A forestry degree is a smart option for those interested in pursuing careers in agriculture and natural resources. You can earn a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in forestry. These programs provide the education and training necessary to obtain employment in a variety of settings. If you’re interested in plants and ecology, sustainability issues, and love working outdoors, a forestry degree is an excellent choice. Use the jump links below to quickly find more about the different aspects of a forestry career:
- Overview of Forestry Degree Programs
- How to Put Your Degree to Work
- Your Earning Potential
- Other Degrees Related to Forestry
Our guide below outlines the type of career you can expect to pursue with a degree in forestry, the typical salary a forester or conversation scientist can expect, and other types of degrees that are related to forestry. Over the next 10 years, the forestry industry will become highly competitive as jobs are expected to grow at only about half of the average of all other occupations (shown below). This makes it essential to obtain a degree and hands-on experience if you want to start your career.
Featured Forestry Programs
Accreditation: HLC, NCA
- BS in Environmental Science
- BS in Environmental Science - Geospatial Technologies
- BS in Geosciences
- MBA in Sustainability/Environmental Compliance
Accreditation: HLC, NCA
How to Put Your Degree to Work
Forestry degrees are designed to prepare graduates to work in a number of different roles. Not all schools have a forestry program, but they may offer an environmental studies program or a wildlife/forestry conservation degree. You first need to decide what area of forestry appeals to you. The degree usually desired for entry-level positions is a bachelor’s degree of science.
Depending on your area of interest and years of experience, you can pursue employment as a:
- Agricultural and Food Scientist
- Conservation Scientist
- Forest and Conservation Worker
You can also work for private consulting firms or the timber industry. Many industries look to hire forestry majors to provide assistance and advice to landowners. With the knowledge and skills acquired in a forestry degree program, you’ll know how to integrate biological, economic, and political considerations into land management decisions.
Your Earning Potential
According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, foresters earned a median annual wage of $57,110 as of May 2013. Salaries vary depending on location, type of employer, years of experience, and many other factors. You may earn more money by obtaining a master’s degree or working in the private sector, but those jobs are much fewer in number. Over 59% of conservation scientists and 53% of foresters work in the public sector either at the federal, state, or local levels (BLS.gov).
How much you earn also depends on what career you choose and where you live. Some areas of the country pay more due to demand and environmental conditions. It should be noted that job growth over the next decade is project to be only 6%, lower than the national average across all occupations.
Other Degrees Related to Forestry
Beginning your career is not limited to getting a degree in forestry. There are several other subjects that explore conservation, sustainability, and various ecosystems including forests. Many of these subjects can give you a foundation in forestry along with a broad understanding of the environment.
Degrees in environmental science and studies explore interactions of humans and their surroundings as well as the human impact on ecosystems. Several natural processes are analyzed in detail so students gain a better understanding of the world around them.
Environmental Management programs develop a student’s skills in leadership and communication while improving their understanding of resource management, green building, and sustainability. Emphasis is placed on making smart decisions, ethical business practices, and establishing a working relationship with specialists in various fields of environmental science.
Natural Resources and Sustainability
Natural resources and sustainability degrees teach students how humans consume materials and energy with an emphasis on conservation, efficiency, and low impact. Students will analyze several processes in the consumption and conversion of raw material and how to develop and maintain low impact procedures.