Forestry Degree Programs – Online and Campus School List 2019

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Forestry, also known as Silviculture, is the science which concerns itself with taking care of the forests for the benefit of humans. Those who decide to get a degree in forestry are called Foresters. Forestry revolves around looking after the woodlands and forests along with mending the damage that has been done to them so that they can keep being an asset to humans and the environment. Simply put, forestry is the art which teaches us how to take care of our forests. Some of the concerns associated with it are – preserving forests, biodiversity management, wildlife habitat, erosion control, etc.

If you are thinking to build a career in forestry and wondering how to become a forester, then you have come to the right place because this article is all bout the best forestry degree programs and schools of the year 2019.

Forestry as a Career

The rapid and gradual rise in the human population and pollution is causing irreparable damage to our forests. From harvesting them for timber to clearing them off to make settlements, we have made deep and unmendable dents on our forests and by extension on our environment.  The most important thing that a forester learns during his education is – how to keep the forests safe and available to humans at the same time. It is a subtle craft, trying to find the right balance between preservation and exploitation.

A person thinking of majoring in forestry can choose from many specialization courses which are provided by forestry schools all across the United States. Carbon management is one of the hottest specialization offered by schools that offer forestry degrees. It focuses on the increasing carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere and teaches us how plants can help us in stopping that. Urban forestry degree is another exciting course that you can go for as it focuses on how green areas and forests can be preserved in cities and metropolitan areas.

Requirements for Forestry Degree Course

The requirements to join a forestry degree program vary from institution to institution. While some universities conduct their entrance exams, some take your previous academic records into consideration and decide if you are good enough in a particular subject to go through with this course. The typical GPA that you need in order to get into a good forestry course is 2.5.

How Long Does it Take to get Forestry Degree?

Professional foresters are required to have a 4-year forestry and wildlife management bachelor’s degree from any of the colleges that have been accredited by the Society of American Foresters (SAF). Forestry courses provided by these colleges include biology, chemistry, and physical, natural and environmental sciences. For a post in research and teaching areas, foresters are required to have an experience as a forester and a master’s or a Ph.D. degree.

Types of Forestry Degrees

Like any other profession, forestry also has a selection of certifications and degrees that you can opt for and advance your career.

1. Associate’s Degree in Forestry

While it is not a necessity for a person to get a professional degree to become a forest technician, but some jobs do require you to undertake a 2-year associate course from a SAF accredited technical university or college. Many schools provide a forestry technician degree online as well. The prime topics that are aimed by these courses include soil science, biology, and forest management. One is eligible to go for an associate’s degree in forestry with a high school diploma or GED. The average fee for a forest technician course from any community college is $6,600.

2. Bachelor’s Degree in Forestry

To become a professional forester, you are required to acquire a 4-year bachelor’s degree in forestry. At the beginning of these courses, students are subjected to foundational courses in areas like chemistry, geology, and biology. Then, with each semester, the level of study elevates, and they are trained in subjects like environmental sciences, geography, hydrology, natural resource management, etc. Moreover, since foresters work on finding a way by which forests can be protected and used at the same time, they are given thorough training in social sciences and arts as well.

A person with a high school diploma or GED along with sufficient SAT or ACT scores is eligible to take up these courses. Getting a bachelor’s degree in forestry from a public college will cost you somewhere around $9,139 per year if you are an in-state student, and $23,000 if you are not.  On the other hand, a bachelor’s degree from a private school will cost you around $31,231 per year.

3. Master’s Degree in Forestry

Professionals with an experience as foresters opt for a master’s degree if they are looking to advance in their field. The whole idea behind taking a master’s course is to get a job of a policymaker or researcher. These courses cover advance scientific research coursework in subjects like ecology, taxonomy, statistics, etc.

To apply for a master’s in forestry, one must have a bachelor’s degree from a SAF recognized institution and submit his GRE or GMAT scores as well. These courses cost at least $11,000 per year in public institutions while $25,000 per year in private ones. Other than the campus courses, there are multiple online graduate courses which you can take if your lifestyle prevents you from undertaking a full-time campus course.

4. Doctoral Programs in Forestry

Those foresters who are looking to move into scientific research and education field are the ones who usually go for Ph.Ds. Statistics, quantitative methods, research, and teaching methodologies form a part of this course along with advanced studies of natural science, forest management, and law and policies regarding man’s impact on forests and how to keep it to a bare minimum. These degrees can be obtained by paying a fee of $55,000 at public and $125,000 at private institutions.

Note: The fee details for all the courses has been taken from

Online Forestry Schools and Degrees

Those who do not have the means or time to go to a college full-time can also get their degree online. With the world rapidly truing to a digitally connected ecosystem, many schools, colleges and universities run their distance learning programs which help students take courses of their choice online. There are multiple online degrees to be gained for aspiring foresters. Associate’s, bachelor’s, and graduate’s degrees in forestry can be earned from an accredited online forestry school quite conveniently.

Top Forestry Degree Schools

Below is the list of top 32 academic institutions in the USA for on-campus forestry degrees and it has been organized on the basis of their overall ranking for various forestry courses that are offered by them. The list has been put together by collegefactual using their carefully devised rating methodology which focuses on the education quality, earning levels of the graduates, accreditation and other such factors of the listed organizations.

1Virginia TechVirginia
2North Carolina State – RaleighNorth Carolina
3University of FloridaFlorida
4Michigan Technological UniversityMichigan
5University of GeorgiaGeorgia
6California Polytechnic State University – San Luis ObispoCalifornia
7Colorado State University – Fort CollinsColorado
8Oregon State UniversityOregon
9Auburn UniversityAlabama
10University of Wisconsin – MadisonWisconsin
11Purdue UniversityIndiana
12Clemson UniversitySouth Carolina
13University of California – DavisCalifornia
14Michigan State UniversityMichigan
15Texas A&M UniversityTexas
16Pennsylvania State UniversityPennsylvania
17University of MinnesotaMinnesota
18Iowa State UniversityIowa
19Southern Illinois University of CarbondaleIllinois
20West Virginia UniversityWest Virginia
21The University of TennesseeTennesse
22University of MaineMaine
23Mississipi State UniversityMississipi
24University of Missouri – ColumbiaMissouri
25University of IdahoIdaho
26University of Nevada – RenoNevada
27University of Wisconsin – Stevens PointWisconsin
28Northern Arizona UniversityArizona
29Louisiana Tech UniversityLouisiana
30The University of MontanaMontana
31Stephen F Austin State UniversityTexas
32Humboldt State UniversityCalifornia

Top Online Forestry Schools

Apart from on-campus courses, there is a lot of colleges and universities that offer online degrees to students across the country. Below is the list of ten of the most popular institutions.

InstitutionDegree TypeCourseCity/State
Auburn UniversityMaster’sMaster of Soil Water And Environmental Sciences (SWES)Auburn/Alabama
Mississipi State UniversityMaster’sMaster of Science in ForestryMississippi
Montana State UniversityMaster’sMaster of Science in Land Resources And Environmental SciencesBozeman/Montana
North Carolina State UniversityMaster’sMaster of Forest BiomaterialsRaleigh/North Carolina
Southside Virginia Community CollegeAssociate’s● Associate of Applied Science in Forestry

● Associate of Applied Science in Forest Science

● Associate of Applied Science in Environmental Science

University of ArkansasMaster’sMaster of Science in Human Environmental SciencesPine Bluff/Arkansas
University of FloridaMaster’s● Master of Science in Forest Resources And Conservation – Natural Resource Policy And Administration

● Master of Science in Forest Resources And Conservation – Geomatics

● Master of Science in Forest Resources And Conservation – Ecological Restoration

● Master of Science in Soil And Water Science – Environmental Science

University IdahoMaster’sMaster of Science in Environmental ScienceMoscow/Idaho
University of South Florida● Bachelor’s

● Master’s

● Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science & Policy

● Master of Science in Environmental Science And Policy

● Master of Arts in Environmental Science And Policy

St. Petersburg/Florida
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityMaster’sMaster of Environmental Sciences And EngineeringBlacksburg/Virginia

Source: FireScienceOnline

Job Opportunities for Forestry Graduates

The prime job of a forester, regardless of his/her post, is to heal the damage that has been done to the forests and educate humans on how to use them responsibly and in ways which don’t cause any harm to our environment. From natural resource management to soil erosion and the conservation of natural habitats for various animals and urban forestry, foresters are responsible for many jobs.

While it is a relevant field of study and career, opportunities in the forestry field are going to experience a sluggish growth of 3% by the year 2022 (according to ). Most foresters are hired by state and USDA forest agencies, while the rest of them either go for teaching jobs or are hired by private institutions such as lumber companies, forestry companies, etc.

Which Industries Hire Most Foresters?

Given below is the data related to the industries which hire most foresters and how well they are paid.

IndustryEmploymentPercent of Industry EmploymentHourly Mean WageAnnual Mean Wage
State Government, excluding schools and hospitals (OES Designation)3,0100.14$27.79$57,790
Federal Executive Branch (OES Designation)1,2700.06$31.26$65,020
Local Government, excluding schools and hospitals (OES Designation)1,1000.02$29.58$61,520
Sawmills and Wood Preservation5800.63$30.05$62,500

Source: BLS

As you can see from the table, state governments hire the most foresters and pay them $27.79 per hour wages. Following state governments are federal branches, local governments, and closing the list are the logging and the sawmills, and wood preservation industries.

National Salary for Foresters

Given below is the estimated data related to the national wages for foresters:



Mean Hourly


Mean Annual


Wage RSE
8,3002.0 %$29.67$61,7100.5 %

Source: BLS

Estimated Percentile Wages for Foresters

Stated here is the data regarding the estimated percentile wages for foresters:



Hourly Wage$19.46$23.55$28.90$34.73$40.78
Annual Wage$40,480$48,980$60,120$72,250$84,830

Source: BLS

Top Paying States for Foresters

Foresters in different states are paid different hourly and annual wages. The state of New Jersey pays foresters the highest per hour and annual salaries, with California, Louisiana, Connecticut, and Alaska coming right behind it.

StateEmploymentEmployment Per Thousand JobsLocation QuotientHourly Mean WageAnnual Mean Wage
New Jersey300.010.14$37.25$77,490

Source: BLS

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