservation, and forest harvesting, all of which are helpful in obtaining a job. A curriculum that includes field trips to observe or participate in forestry or logging activities provides a particularly good background. Additionally, a few community colleges offer training for equipment operators.

Other qualifications. Forest, conservation, and logging workers must be in good health and able to work outdoors every day. They also must be able to work as part of a team. Many logging occupations require physical strength and stamina. Maturity and good judgment are important in making quick, intelligent decisions when hazards arise. Mechanical aptitude and coordination are necessary for operators of machinery and equipment, who often are responsible for repair and maintenance. Self-employed loggers need initiative and managerial and business skills to be successful as logging contractors.

Advancement. Logging workers generally advance from tasks requiring a lot of manual labor to those involving the operation of expensive, sometimes complicated logging equipment. Inexperienced entrants usually begin as laborers, carrying tools and equipment, clearing brush, performing equipment maintenance, and loading and unloading logs and brush. For some, familiarization with logging operations may lead to jobs such as log-handling equipment operator. Further experience may lead to jobs involving the operation of more complicated machinery and yarding towers to transport, load, and unload logs. Those who have the motor skills required for the efficient use of power saws and other equipment may become fallers and buckers.

Some experienced logging workers start their own logging contractor businesses, but to do so they also need some basic business skills, which are essential in today’s tight business climate.

Nature of Work

The Nation’s forests are a rich natural resource, providing beauty and tranquility, varied recreational benefits, and wood for commercial use. Managing and harvesting the forests and woodlands require many different kinds of workers. Forest and conservation workers help develop, maintain, and protect the forests by growing and planting new seedlings, fighting insects and diseases that attack trees, and helping to control soil erosion. Timber-cutting and logging workers harvest thousands of acres of forests each year for the timber that provides the raw material for countless consumer and industrial products.

Forest and conservation workers perform a variety of tasks to reforest and conserve timberlands and to maintain forest facilities, such as roads and campsites. Some forest workers, called tree planters, use digging and planting tools called dibble bars and hoedads to plant seedlings in reforesting timberland areas. Forest workers also remove diseased or undesirable trees with power saws or handsaws, spray trees with insecticides and fungicides to kill insects and to protect against disease, and apply herbicides on undesirable brush to reduce competing vegetation. In private industry, forest workers usually working under the direction of professional foresters, paint boundary lines, assist with controlled burning, aid in marking and measuring trees, and keep tallies of trees examined and counted. Those who work for State and local governments or who are under contract with them also clear away brush and debris from camp trails, roadsides, and camping areas. Some forest workers clean kitchens and rest rooms at recreational facilities and campgrounds.

Other forest and conservation workers work in forest nurseries, sorting out tree seedlings and discarding those not meeting standards of root formation, stem development, and condition of foliage.

Some forest workers are employed on tree farms, where they plant, cultivate, and harvest many different kinds of trees. Their duties vary with the type of farm. Those who work on specialty farms, such as farms growing Christmas or ornamental trees for nurseries, are responsible for shearing treetops and limbs to control the growth of the trees under their care, to increase the density of limbs, and to improve the shapes of the trees. In addition, these workers’ duties include planting the seedlings, spraying to control surrounding weed growth and insects, and harvesting the trees.

Other forest workers gather, by hand or with the use of handtools, products from the woodlands, such as decorative greens, tree cones and barks, moss, and other wild plant life. Still others tap trees for sap to make syrup or chemicals.

Logging workers are responsible for cutting and hauling trees in large quantities. The timber-cutting and logging process is carried out by a logging crew. A typical crew might consist of one or two tree fallers or one tree harvesting machine operator to cut down trees, one bucker to cut logs, two logging skidder operators to drag cut trees to the loading deck, and one equipment operator to load the logs onto trucks.

Specifically, fallers, commonly known as tree fallers, cut down trees with hand-held power chain saws or mobile felling machines. Usually using gas-powered chain saws, buckers trim off the tops and branches and buck (cut) the resulting logs into specified lengths. Choke setters fasten chokers (steel cables or chains) around logs to be skidded (dragged) by tractors or forwarded by the cable-yarding system to the landing or deck area, where the logs are separated by species and type of product, such as pulpwood, saw logs, or veneer logs, and loaded onto trucks. Rigging slingers and chasers set up and dismantle the cables and guy wires of the yarding system. Log sorters, markers, movers, and chippers sort, mark, and move logs, based on species, size, and ownership, and tend machines that chip up logs.

Logging equipment operators use tree harvesters to fell the trees, shear the limbs off, and then cut the logs into desired lengths. They drive tractors mounted on crawler tracks and operate self-propelled machines called skidders or forwarders, which drag or transport logs from the felling site in the woods to the log landing area for loading. They also operate grapple loaders, which lift and load logs into trucks. Some logging equipment operators, usually at a sawmill or a pulp-mill woodyard, use a tracked or wheeled machine similar to a forklift to unload logs and pulpwood off of trucks or gondola railroad cars. Some newer, more efficient logging equipment has state-of-the-art computer technology, requiring skilled operators with more training.

Log graders and scalers inspect logs for defects, measure logs to determine their volume, and estimate the marketable content or value of logs or pulpwood. These workers often use hand-held data collection devices to enter data about individual trees; later, the data can be downloaded or sent from the scaling area to a central computer via modem.

Other timber-cutting and logging workers have a variety of responsibilities. Some hike through forests to assess logging conditions. Some clear areas of brush and other growth to prepare for logging activities or to promote the growth of desirable species of trees.

Most crews work for self-employed logging contractors who have substantial logging experience, the capital to purchase equipment, and the skills needed to run a small business successfully. Many contractors work alongside their crews as supervisors and often operate one of the logging machines, such as the grapple loader or the tree harvester. Some manage more than one crew and function as owner-supervisors.

Although timber-cutting and logging equipment has greatly improved and operations are becoming increasingly mechanized, many logging jobs still are dangerous and very labor intensive. These jobs require various levels of skill, ranging from the unskilled task of manually moving logs, branches, and equipment to skillfully using chain saws to fell trees, and heavy equipment to skid and load logs onto trucks. To keep costs down, many timber-cutting and logging workers maintain and repair the equipment they use. A skillful, experienced logging worker is expected to handle a variety of logging operations.

Work environment. Forestry and logging jobs are physically demanding. Workers spend all their time outdoors, sometimes in poor weather and often in isolated areas. The increased use of enclosed machines has decreased some of the discomforts caused by inclement weather and has generally made tasks much safer. Workers in some sparsely populated western States, as well as northern Maine, commute long distances between their homes and logging sites. A few logging camps in Alaska and Maine house workers in bunkhouses. In the more densely populated eastern and southern States, commuting distances are shorter.

Most logging occupations involve lifting, climbing, and other strenuous activities, although machinery has eliminated some heavy labor. Loggers work under unusually hazardous conditions. Falling branches, vines, and rough terrain are constant hazards, as are the dangers associated with tree-felling and log-handling operations. Special care must be taken during strong winds, which can even halt logging operations. Slippery or muddy ground, hidden roots, or vines not only reduce efficiency, but also present a constant danger, especially in the presence of moving vehicles and machinery. Poisonous plants, brambles, insects, snakes, heat, humidity, and extreme cold are everyday occurrences where loggers work. The use of hearing protection devices is required on logging operations because the high noise level of felling and skidding operations over long periods may impair one’s hearing. Workers must be careful and use proper safety measures and equipment such as hardhats, eye and ear protection, safety clothing, and boots to reduce the risk of injury.

The jobs of forest and conservation workers generally are much less hazardous than those of loggers. It may be necessary for some forestry aides or forest workers to walk long distances through densely wooded areas to accomplish their work tasks.

Sources: Career Guide to Industries (CGI), Occupational Information Network (O*Net), Occupation Outlook Handbook (OOH)
Earnings

Earnings vary with the particular forestry or logging occupation and with experience. Many beginning or inexperienced workers earn the Federal minimum wage of $5.85 an hour, but many States set minimum wages higher than the Federal minimum. Under Federal law, this wage will increase to $6.55 in the summer of 2008 and to $7.25 in the summer of 2009. Earnings range from the minimum wage in some beginning forestry and conservation positions to over $26.00 an hour for the most experienced fallers.

Median hourly earnings in 2006 for forest, conservation, and logging occupations were as follows:

Logging equipment operators $14.28
Log graders and scalers 14.06
Fallers 13.80
Forest and conservation workers 10.01

Earnings of logging workers vary by size of establishment and by geographic area. Workers in the largest establishments earn more than those in the smallest ones. Workers in Alaska and the Northwest earn more than those in the South, where the cost of living is generally lower.

Forest and conservation workers who work for State and local governments or for large, private firms generally enjoy more generous benefits than do workers in smaller firms. Small logging contractor firms generally offer timber-cutting and logging workers few benefits beyond vacation days. However, some employers offer full-time workers basic benefits, such as medical coverage, and provide safety apparel and equipment.

For the latest wage information:

The above wage data are from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey program, unless otherwise noted. For the latest National, State, and local earnings data, visit the following pages:

  • Forest and conservation workers
  • Fallers
  • Logging equipment operators
  • Log graders and scalers
  • Logging workers, all other
  • Job Outlook

    Overall employment of forest, conservation, and logging workers is expected to experience little or no change through the year 2016. Most job openings will result from replacement needs because some forestry workers are young people who are not committed to the occupation on a long-term basis.

    Employment change.

    Employment of forest, conservation, and logging workers overall is expected to decline slightly by 1 percent over the 2006-16 decade. Forest and conservation workers is the only occupation in this group that is expected to have job growth, increasing 6 percent over the 10 years. Demand for forest and conservation workers will increase as more land is set aside to protect natural resources or wildlife habitats. In addition, more jobs may be created by recent Federal legislation designed to prevent destructive wildfires by thinning the forests and setting controlled burns in dry regions susceptible to forest fires.

    Logging workers are expected to decline by 3 percent from 2006 to 2016. New policies allowing some access to Federal timberland may create some logging jobs, and job opportunities also will arise from timber sales of owners of privately owned forests and tree farms. Nevertheless, domestic timber producers continue to face increasing competition from foreign producers, who can harvest the same amount of timber at lower cost. As competition increases, the logging industry is expected to continue to consolidate in order to reduce costs, eliminating some jobs.

    Increased mechanization of logging operations and improvements in logging equipment will continue to depress demand for many manual timber-cutting and logging workers. Employment of fallers, buckers, choke setters, and other workers whose jobs are labor intensive should decline as more laborsaving equipment is used. Employment of machinery and equipment operators, such as tree harvesting, skidding, and log-handling equipment operators, will be less adversely affected and should rise slightly as logging companies switch away from manual tree felling.

    Job prospects. Despite the projection for little to no change in overall employment, prospects for forest and conservation workers should be good. Job openings will come from the large numbers of workers who leave these jobs on a seasonal basis and from an increase in retirements expected over the next decade. Also, many logging workers will transfer to other jobs that are less physically demanding, dangerous, and prone to layoffs.

    But employment of forest, conservation, and logging workers can sometimes be unsteady. Weather can curtail the work of forest and conservation workers during the muddy spring season and the cold winter months, depending on the geographic region. Changes in the level of construction, particularly residential construction, also cause slowdowns in logging activities in the short term. In addition, logging operations must be relocated when timber in a particular area has been harvested. During prolonged periods of inactivity, some workers may stay on the job to maintain or repair logging machinery and equipment, but others are laid off or forced to find jobs in other occupations.

    Employment

    Forest, conservation, and logging workers held about 88,000 jobs in 2006 in the following occupations:

    Logging equipment operators 40,000
    Forest and conservation workers 20,000
    Fallers 13,000
    Log graders and scalers 7,100
    Logging workers, all others 8,000

    About 34 percent of all forest and conservation workers work for government, primarily at the State and local level. About 33 percent are employed by companies that operate timber tracts, tree farms, or forest nurseries, or for contractors that supply services to agriculture and forestry industries. Some of those employed in forestry services work on a contract basis for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service. Self-employed forest and conservation workers make up nearly 15 percent of the occupation.

    Although forest and conservation workers are located in every State, employment is concentrated in the West and Southeast, where many national and private forests and parks are located. Seasonal demand for forest, conservation, and logging workers can vary by region and time of year. For northern States in particular, winter weather can interrupt forestry and logging operations, although some logging can be done in winter.

    More than half of all logging workers work for the logging industry. Another 28 percent are self-employed, who mostly work under contract to landowners and the logging industry. About 10 percent work for sawmills and other businesses in the wood product manufacturing industry.

    Knowledge
    Skills
    Abilities
    Tasks
    Activities

    3244 Logging Worker Jobs Found


    Homeless Shelter Counselor – Social Services Worker I, II, III Job Description If you are passionate about helping others and looking for an opport...
    Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County Inc. - San Luis Obispo - posted 11 days ago
    Homeless Shelter Counselor – Social Services Worker I, II, III Job Description If you are passionate about helping others and looking for an opport...
    Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County Inc. - San Luis Obispo - posted 11 days ago
    Homeless Shelter Counselor – Social Services Worker I, II, III Job Description If you are passionate about helping others and looking for an opport...
    Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County Inc. - San Luis Obispo - posted 11 days ago
    Homeless Shelter Counselor – Social Services Worker I, II, III Job Description If you are passionate about helping others and looking for an opport...
    Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County Inc. - San Luis Obispo - posted 11 days ago
    Homeless Shelter Counselor – Social Services Worker I, II, III Job Description If you are passionate about helping others and looking for an opport...
    Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County Inc. - San Luis Obispo - posted 11 days ago
    Gulf Coast Youth Services consists of four facilities. Gulf Coast Treatment Center, located in Fort Walton Beach Florida; Okaloosa Youth Academy, l...
    UHS - Okaloosa Youth Academy - CRESTVIEW - posted 18 days ago
    Gulf Coast Youth Services consists of four facilities. Gulf Coast Treatment Center, located in Fort Walton Beach Florida; Okaloosa Youth Academy, l...
    UHS - Okaloosa Youth Academy - DEFUNIAK SPRINGS - posted 18 days ago
    Social and Human Service Assistant Job Description If you are passionate about helping others and looking for an opportunity to make a genuine and ...
    Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County Inc. - San Luis Obispo, CA - posted 15 days ago
    Social and Human Service Assistant Job Description If you are passionate about helping others and looking for an opportunity to make a genuine and ...
    Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County Inc. - San Luis Obispo, CA - posted 15 days ago
    Social and Human Service Assistant Job Description If you are passionate about helping others and looking for an opportunity to make a genuine and ...
    Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County Inc. - San Luis Obispo, CA - posted 15 days ago

    More Logging Worker Job Results...
     
     
     
     
     
     

    JOB SEARCH