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 environmentalscience.org.
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.
|2||North Carolina State – Raleigh||North Carolina|
|3||University of Florida||Florida|
|4||Michigan Technological University||Michigan|
|5||University of Georgia||Georgia|
|6||California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo||California|
|7||Colorado State University – Fort Collins||Colorado|
|8||Oregon State University||Oregon|
|10||University of Wisconsin – Madison||Wisconsin|
|12||Clemson University||South Carolina|
|13||University of California – Davis||California|
|14||Michigan State University||Michigan|
|15||Texas A&M University||Texas|
|16||Pennsylvania State University||Pennsylvania|
|17||University of Minnesota||Minnesota|
|18||Iowa State University||Iowa|
|19||Southern Illinois University of Carbondale||Illinois|
|20||West Virginia University||West Virginia|
|21||The University of Tennessee||Tennesse|
|22||University of Maine||Maine|
|23||Mississipi State University||Mississipi|
|24||University of Missouri – Columbia||Missouri|
|25||University of Idaho||Idaho|
|26||University of Nevada – Reno||Nevada|
|27||University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point||Wisconsin|
|28||Northern Arizona University||Arizona|
|29||Louisiana Tech University||Louisiana|
|30||The University of Montana||Montana|
|31||Stephen F Austin State University||Texas|
|32||Humboldt State University||California|
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.
|Auburn University||Master’s||Master of Soil Water And Environmental Sciences (SWES)||Auburn/Alabama|
|Mississipi State University||Master’s||Master of Science in Forestry||Mississippi|
|Montana State University||Master’s||Master of Science in Land Resources And Environmental Sciences||Bozeman/Montana|
|North Carolina State University||Master’s||Master of Forest Biomaterials||Raleigh/North Carolina|
|Southside Virginia Community College||Associate’s||● Associate of Applied Science in Forestry|
● Associate of Applied Science in Forest Science
● Associate of Applied Science in Environmental Science
|University of Arkansas||Master’s||Master of Science in Human Environmental Sciences||Pine Bluff/Arkansas|
|University of Florida||Master’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 Idaho||Master’s||Master of Science in Environmental Science||Moscow/Idaho|
|University of South Florida||● Bachelor’s|
|● Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science & Policy|
● Master of Science in Environmental Science And Policy
● Master of Arts in Environmental Science And Policy
|Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University||Master’s||Master of Environmental Sciences And Engineering||Blacksburg/Virginia|
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 environmentalscience.org ). 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.
|Industry||Employment||Percent of Industry Employment||Hourly Mean Wage||Annual Mean Wage|
|State Government, excluding schools and hospitals (OES Designation)||3,010||0.14||$27.79||$57,790|
|Federal Executive Branch (OES Designation)||1,270||0.06||$31.26||$65,020|
|Local Government, excluding schools and hospitals (OES Designation)||1,100||0.02||$29.58||$61,520|
|Sawmills and Wood Preservation||580||0.63||$30.05||$62,500|
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:
|8,300||2.0 %||$29.67||$61,710||0.5 %|
Estimated Percentile Wages for Foresters
Stated here is the data regarding the estimated percentile wages for foresters:
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.
|State||Employment||Employment Per Thousand Jobs||Location Quotient||Hourly Mean Wage||Annual Mean Wage|
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