Forestry Schools Colleges & Universities

Deforestation, disease, and natural disasters have led to a slow decrease in the size of the world's forests. Degrees in forestry can prepare students to manage, maintain, and conserve forests, one of the world's greatest resources.

Forestry Colleges Prepare Students to Protect the Earth's Natural Resources: Nearly 31 percent of the earth's total land area is comprised of forest land, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Due to deforestation and natural disasters, approximately 13 million hectares of forest around the world were lost, which is roughly equivalent to an area the size of Costa Rica.

Foresters and forest conservationists develop, maintain, and conserve forest lands to preserve our natural forests and, as a result, protect species living within them. To do so responsibly and effectively requires training, which can be earned through forestry colleges.

An Overview of Forestry Schools: While many forestry occupations can be earned with little more than a high school diploma and some on-the-job training, advancement to forester or conservationist positions generally requires bachelor's degrees in forestry or a related subject, such as botany or natural resources management and conservation. An associate degree is the standard requirement to become a forestry technician. Private and public colleges offering on-ground and online forestry degrees can be found in most states.

Formal training from forestry colleges gives you the necessary blend of classroom and fieldwork that is essential to preparing you for this industry. While every forestry program is unique, some typical courses in this major include:

  • • Botany (the study of plants)
  • • Forest ecology
  • • Forest economics
  • • Forest management and policy
  • • Geographic information systems
  • • Silviculture (the care of trees)

Your courses will take you into labs or into the field to collect specimens and record data. Specializations are also encouraged within forestry, such as natural resources conservation or urban forestry.

Accrediting bodies for forestry colleges include the Society of American Foresters and the Society of Wood Science and Technology. Becoming a member in these organizations can be of benefit to you as you pursue your degree, because it provides networking opportunities, tips on the latest research and best practices, and opportunities to participate in advocacy initiatives.

Where Degrees in Forestry Can Lead: If you think park rangers are the only people benefiting from forestry degrees, think again. Foresters and forestry technicians conduct research and collect data that aids in developing, sustaining, and promoting forest growth. The majority of forestry workers are employed by federal, state, and local governments, you can expect your most frequented workplace to be the great outdoors, which many forestry schools' students consider a plus for this profession.

Degrees in forestry can lead to a number of career options:

  • • Conservation scientist
  • • Forester or forestry technician
  • • Industrial production manager
  • • Landscape architect
  • • Urban and regional planner

The largest concentrations of forestry workers are found in the Dakotas, New Mexico, Louisiana, and Hawaii, although these jobs can be found in any area, be it urban or rural. Growth among forest and conservation worker jobs is projected to be around 9 percent, which is about average for all occupations. The median annual wage for these workers in May 2009 was $25,580, although salaries generally depend on employer; state governments tend to pay more than federal or local ones, and private firms tend to pay more than public entities.

For more information on degrees in forestry, explore schools here on

The writer Jessica Santina is a freelance writer and editor with 12 years' experience in media, marketing, and publishing, and 9 years' experience as a college writing instructor.


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