Wood Science and Technology Workers
Most wood scientists and technologists are employed in private industry. Firms that deal with forest products, such as mills, manufacturers of wood products, suppliers to the wood products industry, forest products associations, and paper and pulp companies all hire these kinds of workers. Independent contract research firms may also be sources of employment. Universities and federal and state agencies, such as the Extension Service, hire wood science and technology experts to work on various research projects.
Geographically, careers in wood science and technology tend to be situated near large wood-producing forests and mills. Most wood science technologists work along the Eastern Seaboard, in the North Central States, in the Pacific Northwest, and in the southern states from Virginia to eastern Texas.
Wood science and technology jobs are not hard for qualified applicants to come by. Many forestry firms recruit new employees during visits to campus, and new graduates of wood science and technology programs often learn about employment opportunities through their colleges' career services offices. Other sources of information are professional groups, which may maintain job referral or resume services, and trade magazines, which often carry want ads for job openings. Information on jobs with the federal government can be obtained from the Office of Personnel Management.
Moving ahead in the wood science field depends on ingenuity, skills, and the ability to handle important projects. There is no typical career path, and advancement can come in the form of promotions, pay raises, or more important assignments. People with management skills may rise to become sales managers, division chiefs, or directors, although the size of the company often dictates the opportunities for advancement. Larger companies obviously offer more places within the organization, so advancement may be quicker than in a smaller company.
A master's degree or a Ph.D. can be the ticket to advancement for those working in research; workers in this field may be granted permission to conduct independent research or be promoted to heads of research operations. Wood science and technology employees in the business area of the industry may find that additional schooling makes them better candidates for higher administrative positions. Wood products technicians may find that earning a bachelor's degree can help them move up to the position of wood technologist.
Tips for Entry
Read Wood and Fiber Science Journal, Forest Products Journal, and Wood Design Focus to learn more about the field.
Visit the following Web sites for job listings:
Visit https://www.swst.org/wp/careers/exploring-profession-forest-products to read Exploring a Profession in Forest Products.