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Forestry, General

Program Description

Just the Facts

Forestry, General. A program that generally prepares individuals to manage and develop forest areas for economic, recreational, and ecological purposes. Includes instruction in forest-related sciences, mapping, statistics, harvesting and production technology, natural resources management and economics, wildlife sciences, administration, and public relations.

This program is available in these options:

  • Certificate / Diploma
  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Master's degree
  • Doctoral degree

High School Courses

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this career cluster:

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this pathway:

Additional Information

Forestry programs allow you to combine your academic and leadership skills with your love of the outdoors.

Many colleges and universities offer bachelor's programs in forestry. You can also find several two-year colleges that offer forestry programs leading to an associate's degree.

Most four-year schools begin the first two years with the required science and math classes, then move on to real-world forestry applications. These programs train students for positions in forestry management.

Two-year forestry technician programs focus mainly on the communication and technical skills needed to work effectively in the natural resources field. They prepare students for more technical positions in forestry. To move into higher positions, you may need a four-year degree.

Some two-year programs may give you credit towards a degree program if you wish to return to school later on.

Students entering a degree program should have a strong math and science background. "In general, we look for students with an appreciation of the natural sciences, mathematics and computing, as well as communications skills," says Ulf Runesson, a forestry professor.

Some two-year programs also have certain math and science requirements, including biology, chemistry or physics.

Forestry students and graduates can make a global difference. "Students with a love of the outdoors and natural resources would have the opportunity to contribute and address environmental problems at all levels -- local, state, regional, national and international," says Grace Wang, a professor of natural resource policy at Pennsylvania State University.

The Society of American Foresters (SAF) accredits several four-year forestry programs. They grant "recognition only" to several two-year programs. However, the SAF says that these programs have passed rigorous review and are well respected by employers.

In high school, take algebra, geometry and calculus. Also, take classes in the physical and biological sciences.

You should also get some "in-the-woods" experience now in order to become comfortable with the environment. "We occasionally have a student who is interested in forestry only until it is necessary to share space in the forest with mosquitoes and snakes," says Kim Steiner, a forestry professor at Pennsylvania State University.

Besides tuition and books, you'll likely have to pay for outdoor clothing, a compass and drafting materials.


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field, see: Conservation Scientists and Foresters

Society of American Foresters
Read their education section

Forest Resources Association (FRA)
The next step for forestry products


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