What to Expect from a Forestry Degree Program

Online Forestry Degrees

Forestry degree programs are available at nearly every level of study from certificate and associate to bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Many schools now offer forestry degrees online, making it easier to continue your education. But many students are unfamiliar with forestry as a degree program so we’re here to help you understand the ins and outs of forestry degrees and what to expect as a student pursuing this field of study.

Types of Programs

Before entering into a forestry program, one should consider the qualities and personality traits that a forester or conservation scientist generally has. There is necessarily a physical element to the job, as you will be responsible for large swaths of land, ranging in weather conditions from extreme heat to extreme cold. Fast analytical and critical thinking skills are a must when the rare dire situation is upon you, such as forest fires or missing persons. Likewise, management and speaking skills should be perfect, as you may have other rangers working below you, depending on how far you are looking to advance in your forestry career.

As far as what type of degree to get, whether you’re a recent high school graduate, a career changer, or someone looking to enter the forestry profession, you have a few options to consider:

  • Associate Degree: In about two years or less, you can earn an associate degree in forestry. These programs often train students to become forestry technicians, fisheries technician, or game warden, among others. You’ll enroll in a series of courses that will most likely cover the following topics:
    • Introduction to Forestry
    • Forest Biology / Ecology
    • Forest Management
    • Forest Fire Control
    • Forest Insects and Diseases
    • Forest Measurements
    • Forest Products
    • Forest Recreation
    • General Botany
    • Harvesting / Primary Manufacturing
    • Land Surveying
    • Wildlife Management
    • Urban Forestry
  • Bachelor’s Degree: In three or four years, you can earn a bachelor’s degree in a number of different areas related to forestry such as conservation, environmental management, ecology, and environmental studies. Many schools offer a Bachelor of Science degree with a concentration in one of aforementioned concentrations. This degree will prepare you to work as a forest manager, wildland fire supervisor, or natural resource specialist, among others. You’ll enroll in a series of courses that will most likely cover the following topics:
    • Entomology
    • Ecosystems
    • Environmental Economics
    • Forest Biometrics
    • Forest Management
    • Geology
    • Natural Resource Policy
    • Recreational Land Management
    • Soil Science
    • Zoology

  • Master’s Degree: A master’s degree often takes two to three years to complete and requires students to complete career-specific courses, most likely, in one area of specialization such as conservation, environmental science, or green building practices, just to name a few. Many schools offer a Master of Science degree in a forestry-related field that prepares graduates to assume leadership and managerial roles. Below are a few classes you can expect to take while pursuing your master’s degree in forestry or a related field:
    • Forestry Management
    • Forest Operations
    • Forest Procurement
    • Environmental Law
    • Timber Conservation
    • Wildlife Biology

Whichever path you decide is right for you, remember to make sure whatever program you choose is accredited by the Society of American Foresters. There are accredited programs by the SAF in every state. Likewise, one can also attain professional certification from the Society for Range Management in rangeland management or as a range management consultant.

Sponsored Forestry Programs

Purdue University

Accreditation: HLC, NCA


Request Information

Click here to see more Forestry and Environmental Science programs...

Online Programs in Forestry

Are you currently working but want to pursue a degree in forestry? You can do both, and it’s not as daunting as you might think. Online programs are growing in size and popularity due to the flexibility and convenience they offer. Some schools offer degree programs entirely online while others follow a hybrid format that combines face-to-face instruction with online learning.

If an online program sounds like a good fit, make sure to find a school that is both accredited and reputable. Research online and look for additional information about the program before making a decision. And be far-reaching in your search as there are number of specialization areas in forestry to consider, such as:

  • Community Economic Development
  • Ecological and Environmental Economics
  • Environmental Protection and Conservation
  • Forest Ecosystem management
  • Land Resource Inventory and Interpretation
  • Land, Soil, and Water Conservation
  • Landscape Ecology
  • Land and Water Use
  • Tropical Forestry and Agro-Forestry

Below you’ll find a list of accredited degree programs that offer a variety of options for students looking to enter the forestry industry. Whether you’re just starting out or ready to earn your master’s degree, there’s a degree program designed with you in mind.