What is a forestry Degree?
Forestry is one of the most fascinating careers in the world. It’s a combination of science and art, with an emphasis on learning about the environment and how to protect it.
There are so many reasons to become a forester, but the most important is because you want to work with nature and be able to help people.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 7% job growth between 2021-2030 for forestry jobs such as conservation scientist and forester, which means there are plenty of jobs for those with a degree in forestry.
A career in forestry could be a fantastic fit for you if you are naturally passionate about conservation and outdoors. Forestry graduates help mitigate challenges such as spreading invasive species, losing forest land, and climate change.
An online forestry degree offers knowledge, skills, and training for a variety of forestry-related jobs. Students develop expertise in forest management, ecosystems, natural resource policy, and other environmental topics.
In addition to learning practical skills like tree identification and herbicide application, you’ll get an education in business management and marketing. You’ll also get exposure to topics like sustainable development and environmental policy, which will help prepare you for the real world after graduation.
Types of Degrees Available in Forestry
Forestry Degrees are available at several different degree levels. These levels range from certificate to Ph.D., the highest Forestry degree available. Additionally, the length of time it takes to earn a Forestry degree program varies depending on the type of degree you choose.
|Degree||Credit Requirements||Typical Program Length|
|Associate Degree||60-70 credits||2 years|
|Bachelor’s Degree||120 credits||4 years|
|Master’s Degree||50-70 credits||1-3 years|
|Doctorate||Program requires coursework including thesis or dissertation||At least 4 years|
What Are the Entry Requirements for a Forestry Degree?
Different programs have different entry requirements for bachelor’s degrees in forestry. A high school diploma or GED is required for all applicants. They must also submit exam results and school transcripts; some schools need a minimum GPA of 2.5 to 3.0. The candidate’s readiness for college-level science education is demonstrated by completing math and science prerequisite courses successfully.
Many programs accept students who have an associate’s degree or other credits from an authorized institution. They could also receive credit for prior employment or military service. This quickens degree completion and lowers the cost of an online forestry degree.
Accreditation of Programs
When choosing a university, accreditation is crucial since it evaluates the college and ensures that it complies with certain requirements. It assists students in having the optimal learning experience possible.
There are accreditation organizations that the US Department of Education recognizes, and they can be checked in the US accreditation database.
The accreditation of postsecondary degree-granting forestry, urban forestry, natural resources and ecosystem management, and forest technology programs is the responsibility of SAF. A variety of options or curriculum options are offered by many academic programs around the nation, albeit not all of them are accredited.
11 Cheapest Online Forestry Programs Starting from $239 Tuition Per Credit Hour
1. Dakota College at Bottineau
Tuition Per Credit hour: $239.20
The Dakota Collage’s online Associate of Applied Science in Urban Forest Management program is designed for students looking for careers working in the tree care industry and focuses on urban forestry courses, specifically with fewer general education courses. Students will learn proper tree care, tree identification, pruning techniques, disease management, safe work practices, and essential urban forest management and communication skills. Graduates generally work as commercial arborists in municipal forestry agencies or parks and recreation departments at the entry level.
Dakota College at Bottineau is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Institution of Higher Education Higher Learning Commission.
2. Oregon State University
Tuition: $560 Per Credit hour
The online Graduate Certificate in Urban Forestry program prepares students with the knowledge and skills to address complex urban natural resource issues at the nation, state, or local levels. The curriculum prepares students to think both scientifically and strategically as they learn to effectively apply the principles of urban forestry, green infrastructure, planning, policy, management, and leadership to the management of urban forests and urban forestry programs. Graduates will be able to advance their urban forestry programs, address critical natural resource challenges such as invasive species and climate change, and make cities more livable by effectively capitalizing on the benefits that urban trees provide.
Oregon State University is ranked #162 in National Universities and accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), one of the seven institutional accrediting agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education
3. Penn State University
Tuition: $15,586 (Resident)
A Bachelor of Science in Forestry degree from Penn State is a great option if you want to study forestry but don’t want to take on the burden of going away for school. This program’s online degree completion time is five years, and courses are taught by the same faculty that teach on-campus classes. Online classes cover topics like forest ecology, forest management practices, and sustainable development.
For those who prefer learning in a hybrid format that combines classroom instruction with online lectures and assignments, Penn State offers its forestry BS program in this way as well.
Pennsylvania State University has received accreditation for this degree from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
4. Green River College
Tuition Per Year: $7,519.00
Green River offers an online Bachelor of Science in Forest Resource Management that can be completed entirely online. The Bachelor of Science in Forest Resource Management program is 120 credit hours; the first two years are spent at Green River, and then students move on to complete their final year of study at a university partner. The final Year includes fieldwork, which requires students to travel for a period of time each summer.
Green River College is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and ranks #1 when it comes to the number of international students at a community college in Washington State, and #11 in the USA overall
5. Colorado State University Global Campus
Tuition Rates: $720 per credit hour
If you’re interested in pursuing a degree in forestry, Colorado State University Global Campus is an excellent option. Their online Master of Natural Resources offers courses that emphasize the importance of sustainable resource management and land stewardship. Students can choose between two specialized tracks: Forest Ecosystems Management and Natural Resource Industries.
The program also has minors available for students who want to focus their studies on specific areas of interest within the field, including Forest Resource Management, Natural Resources Conservation, and Wildlife Research and Conservation.
Colorado State University has received accreditation for this program from the Higher Learning Commission.
6. Mississippi State University
Tuition & Required Fees: $539.00 per credit hour
Degree: Master of Science in Forestry
The online Master of Science in Forestry program from Mississippi State University prepares students to live and work on the land effectively and resourcefully by combining career and education. Students should have degrees that focus on biological, natural sciences, or business policy or have experience working in forestry-related fields in order to pursue this degree. The curriculum highlights natural resource policy and law, forest economics, and forest management.
Mississippi State University is ranked #196 and it has received accreditation for this study from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
7. Michigan State University
The online Graduate Certificate in Forest Carbon Science, Policy & Management program can be applied to carbon mitigation projects in different areas such as corporations, governments, and non-government organizations. The curriculum, which has a global focus, provides students with the multidisciplinary tools and conceptual foundations they need to plan, carry out, oversee, and assess forestry-based climate change mitigation programs.
Graduates understand the scientific foundations of climate change, forest climate interactions, and how forest management affects forest carbon balance. They also learn the ins and outs of the social context of forest carbon sequestration, forest carbon markets, and the tools for measuring, monitoring, and accounting for forest carbon.
Michigan Technological University has received accreditation for this graduate degree from the Higher Learning Commission.
8. North Carolina State University at Raleigh
Tuition Per Credit hour: $505.28 (Resident)
Degree: Master of Forest Biomaterials
The online Master of Forest Biomaterials program is tailored to meet the career objectives of working professionals employed in the paper and allied industries. The program’s electives, which make up half of the curriculum and enable students to tailor their degrees to their goals and interests, complement the conventional scientific and engineering courses that make up the curriculum. Students must complete an independent project and a seminar, but there is no thesis requirement for this degree.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has provided North Carolina State University with accreditation for this master’s in forestry. The university is also ranked #79 in National Universities.
9. University of Florida
Tuition Per Credit hour: $552
The online Graduate Certificate in Forest Health & Resilience program addresses the current and emerging threats to forest health and the ecological, social, and economic importance of forest health. The multidisciplinary curriculum provides students with the management tools needed to enhance forest resilience and minimize the impacts of forest health threats. Graduates are able to diagnose tree health using established methodologies, analyze the occurrence of insect and pathogen outbreaks and the abiotic drivers responsible for dying trees, and formulate management recommendations for preventing, intervening, and restoring a forest in response to a disturbance or an insect or pathogen outbreak.
The University of Florida has received accreditation for this study program from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
10. University of Missouri-Columbia
Tuition Per Year: $12,396 (Resident)
The online MS in Natural Resources with an emphasis in Agroforestry from the University of Missouri-Columbia is designed to give students the knowledge and skills they need to help landowners improve soil quality, diversify their income, and increase biodiversity. Coursework covers topics in:
- Agroforestry Economics & Policy
- Principles of Agroforestry
- Soil Fertility & Plant Nutrition
- Watershed Restoration
- Natural Resource Policy & Administration
The University of Missouri has received accreditation for this Master’s degree from the Higher Learning Commission.
11. The University of Tennessee Knoxville
Tuition Per Credit Hour: In-state students $639.00
Out-of-state students $714.00
The University of Tennessee Knoxville offers a master of science in forestry online. The program is offered through the School of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences, with concentrations available in the areas of forest ecology, management, or conservation. It requires six to eight semesters to complete, depending on whether you choose an accelerated or regular track.
The University of Tennessee has received accreditation for this study from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Forestry Degree Requirements
A solid foundation in math, physics, and computer science is necessary for a career in forestry. A prosperous forester appreciates the great outdoors and solves problems. You should love the outdoors and be in good physical shape because a large portion of the job involves working outside. In order to appropriately examine the data gathered and choose how to best handle issues regarding trees, their production and product collection, and their relationship to local inhabitants, you must also possess strong analytical and critical thinking skills.
Depending on their work, foresters spend a lot of time outdoors, possibly in remote areas. Work is performed in all kinds of weather, can be physically taxing, and may necessitate protracted camping trips.
There are, however, occupations for foresters that allow them to work in laboratories or educate the public about conservation and how to behave in nature. The majority of forester positions have a standard workweek with a few extended workweeks when working on projects.
The greatest approach to obtain experience in the forestry industry is through internships, summer employment, or work with environmental organizations. Students get fundamental information and forestry skills from these experiences.
Job outlook for people with a Degree in Forestry Degree
According to the BLS, the Forestry Degree job market is expected to expand by 7% between 2020 and 2030.
Approximately 49.5 percent of forestry workers hold a bachelor’s degree, making it the most common level of education.
The occupations listed below are some of the most in-demand in the field of Forestry.
SOURCE: BLS, Employment Projections program
<h2>Salary outlook for people with a Degree in Forestry Degree</h2>
According to BLS, the average yearly salary for conservation scientists was $63,750. The wage at which half of the employees in a profession made more money than that amount and half made less is known as the median wage. The 10th percentiles with the lowest and greatest earnings were each below $38,670 and over $100,440.
The median yearly pay for foresters was $64,110 in May 2021. The bottom 10% earned less than $43,280, while the top 10% made more than $98,330.
The table below shows the median yearly incomes for conservation scientists in May 2021 in the top industries where they worked:
|Industry||Annual Mean Wage|
|The federal government, excluding the postal service||$77,560|
|State government, excluding education and hospitals||$62,980|
|Professional, scientific, and technical services||$ 61,910|
|Social advocacy organizations||$ 60,400|
|Local government, excluding education and hospitals||$ 54,930|
The median annual wages for foresters in the top industries in which they worked were as follows In May 2021:
|Industry||Annual Mean Wage|
|The federal government, excluding the postal service||$67,660|
|Local government, excluding education and hospitals||$64,010|
|State government, excluding education and hospitals||$ 63,400|
High Paying Careers for Forestry Degree Majors
Salary for Forestry Degree graduates varies greatly depending on the field of study. The chart below shows the top highest-paying jobs for Forestry Degree graduates:
SOURCE: BLS, Employment Projections program
What Can You Do with a Forestry Degree?
There are many different things that you could do with a degree in forestry. It all depends on what type of career you are looking for and what kind of work experience you have.
A forestry degree can take you into the world of business, government, or conservation. The field of forestry is broad and diverse, and degrees in this field offer many different career paths.
A degree in forestry can lead to jobs working on land that has been cleared for development or natural resources. Forestry jobs include working in forest management or research and development. Private companies or government agencies employ those who work as foresters. They may be involved in land management projects to protect endangered species or restore damaged ecosystems.
Employers also hire people with forestry degrees to work in parks or national forests, where they may use specialized equipment such as chainsaws and graders to maintain trails and clear brush from around trees. A number of federal agencies also hire foresters to manage large areas of land for public use, such as national parks and forests, where people can enjoy scenic views without being disturbed by wild animals like bears or wolves.
Some careers require an advanced degree in forestry, but these positions are more specialized than those who have only a bachelor’s degree in the field because they require professional certifications.
Forestry Degree Licensure and certification
Forestry degree licensure and certification are two separate things. You can have a license and not be certified, or you can be certified but not have a license. In some states, foresters and forest technicians will need to be licensed or registered.
Forestry degree licensure and certification is the process of gaining a specific degree or certification in forestry. This is done by completing specific courses, passing exams, and earning a degree from an accredited institution.
The first step in getting your degree is becoming a member of the American Society of Foresters, an association of professionals in the field of forestry. The next step is to earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a forestry department.
Once you have completed all the requirements for your degree, you will need to apply for a license from your state’s forestry department.
Certification is different from licensure and allows individuals to practice as foresters without necessarily having completed the educational requirements for licensure.
Certification is voluntary and allows you to demonstrate that you have met certain education, training, and experience standards. You can earn certification through the American Society of Agronomy (ASA) or the American Forestry Association (AFS).