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Wood Science and Wood Products/Pulp and Paper Technology/Technician

Program Description

Just the Facts

Wood Science and Wood Products/Pulp and Paper Technology/Technician. A program that focuses on the application of chemical, physical, and engineering principles to the analysis of the properties and behavior of wood and wood products and the development of processes for converting wood into paper and other products. Includes instruction in wood classification and testing, product development, manufacturing and processing technologies, and the design and development of related equipment and systems.

This program is available in these options:

  • Certificate / Diploma
  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Master's degree
  • Doctoral degree

High School Courses

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Additional Information

There are essentially two paths into the wood industry. One leads to a bachelor's degree in wood science, the other to a certificate or associate's degree from a technical school or community college.

The path you take depends on what you want to do. If you want to work hands-on with wood, like a cabinetmaker or carpenter, or operate machines in a sawmill, train at a technical school in a one- or two-year program.

However, if you want to manage a sawmill or furniture company, select wood for lumber companies or even work your way up into the top of the industry, you'll need at least a bachelor's degree in wood science or forestry.

You may want to choose a school in the WoodLINKS cooperative program, which works directly with industry to offer courses and training geared toward industry needs. Another possibility is choosing one of the university programs in the U.S. accredited by the Society of Wood Science and Technology.

Wood science programs have different names, such as wood industries, forest products marketing or forestry. But all of them require lots of science, math, business and communications courses as well as classes about wood -- how it grows and behaves and how to process it, manufacture it and use it.

A typical day in a wood science program might include classes in tree physiology, forest ecology, harvesting, management, wood grading and wood mechanics, followed by an afternoon of lab exercises in the woods.

Some schools require field practica to let students get their feet wet in the woods. At Auburn University, students spend all summer in an Alabama forestry center before they can even start taking wood science courses in the classroom.

Other schools have arranged co-ops with industry and require students to spend several semesters actually working in a wood manufacturing company while they're earning their degrees.

Interested high school students should be learning "all the math, science and 'people skills' they can," says Kent Hanby of the school of forestry at Auburn.

"The science should include biology, chemistry and physics," he adds. "The math should take them to calculus and analysis."

Be sure to handle some wood before you start. "Take wood shop in school," advises Sandy McKellar, the wood science student coordinator at a university.

There are the usual costs of tuition and books. In addition, many schools require special equipment, such as drafting tools, work boots or a compass.


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Woodworkers

For more information related to this field of study, see: Forest and Conservation Workers

Forests Facts
Discover fun facts and other information about forests

Find out about careers in the wood products industry

Wood Database
Do research on the different types of wood and more


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