Jobs in Idaho forests today and in the future

Thousands of jobs and millions in income

The forest products sector in Idaho provides a myriad of jobs in the forest, at the mill, in the office and in related businesses. Whether the job is a certified tree farmer, international sales representative, material handler, machinist, mechanic, millwright, heavy equipment operator or human resource professional, the forest provides thousands of jobs and millions in income in Idaho.

What are the high demand jobs in the forest products industry in Idaho?

Using incredibly efficient high-tech equipment, loggers cut, measure and stack trees from the forest strategically to ensure the safety of the logging crew and the long-term health of the forest.  Logging involves many different types of specialized machinery and operators including feller bunchers, skidders and loaders. Loggers are up before the sun rises and home early.

Education requirements: Most loggers are required to have a high school diploma or general education degree. 

Salary: Loggers enjoy an average salary between $36,000 and $60,000 annually. 

Foresters, or forest managers oversee public or private forestlands. Their job is keep forests thriving by developing short- and long-term plans for planting and growing, harvesting, monitoring trees for healthy growth, and making sure forest practices comply with Idaho law and environmental regulations. If you care about wildlife, the environment and forests and you are most comfortable working outdoors and getting your hands dirty, forestry may be a career for you.

Education requirements: Typically forestry professionals have a 4-year degree.

Salary: Foresters make between $47,000 and $97,000 per year. 

Mill work, whether at a paper or lumber products manufacturing facility, involves very high tech, often computer and laser assisted, equipment. In a lumber mill, logs are cut for lumber for building materials such as framing, flooring, windows, and doors. Machine operators in paper manufacturing make various paper products such as tissue, paper towels and paper board.  High-demand positions at mills include engineers, electricians, mechanics and machine operators.

Education requirements: Education requirements range from high school diploma to college degree. 

Salary: Salaries for mill workers range from about $60,000 per year to well over $100,000 per year. 

Once the trees have been harvested, it’s the job of the log hauler to safely load and transport the logs on a semi or 18-wheel truck to a manufacturing facility for processing.  Log truck drivers work for lumber producers, mills, logging companies or as  an independent owner-operators who own their trucks and contract their services to different businesses.  Log hauling requires specialized knowledge and equipment.

Education requirements: Log truck drivers are required to have a Class A Commercial Drivers License. 

Salary: Wages vary for log haulers:  entry level operators can earn $20 per hour while experienced haulers can earn $100 per hour.