How Do I Become a Lumberjack?

Geri Terzo

Someone who pursues a career as a lumberjack should exhibit a love for the outdoors, a drive for adventure, and an agility to respond to dangerous situations. Physical strength is also a requirement because, to become a lumberjack, you are going to not only need to cut down large trees but also handle the wood, slice it, and transport it to customers. While no formal education is required, there are different positions on a logging team that lead to senior roles that are only attainable with experience.

Felled trees.
Felled trees.

In order to become a lumberjack, you will either need to work for a lumber company or launch your own business. The former will grant you the advantage of learning the trade from other, more experienced loggers. Also, there is more safety in numbers when it comes to chopping wood. The tools and machinery that are used are extremely dangerous, and in the event of an emergency, having the backing of a logging team could make the difference between life and death.

A lumberjack harvests trees.
A lumberjack harvests trees.

You are going to have to live near forest habitats and possibly far from much civilization. There should be lumber companies in the areas where you can pursue employment. Be willing to take the most menial job to begin in order to work your way up to become a lumberjack.

The first jobs that you take on your path to become a lumberjack will not necessarily be the same roles you fill throughout your career. Chokermen, as they are called, are responsible for attaching large cables around trees after they are cut for transporting. Like most jobs relating to becoming a lumberjack, this role can be highly precarious because the thick, heavy cables that a chokerman handles can break when tightly wound.

Chopping down trees is another role in the lumber industry. You will likely be working out in the wilderness in the middle of a forest where trees will be centuries old and extend for as many feet or meters into the sky. Often, a tree's weight can reach into the tons.

A feller is the logger who cuts down the tree, and this is typically done with a hand tool, such as a chainsaw. The feller cuts the tree so that it falls in the direction that it was cut. To become a lumberjack, you need to be willing to put yourself in harm's way by cutting down trees.

Lastly, someone needs to chop the wood, load it into trucks, and transport it. The wood will need to be transported from the forest to the lumberyard and ultimately to customers. Chopping wood involves working with mechanical equipment that can be highly dangerous, and this is all part of pursuing a lumberjack career.

A lumberjack working.
A lumberjack working.

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