There are approximately 53,600 logging industry workers employed in the United States. Logging equipment operators make up nearly 69 percent of workers in the field. About 12 percent are fallers, while log graders and scalers hold almost 9 percent of logging industry positions. Most salaried loggers work in logging camps or in the logging contractors industry. Sawmills and planing mills also employ logging workers. Approximately 27 percent of logging industry workers are self-employed.
Although most states have some logging operations, they are by far the most abundant in the Southeast. The Northwest employs the second largest number of loggers. Seasonal demand for logging workers varies by region. In the northern states, winter work is common because the frozen ground facilitates logging. In the southeastern states, logging takes place year-round.
Students who obtain summer or part-time work in logging often move into full-time jobs after they graduate. Job seekers without previous experience might apply directly to the offices of logging companies in the areas where they wish to work. Although logging is concentrated in a few areas of the country, most states have small logging companies whose names and addresses can often be found in a telephone directory or on the Internet. State forestry departments may also keep lists of logging companies.
Timber, lumber, or pulp and paper companies may have openings for loggers, and school counselors in timber states may know of available positions. Logging-worker unions often compile job listings as well.
Loggers may advance in their jobs in several ways. They may move into more skilled tasks, take on supervisory positions, move into company management, or start their own logging firms.
While on the job, logging helpers and laborers can learn more skilled tasks, such as falling, and move into higher positions when openings occur. Becoming proficient at some logging skills can take as long as four years. Some of the larger companies have programs to train employees in falling, bucking, skidder driving, or loading. Since training is normally done by more experienced employees, those workers who have been on the job a long time may be promoted to the position of trainer.
To move into supervisory jobs, workers must show exceptional leadership skills, have long tenure with an employer, or receive further education. To move into managerial positions, workers need a great deal of experience and education. Some large companies may hire only college graduates as managers.
Experienced workers may eventually decide to buy their own equipment and work independently, contracting their services out. If successful, they might hire other employees and evolve into a small logging company, a very profitable avenue of advancement.
For job listings, visit:
Read Northern Logger & Timber Processor (http://northernlogger.com/our-magazine) and other publications to learn more about the logging industry.
Talk to logging industry workers about their careers. Ask them for advice on breaking into the field.