Master's Degree in Forestry: Salary & Jobs

Graduates with a master's degree in forestry are qualified for several careers in the natural sciences. Find out about some of the career options, their median salaries and expected job growth rates.

A master's degree program in forestry incorporates many of the natural sciences and produces a well-rounded education in graduates that can be applied to several different scientific careers. Explore some of the available career options for those with a master's degree in forestry.

Related Careers for a Master's Degree in Forestry

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Foresters $58,700 8%
Conservation Scientists $61,810 7%
Environmental Scientists and Specialists $68,910 11%
Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists $60,520 4%
Hydrologists $80,480 7%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Descriptions


Some foresters choose to pursue a master's degree in the field, which may allow them to move into more managerial positions. These professionals are responsible for overseeing forest and conservation workers as they carry out various forestry activities. Depending on the needs of a particular area, foresters may do controlled burns, spray herbicides and plant new trees. They monitor the regeneration of these areas and help determine ways to harvest timber that will not negatively affect the environment.

Conservation Scientists

Conservation scientists may also choose to earn a master's or doctorate degree to grow and apply their knowledge in implementing various conservation activities. They may be responsible for managing the land quality of a particular area, which involves planning activities that will provide sustainability to the area while protecting natural resources. They also ensure that all activities comply with current regulations and communicate with landowners to perform different conservation activities while protecting the environment.

Environmental Scientists and Specialists

Environmental scientists and specialists usually need a master's degree for advancement, and any background in a natural science, such as forestry, will prove beneficial. These scientists monitor the quality of various environments by collecting and analyzing soil, water, air and other biological samples. Once pollution or other contamination is detected, they work to clean up the problem and also develop possible solutions to prevent the further damage to the area. They must report their findings in technical reports that may in turn have implications to human health that the public needs to be made aware of.

Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists

Those with a master's degree in forestry who are interested in studying or working with wildlife may pursue a career as a zoologist or wildlife biologist. Wildlife courses are often a part of a forestry program's curriculum and zoologists and wildlife biologists may need a master's degree for more advanced positions in the field. These scientists study various species of animals and how they interact with their environments. They also research how human impact on these environments affect the animal, which can lead to better conservation methods for a particular species or group of animals.


Graduate level forestry programs likely contain courses and/or specializations in watershed management and other areas of hydrology, which could prepare graduates for a career as a hydrologist. Many hydrologists start their career with a master's degree as they study different bodies of water, as well as the quality and quantity of this water. Hydrologists with a forestry background may focus on studying data and finding ways to minimize erosion, pollution and other factors that may affect watersheds and/or groundwater supplies. Hydrologists' research and findings are used to address real problems with water quality and availability all over the world.

A master's degree in forestry prepares students for several different careers in research and conservation. Most of these careers require a master's degree for advanced positions and offer reasonable median salaries (greater than $50,000 per the BLS).

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