Forestry Training Programs and Requirements

Forestry programs are available at the associate's, bachelor's, master's and Ph.D. levels, and most programs include hands-on practical training. Many classes take place outdoors, which could prove valuable to employers who seek candidates with hands-on forestry training.

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Essential Information

Forestry professionals, often called foresters, supervise forest conservation, restoration and harvesting. They also direct forest-related recreational activities, such as camping, hiking and hunting. Although an associate's degree in forestry can be earned in just two years, many employers seek foresters with a bachelor's degree in forestry, forestry technology or forest science and practical experience in the field. Some foresters may pursue a graduate degree in forestry or a related science which may qualify students for teaching positions or advanced jobs in forestry, such as head forester or forest conservationist.

Associate of Science in Forestry Technology

Associate of Science (A.S.) in Forestry Technology programs introduce students to forest operations, protection and harvesting. Additionally, these programs typically explore wildlife habitats and forest ecology. Students also might learn to read air photos and maps, as well as studying basic business principles.

Bachelor of Science in Forestry

A Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Forestry program generally includes advanced forestry courses, such as wood anatomy, soil science and timber management. Students learn to use Geographic Information Systems, satellite imagery and other forestry technology. They also may be able to choose a specialization, such as forest operations and restoration or forest resources management.

Master of Science in Forestry

Master of Science (M.S.) in Forestry programs examine advanced topics, like ecosystem analysis, fishery biology and political ecology. Like bachelor's degree curricula, master's degree programs often offer areas of specialization, such as agroforesty or forest molecular genetics.

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Ph.D. in Forestry

Doctoral programs in forestry prepare students for careers in research or university-level teaching. Ph.D. candidates typically must complete an independent investigation that significantly contributes to a specialty area of forestry, like environmental impact assessment or watershed hydrology. Some colleges and universities also require doctoral students to declare a minor.

Continuing Education

An increase in ecological and environmental awareness has led to a larger number of forestry workshops. Conservation organizations and government institutions offer a variety of seminars on topics such as low-impact forestry, wood lot management and forestry-related climate effects. A variety of courses are available to forestry professionals who want to stay current in forestry techniques, such as road drainage. These programs typically are offered through colleges and universities.

Additionally, the Society of American Foresters (SAF) offers voluntary certification. Candidates for the Certified Forester credential must meet education and experience requirements, in addition to passing an exam. Some states require licensure or mandatory or voluntary registration for foresters. In general, requirements for licensing or registration include completion of a bachelor's degree in forestry or a related field, as well as proof of work experience. Licensure candidates also might have to pass an exam.

Students wishing to enroll in a forestry training program can pursue a degree at the undergraduate or graduate level to experience classroom learning and extensive hands-on training. Licensing and certification options are available to forestry professionals who have completed their degree program.

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