Forest engineering combines engineering, forestry, and management skills to address challenges in forested lands where sustainable harvesting is a prime objective. Forest engineers help design, construct, and evaluate forest industry operations. This can include building new roads, designing forestry equipment, planning forest harvesting, and undertaking transport logistics. Forest engineers are also required to resolve issues of competing objectives related to a forest. One the one hand, commercial operations must be profitable; on the other hand environmental requirements, watersheds, soils, wildlife and fish habitats must be protected. Forest engineers design the harvest plans and transport systems that allow both goals to be met. And all must be done safely and efficiently. Hence forest engineers must also oversee the construction of campsites, loading docks, bridges and equipment shelters. Beyond individual harvesting operations, forest engineers also work on national, and even, international, pursuits. For instance, wood-based biomass may become a significant source of alternative energy in the near future. And as forests store carbon, forest engineers are called up to work with governments and international agencies to undertake research and to define the relevant policies.
Requirements for Engineering Licensure in Canada
If you are not licensed to work as an engineer in Canada you must be prepared to work under the direct supervision of a licensed professional engineer. To work independently you must obtain a P.Eng. designation awarded by one of the provincial or territorial engineering authorities whose role it is to govern the engineering profession in Canada. Although they differ slightly among the provinces and territories, the basic requirements for licensure are:
- An engineering degree awarded by a Canadian or Canadian equivalent university;
- A minimum of four years of relevant engineering experience of which one year must have been gained in Canada;
- Successful completion of a Professional Practice Examination;
- Canadian citizenship of proof of permanent residency in Canada;
- Be of good character as vouched for by three referees.
The process of obtaining your P. Eng. can start even before you arrive in Canada. Visit the Roadmap to Engineering in Canada at newcomers.engineerscanada.ca. This takes you to the Engineers Canada website. There you can link to the provincial or territorial body where you plan to work and obtain the necessary application forms and list of required documentation.
Alternative Careers in Engineering Technology
Engineering technicians and technologists may offer non-regulated engineering and technical services directly to the public. They must, however, work under the supervision of a Professional Engineer when providing professional engineering services to an employer or the public.
Technologists apply theoretical and practical methods to design, plan, develop, test, manufacture, construct, install, commission, operate and maintain engineered products, processes, systems and services. Technicians apply theoretical and practical methods to assist with the design, development, manufacturing, testing, construction, installation, commission, operation and maintenance of engineered products, processes, systems and services.
If your training and or work experience is in engineering but you chose not to become licensed as a professional engineer you may be qualified to work in a wide range of technology occupations as a professional technician or technologist. Discover the many alternative career pathways to rewarding and well paid occupations in engineering technology.