Employment of conservation scientists and foresters is projected to grow 7 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations.
Most employment growth is expected to be in state and local government-owned forest lands, particularly in the western United States. In recent years, the prevention and suppression of wildfires has become the primary concern for government agencies managing forests and rangelands. Governments are likely to hire more foresters as the number of forest fires increases and more people live on or near forest lands. Both the development of previously unused lands and changing weather conditions have contributed to increasingly devastating and costly fires.
In addition, heightened demand for American timber and wood pellets is likely to help increase the overall job prospects for conservation scientists and foresters. Jobs in private forests especially are likely grow alongside demand for timber and pellets.
Increases in funding and the need to replace retiring workers should create opportunities for foresters and range managers. Restoring lands affected by fires also will be a major task, particularly in the southwestern and western states, where fires are most common. Job prospects will likely be best for conservation scientists and foresters who have a strong understanding of geographic information systems (GIS) technology, remote sensing, and other software tools.
Conservation Scientists and Foresters
Percent change in employment, projected 2014-24
Conservation scientists and foresters
Total, all occupations
Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program