How to Be a Logger

Three Parts:Fulfilling Prerequisites for LoggingTraining to Be a LoggerAdvancing as a Logger

Loggers fell, cut, load and transport trees for processing into lumber, paper and other wooden products. Although forestry and logging jobs are currently declining, there are still jobs for young, strong people who love working in the outdoors. Best of all, most of the training happens after you get a job in the field.

Part 1
Fulfilling Prerequisites for Logging

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    Complete your high school education. You will need a diploma or a general educational development (GED) certificate to become a logger for a company. Most loggers get on-the-job training when they get their first logging company job.
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    Be healthy and fit. Logging is a very physically demanding job, where you work 12 to 14 hour days lifting, pulling and operating machinery. Most new logging jobs are due to replacing older loggers who are retiring or moving on to a less physically demanding job.
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    Be safety conscious. Logging is an extremely dangerous job. Large trees, sharp equipment and heavy machinery require loggers to rely on each other to stay safe. If you are not willing to take the necessary precautions, you risk your life and the lives of your colleagues.
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    Move to a forested area. Mountain states, the Northwest US and Alaska provide the best option in the United States, since there are plenty of forests. You should begin looking for a job in those states and be willing to move along with the contracts you find.
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    Enjoy the outdoors. After a high school education, you may find this is what companies ask about. You must be willing to work outside in cold, wet and slippery conditions most of the year.
    • In some cold areas of the country, logging is seasonal work. You may need to move to warmer areas to continue logging or find another part-time job.

Part 2
Training to Be a Logger

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    Get a job at a logging company. Young loggers start out by shadowing loggers. This experience is vital and often grows into a good job.[1]
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    Train in the following disciplines. You will be asked to specialize as you move through the logging ranks; however, as a new logger you should be aware of the jobs available in the field. Try them out if possible, so that you can find the best fit.
    • Tree fallers are those who cut the trees with a chainsaw or larger harvesting machine. Fallers usually cut down trees marked by foresters. They work in pairs, far apart from each other in order to keep away from falling trees.
    • Buckers cut branches off of trees. Then, they cut timber into smaller logs for transportation, according to the job specifications.
    • Scalers measure the tree to determine the lumber it will yield.
    • Chokers wrap chains around the logs while they are on the ground. This allows them to be loaded by larger machinery.[2]
    • Logging skidder operators pick up the trees or drag them onto a loading deck.
    • Equipment operators load the logs onto the logging truck and transport them.
    • Foresters manage jobs. They are often the business owners or employees of the forest service or landowner. They indicate what trees should be harvested.
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    Enroll in all the necessary safety training. You will be required to undergo seasonal or yearly sessions presented by companies, the forest service, or other government agencies.
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    Pursue forestry/logging certification to become a manager, forester, or logging engineer. You can get a two-year certification from community colleges across the mountain states. In some heavily forested locations, a four-year engineering or forestry degree will guarantee you a better paying job.

Part 3
Advancing as a Logger

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    Find the position that best fits your skills. Work for several years on a crew to earn respect in the company or crew.
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    Apply for other positions that garner higher wages, more hours or fewer risks.
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    Advance to a crew leader. If you want to work for a company, this position requires more knowledge and leadership than any other position.
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    Take on the responsibility of supervising positions. You will be asked to train new loggers, and you are likely to receive a higher wage.
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    Start your own logging company. If you have worked for years or decades, trying out all aspects of the logging trade, you might be in a good position to create your own company. Once you form the company, hire workers and acquire insurance, you can bid on contracts in your local area or further away.


  • Look into joining a logging labor union in your area. If you live in a forested state, there will likely be existing unions. If not, perhaps you can organize workers for safer conditions and better wages and benefits.
  • Alaska still commands the highest average wages for loggers. In 2012, the median pay was $16.17 per hour, or $33,630 per year.[3] Of course, you will find that the cost of living is higher there as well.


  • Logging can be very dangerous. You must always pay attention and practice safe operation of the equipment. Never let your safety vigilance, both for your protection and the protection of those around you.
  • Logging jobs are growing at a lower rate than most trades. New machinery, forest conservation, and foreign imports are reducing the growth in the United States. Logging jobs are expected to increase by about 6 percent each year until 2018.[4]

Things You'll Need

  • High school diploma
  • Forestry/logging certification or degree (Optional)

Article Info

Categories: Job Search | Job Strategies