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


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What to Expect

Students in wood science and technology programs are preparing for careers in forest products industries. They learn the specific skills for careers in everything from pulp and paper to furniture manufacturing.

Carrie-Anne Hunt chose wood science because she believes the industry is on the cusp of exciting changes. "The processing of wood will both change and increase dramatically, thereby providing opportunities for challenging work," she says.

Hunt says she spent about 30 hours each week in classes and labs, then had another 30 hours of homework and study each week.

She adds that each skill learned along the way in a wood science program is necessary for the next. "Acquired skills build on one another," she says.

For Matt Whitley, who took wood science at Auburn University, the great outdoors lured him to the field. "I grew up on a farm. I wanted a career in which I could spend a fair amount of time outside, away from a desk. Forestry was the answer for me."

His classmate, James Parker, decided on forestry in the ninth grade. "I was enrolled in an agribusiness class where I was introduced to forestry. I became involved in a Future Farmers of America forestry judging contest. Competing gave me a better insight toward what a career in forestry would be like."

Parker started his post-secondary education at a local community college, then transferred to the forestry program after two years. He says his program is challenging. "You may have to put in long hours, but it will be worth it in the future as a forester."

How to Prepare

Whitley says his high school background readied him for the challenge. "Forestry involves a lot of math and science. I had a terrific high school math teacher who prepared me well for the classes involving math."

Hunt says high school students should take a full schedule with lots of extracurricular activities to steel themselves for the workload in wood programs.


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