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