Forestry & Forest Products

Timber Harvesting Operator

Timber harvesting operators do a range of jobs to do with the harvesting and maintenance of trees in forests, including logging and felling.

  • Entry-level education

    Junior secondary school certificate or equivalent

  • Job outlook

    1 2 3 4 5

What does a Timber Harvesting Operator do?

Timber harvesting operators undertake a range of tasks to do with the harvesting and maintenance of trees in natural forests and plantations, including logging, felling and sawing trees.


Work activities

Timber harvesting operators may perform the following tasks:

  • remove or trim branches and tree tops
  • load and transport logs
  • clear area around intended fall of each tree
  • plan the tree felling and bucking (sawing into logs)
  • operate manual and machine saws to fell and buck trees
  • operate machinery such as loading machines, excavators and bulldozers.

Key skills and interests

To become a timber harvesting operator, you would need:

  • to be able to undertake manual and heavy work
  • observant and methodical
  • good communication skills
  • enjoy outdoor work
  • enjoy working in teams
  • alert and safety-conscious.

Working hours and conditions

Working Hours

Timber harvesting workers would work a standard number of hours per week.  Some roles would require working in rural or remote areas which would involve short periods away from home.


Logging is physically demanding and can be dangerous. Workers spend all their time outdoors, sometimes in poor weather and often in isolated areas.


How to become an Timber Harvesting Operator?

Entry Level Education

You can work as a timber harvesting operator without formal qualifications. You will probably get some informal training on the job. Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have qualifications. You may like to consider a VET qualification in harvesting and haulage or forest operations. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information.

You can also become a timber harvesting operator through a traineeship in Harvesting and Haulage or Forest Operations. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10. Ask your career adviser about the possibility of starting some of this training in school.

In order to work as a timber harvesting operator, you may need to qualify for and obtain a relevant licence. Contact the Forestry Corporation of NSW or ForestWorks for more information.


Job outlook

  • 1 2 3 4 5

Employment of logging workers is projected to decline 9 percent from 2012 to 2022.

Increased mechanization of logging operations and improvements in logging equipment will result in less demand for timber-cutting and logging workers who work by hand.


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