Frequently Asked Questions

Who must be licensed?

Any person holding himself or herself out to the public as a forester must be licensed.  26 V.S.A. § 4903(a)(4).  And regardless of title, any person practicing forestry must be licensed.  Id. § 4903(a)(3).  The practice of forestry is defined by statute:

“Forestry” means the science, art, and practice of creating, managing, using, and conserving forests and associated resources to meet desired goals, needs, and values, including timber management, wildlife management, biodiversity management, and watershed management. Forestry science consists of those biological, physical, quantitative, managerial, and social sciences that are applied to forest management. Forestry services include investigations, consultations, timber inventory, and appraisal, development of forest management plans, and responsible supervision of forest management or other forestry activities on public or private lands.

“Forestry” does not include services for the physical implementation of cutting, hauling, handling, or processing of forest products or for the physical implementation of silvicultural treatments and practices.
--26 V.S.A. § 4902(4).

Do loggers have to be licensed?

No.  Loggers are not licensed in Vermont.  Loggers, haulers, and others who physically implement forest treatments and practices, but who do not engage in forestry as defined by law, are unaffected by the licensure requirement.

Are there exemptions to licensure?

Yes.  See 26 V.S.A. § 4904. 

The following are exempt from licensure:

  • individuals, colleges or universities, families, and family trusts, practicing forestry on lands they themselves own;
  • a business practicing forestry on land it owns with an aggregate area of 400 acres or less;
  • a person carrying out forest practices under the general supervision of a licensed forester;
  • a person acting as an expert consultant on work related to forestry, such as forest certification audits or the study of hydrology or wildlife biology;
  • a person practicing a licensed or recognized profession, such as engineering, within a forest; or
  • a person engaged in forest-related activities that: (1) do not involve the application of forestry principles or judgment and (2) do not require forestry education, training, and experience to ensure competent performance.

When does licensing take effect?

July 1, 2016.  OPR is conducting outreach in an effort to make all foresters aware of the new law, and the Office will take a patient and reasonable approach to early enforcement.  Please help us spread awareness.    

It is in a forester’s interest to become licensed as soon as possible.  Among other things, insurers, environmental regulators, and courts will expect licensure; in some cases, they may refuse payment, permits, or enforcement of obligations to an unlicensed forester after July 1.  See, e.g., 3 V.S.A. § 127(e). 

How much does a license cost?

The initial application fee is $100 for a license valid through September 30, 2018.  3 V.S.A. § 125(b)(2). 

The biennial renewal fee is $200.   3 V.S.A. § 125(b)(3). 

How long is a license valid?

Initial forester licenses are valid through September 30, 2018

All OPR licenses renew on a biennial (every two years) cycle. 

The office will send licensed foresters reminder emails in early September of even years.  Licensees are urged to mark their calendars in early September of even years to ensure timely renewal by the end of September.

I am an SAF Certified Forester.  Does this make the application process easier?

Yes!  An SAF Certified Forester, active and in good standing, is eligible for expedited licensure. 

Have your certification details available when you apply.   

I am already licensed as a forester outside Vermont.  Does this make the application process easier?

Probably, depending on the standards of the jurisdiction that licensed you.  You may be eligible for expedited licensure if you can show (1) that you hold a valid license or registration in forestry in another United States jurisdiction, and (2) that the requirements and qualifications upon which it was issued are at least as rigorous as those in Vermont.  26 V.S.A. § 4921(4). 

Have your out-of-state license and a citation to the issuing jurisdiction’s laws or rules available when you apply.

What are the statutory requirements to obtain a forester’s license?

For new foresters, any of the following meet 26 V.S.A. § 4921 criteria for licensure:

  • A recognized bachelor’s degree or greater in forestry, two years of SAF Certified Forester experience, and passage of the SAF Certified Forester examination;
  • A recognized bachelor’s degree or greater in a forestry-related field, three years of SAF Certified Forester experience, and passage of the SAF Certified Forester examination; or
  • A recognized associate’s degree in forestry, four years of SAF Certified Forester experience, and passage of the SAF Certified Forester examination.

Are there grandfathering provisions for experienced foresters who have not taken the Certified Forester examination, or who have not obtained a degree?

Yes.  Until January 1, 2019:

  • An individual who can demonstrate at least eight years of full-time forestry practice between July 1, 2006 and July 1, 2016 may become licensed:
    • without passing the Certified Forester examination, if he or she possesses one of the degrees required by statute (recognized B.S. or greater in forestry or a related field, or recognized A.S. in forestry); or
    • without a recognized degree, if he or she passes the Certified Forester Examination.


  • An individual without a recognized degree or examination, may become licensed if he or she is determined by the Director, after due consultation with the advisor appointees, to have demonstrated through a peer-review process and production of such documentation as the Director may require, that he or she possesses both (1) significant experience and (2) forestry competencies commensurate to those of an individual eligible for licensure under the statutory requirements for new applicants.

Is continuing education required?

Yes.  The law requires that applicants to renew a license demonstrate completion of 24 hours of continuing forestry education, earned in the two-year licensing period preceding renewal.  26 V.S.A. § 4924. 

The Office will adopt administrative rules respecting continuing education.  In the interim, be assured that OPR will recognize all SAF learning activities, all state- and university-sponsored forestry trainings and courses, all continuing education recognized by other New England states, and other educational activities consistent with the SAF Continuing Forestry Education Standards and Guidelines.  Take care to retain course syllabi, handouts, and certificates of completion.  

Where and how can I apply?

Online applications will be available through the eLicensee portal.

How do I supply required paper documentation?

The online licensing system accepts file uploads in a broad range of formats.  Most required documents can be imaged to a PDF file with a desktop scanner or smartphone app.  PDF file format is preferred, but we will accept other file types (e.g., .jpg, .tif) of reasonable image quality. 

If you are unable to image and upload a document, we will accept documentation by post or fax.  Just call.

I have a question about forester licensing that isn’t answered here.

Contact Kara Shangraw, Licensing Administrator I, at kara.shangraw@nullsec.state.vt.unulls or 802.828.5434.

This page was last updated: 2018-02-13