Pulp careers can include jobs in pulp and paper production mills, as well as office work and sales. Some within this field may be employed in research and development, while others pursue careers in forestry. The level of training and education required depends on the position and the employer. Some jobs are open to high school graduates with no special training, but others may require advanced degrees like a master’s or doctorate in chemistry. Employment prospects are variable, but can be better for people with advanced skills and familiarity with the industry.
Within a pulp plant, facilities need material handlers, equipment operators, and supervisors. Such jobs typically don’t have specific educational requirements and people may learn on the job. In some cases, certification is required for these pulp careers; for example, a special license may be needed to drive heavy equipment.
Pulp and paper companies also need accountants, marketing staff, and other support personnel. They handle accounts, promote products, and cultivate relationships with vendors and customers. Familiarity with the industry in addition to formal training is usually required for these pulp careers. An accountant who is familiar with the pulping process, for instance, is in a better position to review and prepare financial records and make sure they are accurate.
Foresters provide support with identifying trees to harvest, supervising the process, and managing environmental sustainability plans. Pulp careers are also open to chemists interested in pollution control and environmental responsibility. They can work at plants to reduce pollution in addition to developing new plans for keeping facilities cleaner. These jobs typically require more education and training because they require specialized skills.
Other types of pulp careers are in research and development. Companies need to develop new paper products to keep pace with the competition, including products for custom and special applications. Chemists may work in this area along with people like graphic designers, printers, and other professionals who may work with paper and have an interest in paper products. This creative work can take place in think tanks as well as laboratories where technicians experiment with new papers and processes.
People interested in pulp careers may review individual job openings to see what kinds of positions are available and what the requirements may be. If a college education is required, it can be helpful to attend a school with ties to the industry. Students should also plan on pursuing internships in pulp and paper while in school to give them experience and connections they can use when applying for jobs after graduation.