What Can You Do With A Forestry Degree?

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The forestry industry includes everything from creating and caring for forests to the process of obtaining natural resources from forests. If you are interested in learning how to care for forests or how you can help society benefit from natural resources provided by forests, then you should consider studying forestry in college. This article briefly touches on a few examples of schools where you can earn a forestry degree and just a handful of careers in the forestry industry to better help you decide if forestry is in your future.

Forestry Degree Programs

If forestry sounds like a subject you may want to study further, then you should begin searching late in your junior year of high school for potential colleges and universities you may want to attend that offer forestry degree programs. Consult your guidance counselor for ways in which you can best prepare for entering a forestry degree program, and take a look at some of these places of higher education that offer forestry and urban forestry degree programs.

The University of Maine offers students two degree programs related to the forestry industry: a Bachelor of Science in Forestry and a Bachelor of Science in Forest Operations, Bioproducts and Bioenergy. The Bachelor of Science in Forestry degree program goals focus on educating students on the conservation and management of the ecosystems of forests. In addition to providing students with a well-rounded educational experience, both degree programs are the only two forestry degree programs in the state that are accredited by the Society of American Foresters as first degrees within the forestry industry. They are designed to provide students with the information and skills necessary to succeed and even advance in the forestry industry. Faculty members who teach forestry courses are also involved in research and other projects within the forestry industry, which provides them with the skills and advanced knowledge to better educate students studying forestry at the University of Maine.

Located in Arcata, California and a member of the California State University System, Humboldt State University offers students a five-year degree program in forestry with five areas of concentration students can choose from. These areas include forest hydrology, forest operations, forest resource conservation, forest soils, and wildland fire management. The bachelors degree program helps students understand the effects people have on forest environments, and it also looks at silviculture and the financial aspects of the forestry industry among other topics. In addition to the bachelors degree program, the university also offers three masters degree options, including forestry, watershed management, and rangeland resources and wildland soils.

Online degree programs are also becoming increasingly popular. Many colleges and universities offer online forestry degree options, as do many online colleges and universities, for prospective students whose schedules do not allow for daily in-class courses.

Careers in Forestry

While studying for your forestry degree, you should consider what particular career paths interest you most. Choosing a select few career paths will help you in shaping your education to help mold you for the future you want most. This section provides both entry level positions and advanced career options for people who have earned degrees in forestry.

Entry Level Careers in Forestry

With an associates degree or bachelors degree in forestry and little to no experience, you may find that you qualify for one or more of the positions described below. Internships are great ways to help build both knowledge and experience that can raise your chances of getting a job in the forestry industry, putting you above other job applicants.

Forestry Technician

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Forestry technicians may do everything from maintaining clear trails and paths within forests to assisting in the control of wildfires to addressing diseases and insect infestations within forests. Therefore, most of their time is spent outdoors. They may also help in counting in and marking specific areas that are being sold for timber and planting new trees to replace those destroyed by natural disasters or taken for industrial use. Job responsibilities vary based on location and company needs. A forestry technician often possesses an associates degree or a bachelors degree in forestry, which can be obtained at a trade school or community college. Forestry technicians are dedicated to caring for the environment and have good communication and organizational skills.

Forestry technicians may earn over $30,000 annually, based on education and experience levels.


A silviculturist, also commonly referred to as a forester, spends much of his or her time in the field. Silviculturists can often be found examining the conditions of forests in order to determine ways in which those environments can be improved. People with this job title also research the soil, foliage, and other characteristics that make up forests. They also keep records of their findings, all of these aspects make the position of a silviculturist highly detail oriented. A silviculturist usually possesses a bachelors degree in forestry or another related field.

Silviculturists may earn an annual salary of around $45,000, based on education and experience levels.

Advanced Careers in Forestry

After gaining a few years of experience and/or earning a masters degree in forestry, it is possible that you may qualify for one or more of the positions described here.

Land Rehabilitation Specialist

A land rehabilitation specialist spends much of his or her time working outside to determine and implement ways in which an environment can be improved. Skills required often include but are not limited to the ability to identify issues in regard to land rehabilitation (i.e., poor soil conditions and erosion problems) and knowledge gained through a few years of experience working in the industry. Land rehabilitation specialists may possess bachelor degrees or master degrees in subjects like forestry, environmental science, and land rehabilitation.

Land rehabilitation specialists may earn an annual salary of over $50,000, based on education and experience levels.

Environmental Manager

An environmental manager is familiar with government-issued environmental rules and regulations that an organization or a company needs to follow in order to perform its purpose legally and safely. Environmental managers are often assigned administrative tasks, as well, including creating programs that provide ways to improve conditions and maintain conditions of environments in order to ensure that they remain healthy and protected. Environmental managers may possess bachelor degrees or master degrees in subjects ranging from environmental science to forestry to biology to even business management, and they also have a few years of experience working in the forestry or environmental science industry.

The salary of an environmental manager often depends on his or her degree level in addition to years of experience. Environmental managers with higher educations and more years of experience may earn around $90,000 annually.

Companies that Hire People with Forestry Degrees

Plenty of companies and private and government organizations look to hire people with forestry degrees on a regular basis in order to ensure the protection and proper upkeep of forests and other related environments. Below is only a brief list of examples of places that employ people with forestry degrees.

North Carolina Office of State Human Resources – hires positions for conservation technicians, forestry technicians, forest fire equipment operators, etc.

Iowa Department of Administrative Services – hires positions for foresters, natural resources biologists, etc.

ACRT, Inc. – headquarters in Akron, OH; hires positions for distribution utility foresters, consulting utility arborists, estimating arborists, etc.

The Davey Tree Expert Company – North America’s largest residential tree care company; hires positions for consulting foresters, inventory arborists, distribution utility foresters, environmental construction technicians, landscape technicians, etc.

The forestry industry seems to be growing at a normal, steady rate. Jobs in the forestry industry still exist, but the industry can be fairly competitive. Therefore, it is important that you build a resume that proves particularly impressive to employers looking for people with forestry degrees. Further research should be done, as well, to determine whether forestry is the right type of degree program for you before you begin applying to colleges and universities.

Author: Rose Boettinger

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  1. Career And Salary Facts About Forestry Jobs | Money News Now - […] forest technicians and foresters. Responsibilities vary from one to the next. However, if you love the outdoors, forestry could…

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