Forestry Technician

Algonquin College’s Forestry Technician program offers students the opportunity to earn their diploma in less than one year, including 2 weeks of professional certifications and 2 weeks of field placement. A third of the curriculum is delivered in the outdoors, making it the most field-oriented natural resources program in the province.

Your Career Is Waiting For You!

A recent survey of Forestry companies in Canada indicates the sector is desperate for skilled employees, including Forestry Technicians. The Forestry Products Association of Canada authored this job market report projecting 60,000 vacancies in the forestry industry by 2020.

Read the Applicant’s Handbook and Gear List for important information.

icon for bring your own device programBring Your Own Device (BYOD): As a student in this BYOD on-campus program, use this BYOD Checklist for step-by-step instructions to access program device requirements, downloading software, logging on to your email and Blackboard account, and more.  

mobile-imageeTextbooks: As a student in an eTextbook program, many of your required eTextbooks and digital resources will be provided to you at the beginning of each term (with the exception of general education electives). For more information and associated fees, visit the eText website.

Ontario College Diploma
47 Week(s)

Program Code: 0108X04FPM
Academic Year: 2016/2017

Our Program

This two-year Ontario College Diploma program delivered in a compressed format over 47 weeks is the most practical and field-oriented Forestry Technician program in Ontario. Students spend approximately 30 percent of the program duration outdoors in a diversity of landscapes including Algonquin Park, the Petawawa Research Forest, Shaw Woods, County forests, Crown lands and private woodlots.

This program provides students with the basic knowledge, technical skills and entrepreneurial knowledge to participate in the management of natural resources for timber and non-timber values by the forest industry, sustainable forest licence holders, private landowners and ministries. Emphasizing safety and professionalism, students collect a variety of forest resources data, compile and analyze the data and make recommendations for its use. Students gain a working knowledge of the practices and procedures to support various resource operations and obtain experience in the planning, execution, and monitoring of forest, environment, ecosystem and wildlife management activities.

To enhance their employment prospects, students must obtain a minimum of nine industry/government recognized certificates or licences from a list which includes: SP100 Forest Fire Fighter, OMNR Tree Marking, OMNR Land Management, Professional Chainsaw Operation, Bear Awareness and Night Navigation.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD): Students are expected to have and use a laptop or mobile computing device when registered in this on-campus program. Hardware and software specifications required by your program are outlined at; Mobile devices/laptops and supplies can be purchased directly from Algonquin`s New Technology Store at educational rates.


This program is well-suited for students who:


  • Thrive in an active, outdoor, hands-on learning environment.
  • Have an interest in protecting, sustaining and enhancing our natural environment and forest ecosystem.
  • Can work well independently or as a member of a team.
  • Have good communication skills.

Your Career

Graduates are well-prepared to enter the workforce or to further their studies through university or the natural resources law enforcement (conservation officer) program. Geographic mobility is usually a prerequisite to employment with forestry companies, governments, private woodlot owners, hydro, municipalities, conservation authorities or resource consultants. Graduates may find entry-level work in the fields of tree marking, forest inventory, forest environment and ecosystem assessment, compliance monitoring, forest renewal, harvesting, parks, wildlife management, nature interpretation, arboriculture, bio-energy management and forest fire control. Self-employment as a forestry contractor or consultant is another avenue graduates may decide to pursue.

Learning Outcomes

The graduate has reliably demonstrated the ability to:

  1. Conduct forest inventory surveys and field measurements to determine forest resources and values in forests and woodlots.
  2. Assess soil characteristics, vegetation and wildlife habitats to identify their interactions within forest ecosystems.
  3. Perform technical functions in silvicultural* operations and assist in the monitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness of silvicultural* practices.
  4. Collect, analyze, interpret, and display spatial data using mapping technology and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to contribute to forest resource management.
  5. Contribute to sustainable forest management plans, including conservation and rehabilitation measures, taking into consideration the perspectives of a variety of stakeholders and the requirements of relevant legislation and regulations.
  6. Identify and analyze forest diseases, pests, invasive species and other disturbance events and implement mitigation strategies to maintain and improve forest ecosystems.
  7. Select, operate, troubleshoot and maintain tools and equipment in a variety of environmental conditions and in accordance with safety and operating standards.
  8. Work independently and in a collaborative environment while applying effective teamwork, leadership and interpersonal skills.
  9. Communicate technical information to a variety of stakeholders in oral, written, visual and electronic forms.
  10. Develop strategies for ongoing professional development to enhance work performance in the forestry sector.
  11. Identify and apply discipline-specific practices that contribute to the local and global community through social responsibility, economic commitment and environmental stewardship.


Programs at Algonquin College are delivered using a variety of instruction modes. Courses may be offered in the classroom or lab, entirely online, or in a hybrid mode which combines classroom sessions with online learning activities. Upon registration, each full-time student is provided an Algonquin email account which is used to communicate important information about program or course events.
Level: 01 Hours
DAT7668 Microcomputer Applications Basic computer skills required to succeed in college and in the workplace are covered. Students gain experience using the college standard, eLearning software Blackboard. Topics covered include effective use of email, email attachments and word processing. Also covered is the management of data using spreadsheets, as well as graphic presentation of spreadsheet information. Effective Internet searching, as well as sources of Internet mapping information are discussed. 24.0
ENL7777 Communications I Communication remains an essential skill sought by employers, regardless of discipline or field of study. Using a practical, vocation-oriented approach, students focus on meeting the requirements of effective communication. Through a combination of lectures, exercises, and independent learning, students practice writing, speaking, reading, listening, locating and documenting information, and using technology to communicate professionally. Students develop and strengthen communication skills that contribute to success in both educational and workplace environments. 45.0
FOR7310 The Forest Environment Students practise the basic skills required in forestry throughout Canada. Students interpret and determine areas, coordinates, compass directions and distances from basemaps, topographic maps, and Forest Resource Inventory maps and apply this information in the field. Field inventories are conducted using equipment to determine a tree's age, basal area, diameter, height and location. Students learn to tally and complete a variety of survey sheets. 60.0
FOR7311 Dendrology Focus is placed on the identification of local forest vegetation in the summer and winter conditions by leaf, twig, bark, log and form. The environmental requirements of the major shrub and tree species are introduced, as well as tree taxonomy. 60.0
FOR7312 Ecology Students examine the silvics of tree species, which deals with the growth and development of single trees and of forests, in their natural environments. Awareness is gained in the dynamics and succession of forest ecosystems and how they respond to changes in their landscape. Students gain a broader understanding of how trees function in a park, private woodlot, forested or wilderness setting. As we move into the 21st century, it is every citizen's responsibility to ensure that our rich natural resources, including our forests, are appreciated and conserved by all. 60.0
FOR7314 Soils and Landforms The characteristics of common soils with emphasis on the physical, chemical and biological features are explored. Students spend a portion of their time conducting field and lab exercises to examine soil textures and profiles, and the correlation between landforms, soil types and species. Soil fertility, conservation and management are examined. 45.0
FOR7315 Remote Imagery Students develop the ability to interpret aerial photographs and satellite images at different scales. They study natural, man-made, landform and tree species features. Photogrammetry is applied. Orienteering oneself, in the forest, using compass and aerial photos is practised. 60.0
FOR7316 Wildlife Students learn to identify various species of wildlife. Special emphasis is placed on the identification and management of forest hawk habitat and species at risk. The management of fur bear and ungulate populations and its habitat are covered. Field surveys are conducted to assess wildlife habitat. Guidelines for the protection of wildlife habitat are examined. Field exercises are conducted to install buffers that protect wildlife habitat from forest operations. Other topics include radio telemetry. 60.0
FOR7322 Forest Health Focus is on the identification and management of diseases and insects that affect forest trees. Trees are graded for their potential as growing stock. Tree cavities are also studied. Several field trips are used to place special emphasis on the study of tree defects for selection tree marking. Logging techniques to minimize the damage to residual trees are also discussed. 45.0
Level: 02 Hours
ENL7679 Communications for Forestry Technicians Students develop workplace communication skills. Topics include written and oral reports; correspondence; technical writing style; resumes; locating, evaluating, and documenting technical information; interpreting and using visuals; and other communication skills that forestry technicians require in today's workplace.

Prerequisites: ENL7777
FOR7313 Geographic Information Systems Analysis of digitized spatial data is presented. Students practise basic skills in manipulating and presenting data with emphasis on applications in natural resources management. ArcGIS software package is used. 64.0
FOR7321 Mensuration Students determine the growth and yield of trees and forest stands. Emphasis is placed on methods and techniques of various forest inventories, compiling tallies, analysis of data and auditing of work. Students learn to create a stand and stock table. Students learn about the essential parts of a contract and appreciate how a bid is conducted. 56.0
FOR7324 Silviculture Students study silviculture systems, site preparation, reforestation, tending, thinning and vegetation control. Emphasis is placed on a good understanding of the selection and shelterwood silviculture system so students can apply their knowledge in the tree marking course. Students learn to make recommendations concerning silvicultural treatments to contribute to the development of forest operations prescriptions. Several field exercises help students comprehend the course material. Examples of field activities include: brushsaw operations, stand analysis of tolerant hardwood forest, tree planting, inspection of areas harvested with the shelterwood system. 64.0
FOR7325 Harvesting Regulations, licenses, equipment, methods, processes, and layouts employed in different harvesting systems are explored. Careful logging and compliance monitoring are studied in detail. The planning, scheduling and costing of operations are practised. Students learn the basic entrepreneurial skills for logging operations. 56.0
FOR7327 Fire Management Students learn the organizational structure and practices used to control forest fires. Initial attack procedures are studied. The use of prescribed fire as a forest management tool is explored. Students gain an understanding of the Canadian Forest Fire Danger Rating System. Forest industry involvement to assess fire danger and perform compliance inspections of fire equipment is also covered. Field exercises involving the use of fire pumps and hose, enhance student learning. A modest testing fee is charged for those students attempting the SP102 Forest Industry Fire Certification. Depending on the level of student interest, the SP100 Forest Fire Training is also offered for an additional fee and time commitment. 56.0
FOR7340 Arboriculture Students are introduced to the care of trees within an urban and urban-interface environment. Students practise using the different tools for this discipline and the various knots for ropes. Urban tree hazard management is undertaken. 39.0
FOR7351 Parks Operation Students are introduced to a number of major park systems and the agencies that operate and manage them in Ontario. Students gain knowledge in park policy and procedure, operations management, customer service, human relations and enforcement. Students are prepared for possible seasonal and full-time employment through coverage of traditional park positions. Students are required to do a number of online government certificates which are available during this course. 45.0
Choose one from equivalencies: Hours
GED1108 General Education Elective Students choose one course, from a group of general education electives, which meets one of the following five theme requirements: Arts in Society, Civic Life, Social and Cultural Understanding, Personal Understanding, and Science and Technology.

Equivalencies: ARC9001 or ENV0002 or FAM1218 or FIN2300 or GED1896 or GED5002 or GED5005 or GED5006 or GED5200 or GED6022 or GEN1001 or GEN1957 or GEN2000 or GEN2003 or GEN2007 or HIS0001 or HIS2000 or HOS2228 or LIB1982 or MGT7330 or MVM8800 or RAD2001 or SOC2003 or PSI0003
Level: 03 Hours
FOR7331 Land Stewardship Best management practices of natural resources on privately owned lands are highlighted. Students examine strategies to maintain or enhance natural environments and to remediate disturbed lands. Non-timber forest products are explored. The Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program is examined and applied. Students gain an appreciation for volunteerism. 42.0
FOR7333 Forest Access The proper locating of various types of forest access roads and trails is considered. Bridge and culvert sizing, installation and soil erosion control are assessed. Regulatory and aesthetic requirements are applied along with the scheduling and costing of access routes. Compliance monitoring is studied and conducted in the field. 42.0
FOR7334 Forest Management The student applies knowledge from previous courses to the realistic preparation of parts of a sustainable Forest Management Plan and also completes part of an Annual Work Schedule. Provincial statutes, regulations, policies, licensing and reporting are examined. 84.0
FOR7335 Ecological Land Classification Standardized and consistent ecosystem inventory is needed by resource managers and planners. Students identify, describe and name Ontario ecosystems. The Canadian Ecological Land Classifcation system is followed. Inventory methodology abides by the Ontario Forest Resources Inventory calibration plot specifications. Field trips include visits to local Ontario ecosystems. 36.0
FOR7337 Tree Marking The knowledge gained from previous and concurrent courses is brought to the practical application of tree marking. The student gains field experience and skills to mark trees under different silvicultural systems. Students learn the standards of the Provincial Tree Marking Certification program. 42.0
FOR7339 Certifications Students have the opportunity to gain a minimum of nine certifications in specialties that they choose from a selection that is offered. Some examples are Fire Fighting, Chainsaw Operators, Tree Marking, Pesticide, Safe Boating, Erosion and Sediment Control, Aircraft Safety, Seed Forecaster, Culvert Installation, Tree Planting, Night Navigation and Prospectors. 60.0
FOR7346 Advanced Techniques Global positioning systems are a critical tool for data collection and navigation in forestry. Using a combination of field exercises and self-directed projects, students explore the science and technology of global positioning systems. Students collect field information with various GPS units and download the information into GIS software to produce finished mapping projects. Examples of current related technology are ArcPad, ArcGIS, DNR Garmin software and DRAPE imagery. 42.0
FOR7347 Freshwater Environments The physical, chemical and biological characteristics of freshwater environments are presented. Students specifically gain an understanding of the ecological importance of lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands. The relationships between forested and aquatic environments are explored. Several field trips are intended to familiarize students with freshwater systems and to provide practical training in an array of aquatic sampling techniques. Protocols for collecting, identifying, analyzing, storing and transporting aquatic samples are practised. 45.0
FOR7348 Silvicultural Surveys Surveys, to verify the success of silvicultural operations, are essential to ensure forest sustainability. Focusing on the performance of regeneration assessments, students are given the opportunity to become proficient with the field procedures required. Planning of a regeneration assessment, the statistical analysis of the results, and development of treatment options are studied. An overview of forest herbicides is covered. Students conduct tree plant assessments and/or site preparation assessments. Results of these surveys are analyzed and their compliance and success are discussed. 42.0
FOR7352 Field Placement Students are required to complete a two week, volunteer, forestry-related field placement. This provides students with an opportunity to network with potential employers and to gain workplace knowledge and experience. Finding and securing an approved fieldwork opportunity is a student responsibility. Your faculty and field work supervisor/coordinator have many contacts in industry and where feasible will assist you in finding an approved field placement but do not guarantee one will be arranged on your behalf. Students are required to hold proof of certain training prior to the placement, such as Standard First Aid and CPR, WHMIS, and Worker Health and Safety Awareness. A list of past placement locations and contacts are provided. Examples are; forest industry companies and contractors (tree marking, tree planting supervision, regeneration assessment), government (forest compliance, forest fire fighting, provincial parks) or arborists. 80.0

Fees & Expenses   

2016/2017 Academic Year

Total Fees for the first year of the program:

Domestic tuition/ancillary fees: $8,544.00. *

International tuition/ancillary Fees: $22,895.04. *

* Amounts include tuition fee, program specific lab and material fees. Students` Association fees and compulsory ancillary fees. Fees are subject to change. For detailed fees information please visit

Note: For further information regarding your books, please visit

eTexts: As a student in an identified program, select digital resources will be included within the program fee and will be available to you at the beginning of each term. However, not all texts will be eText. Texts that are hardcopy and/or eTexts that students choose to purchase as hard copy, will be an additional cost to the student. For more information and associated fees, please visit:

Major, one-time equipment costs are approximately $420. As part of a two-week certification period in the final level, fees for certification courses are assessed separately and are announced early in the program. Students should arrive with a CSA approved hard hat and work or hiking boots, a Fox 40 whistle, a high visibility vest, and clear safety glasses. It is recommended that students have equipment to take pictures.

Admission Requirements   

2017/2018 Academic Year

College Eligibility

  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent. Applicants with an OSSD showing senior English and/or Mathematics courses at the Basic Level, or with Workplace or Open courses, will be tested to determine their eligibility for admission; OR
  • Academic and Career Entrance (ACE) certificate; OR
  • General Educational Development (GED) certificate; OR
  • Mature Student status (19 years of age or older and without a high school diploma at the start of the program). Eligibility may be determined by academic achievement testing for which a fee of $50 (subject to change) will be charged.

Program Eligibility

  • English, Grade 12 (ENG4C or equivalent).
  • Mathematics, Grade 11 (MCF3M or equivalent).
  • Applicants with International transcripts must provide proof of the
    subject specific requirements noted above along with proof of either:
  • IELTS-International English Language Testing Service-Overall band of 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each band. OR
  • TOEFL-Internet-based (iBT)-overall 80, with the minimum of 20 in each component: Reading 20; Listening: 20 Speaking: 20, Writing: 20

    Should the number of qualified applicants exceed the number of available places, applicants will be selected on the basis of their proficiency in English and mathematics.

    A current Standard First Aid and CPR certificate is preferred prior to registration. Otherwise, the student must obtain the certificate within the first two months of the first level. Applicants must sign and submit a Forestry Technician Program Assumption of Risk and Indemnifying Release Form.

    An up-to-date tetanus booster is preferred prior to class. This immunization is available at no cost through the College health services.

    Application Information

    Applications to full-time day programs must be submitted with official transcripts showing completion of the academic admission requirements through:
    60 Corporate Court
    Guelph, Ontario
    N1G 5J3

    Students currently enrolled in an Ontario secondary school should notify their Guidance Office prior to their online application at For all other applicants, applications are available online at A $95 fee applies.

    Applications for Fall Term and Winter Term admission received by February 1 will be given equal consideration. Applications received after February 1 will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis as long as places are available.

    International applicants applying from out-of-country can obtain the International Student Application Form at or by contacting the Registrar`s Office.

    For further information on the admissions process, contact:

    Registrar`s Office
    Algonquin College
    1385 Woodroffe Ave, Room C150
    Ottawa, ON K2G 1V8
    Telephone: 613-727-0002
    Toll-free: 1-800-565-4723
    TTY: 613-727-7766
    Fax: 613-727-7632

    Additional Information

    In order to prepare our graduates to be the best in their field, we believe the educational environment must closely resemble the work environment, including the associated risks. Risk, therefore, is an inherent part of the educational environment.

    A total of two weeks are spent on a voluntary placement in a resource-oriented organization chosen by the student, anywhere in the world. Should the opportunity arise, the student may choose instead to partake in an applied forestry research project supervised by the college and/or one of its partners.

    Note: Students may register in the Provincial Scaling course in lieu of field placement. The cost of this course is in addition to the previously established program tuition. For further details, please contact the program coordinator.

    Students contemplating taking Forestry at a university should seriously consider our program first, as we provide a one year, hands-on, practical, field-oriented program. Our articulation agreement with Lakehead University allows you to enter their Forestry or Forest Conservation program in the second year. We also have an articulation agreement with the University of New Brunswick in their Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management.

    Applicants who participated in the Specialist High Skills Major - Forestry and/or Environment may be eligible for exemptions, in whole or in part, for some of the Forestry Technician courses. Applicants should bring documents to the program coordinator for review, particularly co-op placement and industry certifications.

    For more information, please contact Frank Knaapen, Program Coordinator, at 613-735-4700 ext. 2741 or Additionally, you can visit the Forestry Technician website at

    Every attempt is made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this publication. The College reserves the right to modify or cancel any course, program, fee, timetable, or campus location at any time