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Career and Education Opportunities for Foresters in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for foresters in the Cedar Rapids, Iowa area. The national trend for foresters sees this job pool growing by about 12.1% over the next eight years. Foresters generally manage forested lands for economic, recreational, and conservation purposes.

Income for foresters is about $23 hourly or $48,970 yearly on average in Iowa. Nationally, their income is about $25 per hour or $53,750 yearly. Foresters earn less than people working in the category of Life Sciences generally in Iowa and less than people in the Life Sciences category nationally. Jobs in this field include: timber management specialist, environmental protection forester, and fire prevention forester.

There are two schools within twenty-five miles of Cedar Rapids where you can study to be a forester, among thirteen schools of higher education total in the Cedar Rapids area. Foresters usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so you can expect to spend about four years studying to be a forester if you already have a high school diploma.


Forester video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, foresters manage forested lands for economic, recreational, and conservation purposes. They also may inventory the type, amount, and location of standing timber, appraise the timber's worth, negotiate the purchase, and draw up contracts for procurement.

Foresters monitor contract compliance and results of forestry efforts to assure adherence to government regulations. They also direct, and participate in, forest-fire suppression. Equally important, foresters have to establish short- and long-term plans for management of forest lands and forest resources. They are often called upon to supervise efforts of other forestry staff. They are expected to formulate and implement projects for conservation of wildlife habitats and soil and water quality. Finally, foresters conduct public educational programs on forest care and conservation.

Every day, foresters are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. They need to evaluate problems as they arise. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for foresters to map forest area soils and vegetation to estimate the amount of standing timber and future value and growth. They are often called upon to negotiate terms and conditions of agreements and contracts for forest harvesting, forest management and leasing of forest lands. They also decide on methods of cutting and removing timber with minimum waste and environmental damage. They are sometimes expected to study different tree species' classification, life history, light and soil requirements, adaptation to new environmental conditions and resistance to disease and insects. Somewhat less frequently, foresters are also expected to contact local forest owners and gain permission to take inventory of the type and location of all standing timber on the property.

Foresters sometimes are asked to design techniques for measuring and identifying trees. and procure timber from private landowners. And finally, they sometimes have to monitor contract compliance and results of forestry efforts to assure adherence to government regulations.

Like many other jobs, foresters must believe in cooperation and coordination and be able to work independently and make decisions on their own.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Cedar Rapids include:

  • Biologist. Research or study basic principles of plant and animal life, such as origin, relationship, and functions.
  • Environmental Health and Safety Specialist. Conduct research or perform investigation for the purpose of identifying, abating, or eliminating sources of pollutants or hazards that affect either the environment or the health of the population. Utilizing knowledge of various scientific disciplines may collect, synthesize, and take action based on data derived from measurements or observations of air, food, and other sources.
  • Epidemiologist. Investigate and describe the determinants and distribution of disease, disability, and other health outcomes and develop the means for prevention and control.
  • Geographic Information Systems Analyst. Study nature and use of areas of earth's surface, relating and interpreting interactions of physical and cultural phenomena. Conduct research on physical aspects of a region, including land forms, climates, soils, plants and animals, and conduct research on the spatial implications of human activities within a given area, including social characteristics, economic activities, and political organization, as well as researching interdependence between regions at scales ranging from local to global.
  • Medical Scientist. Conduct research dealing with the understanding of human diseases and the improvement of human health. Engage in clinical investigation or other research, production, or related activities.
  • Microbiologist. Investigate the growth, structure, and other characteristics of microscopic organisms, such as bacteria, algae, or fungi. Includes medical microbiologists who study the relationship between organisms and disease or the effects of antibiotics on microorganisms.
  • Natural Resource Manager. Research or study range land management practices to provide sustained production of forage, livestock, and wildlife.
  • Park Ranger. Plan, develop, and conduct programs to inform public of historical, natural, and scientific features of national, state, or local park.
  • Scientist. Study the chemical composition and physical principles of living cells and organisms, their electrical and mechanical energy, and related phenomena. May conduct research to further understanding of the complex chemical combinations and reactions involved in metabolism, reproduction, and heredity. May determine the effects of foods, drugs, and other substances on tissues and vital processes of living organisms.
  • Soil Conservation Technician. Plan and develop coordinated practices for soil erosion control, soil and water conservation, and sound land use.


Kirkwood Community College - Cedar Rapids, IA

Kirkwood Community College, 6301 Kirkwood Blvd SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52406-2068. Kirkwood Community College is a large college located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,241 students. Kirkwood Community College has an associate's degree program in Natural Resources/Conservation which graduated thirty students in 2008.

Mount Mercy College - Cedar Rapids, IA

Mount Mercy College, 1330 Elmhurst Dr NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402-4797. Mount Mercy College is a small college located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,555 students and an admission rate of 80%. Mount Mercy College has a bachelor's degree program in Natural Resources and Conservation, Other Specialties.


Arborist / Municipal Specialist: This credential was developed by the ISA and the Society of Municipal Arboriculture for those involved in managing the complex aspect of trees in an urban environment.

For more information, see the International Society of Arboriculture website.


Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Cedar Rapids, Iowa photo by Davumaya

Cedar Rapids is located in Linn County, Iowa. It has a population of over 128,056, which has grown by 6.0% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Cedar Rapids, 78, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Cedar Rapids are valued at $103,900 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, two hundred ninety-nine new homes were built in Cedar Rapids, up from two hundred ninety-eight the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Cedar Rapids are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 17 minutes. More than 28.4% of Cedar Rapids residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.4%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Cedar Rapids is 6.0%, which is less than Iowa's average of 6.1%.

The percentage of Cedar Rapids residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.0%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Seventh Day Church of God, Sevanth-Day Adventist Church and Hope Lutheran Church are some of the churches located in Cedar Rapids. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Cedar Rapids is home to the Brucemore and the Admissions Office as well as Tomahawk Park and Noelridge Park. Shopping centers in the area include Mays Shopping Center, Lindale Plaza Shopping Center and Town and Country Shopping Center. Visitors to Cedar Rapids can choose from Howard Johnson, Marriott Cedar Rapids and Clarion Hotel & Convention Center for temporary stays in the area.