Forestry is a major that combines many aspects of environmental conservation and management. Professionals have the ability to analyze the growth and production of trees, determine the relationship between forests and wildlife, and work to prevent forest fires. If you love the outdoors and would like to use scientific and mathematical skills to problem solve, Forestry may be your major.
Within the general major of Forestry are specific concentrations that allow you to work in different fields caring for trees near dense populations or determining how to grow trees for wood products while maintaining a balance with living organisms in the area. Some specific Forestry concentrations include Forest Sciences and Biology, Forest Management/Forest Resources Management, Urban Forestry, Wood Science and Wood Products/Pulp and Paper Technology, Forest Resources Production and Management, and Forest Technology/Technician.
When deciding on a school, keep in mind employers often employ applicants who have degrees from programs that are accredited by the Society of American Foresters (SAF) and other organizations.
A career in forestry requires a strong background in science, math, and computer science. A successful forester loves the outdoors and enjoys problem solving. Since a lot of the job requires being outside, you should be passionate about the outdoors and in good physical shape. You must also have strong analytical and critical thinking skills so you can properly analyze the data collected and decide how to best approach issues concerning trees, their production and product collection, and their relationship to local populations.
Foresters spend much of their time outdoors, possibly in remote locations, depending on the type of work they are doing. Work is done in all types of weather conditions, can be physically demanding, and may require extended stays at campsites. However, there are career options that allow foresters to work in labs, or work with the public teaching others about conservation and how to properly interact with the natural environment. Most forester jobs follow an average work schedule with occasional long hours when working on projects.
Internships, summer jobs, or work with environmental agencies is the best way to gain experience in the Forestry field. These experiences give students basic knowledge and forestry skills.
Many foresters are employed by state or federal governments, which oversee national parks, and work as forest and park rangers, managers or supervisors. Foresters are also employed by private firms to work as growers, assessors, and consultants or work in offices and labs performing experiments and working to create policies or solutions to forest related issues.
Currently the job market for foresters hasn't seen much of an increase, but the demand for foresters is expected to increase as the concern for environmental issues increases. Forestry graduates have an average starting salary of $38,635 with a mid-career salary of $67,437.
Here is a small sample of the careers that a degree in Forestry might open up.