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Career Development
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Forestry Major Careers

Forestry Career Information

Area

Employer

Information/Strategies

Fieldwork

  • Inventory
  • Harvest Planning
  • Reforestation
  • Firefighting
  • Forest Health
  • Wildlife Management
  • Recreational Design/Planning
  • State and federal government agencies:
    • USDA Forest Service
    • Local, state, and national parks
    • Reserves
    • State extension services
    • State divisions of forestry
    • Peace Corps
  • Universities
  • Private tree care/landscaping companies
  • Utility companies
  • Consulting firms
  • Pulp and paper manufacturers
  • Timber companies
  • International:
    • World Bank
    • United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization
  • Non-governmental organizations, e.g. The Nature Conservancy
  • Maintain knowledge of current environmental issues including policy, conservation, and industry trends.
  • Be prepared to work with minimal supervision, outdoors, in all types of weather conditions.
  • Develop physical stamina, be able to tolerate extensive walking, and be willing to relocate to find employment.
  • Maintain up-to-date computer skills including desktop publishing and specialized tools used in fieldwork.
  • Develop strong communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Learn a foreign language to increase marketability for international employment.
  • Participate in related clubs and organizations like The Society of American Foresters or The National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council to build contacts and cultivate academic related interests.
  • Gain knowledge of the social and cultural factors that affect forest management in areas of interest.
  • Take courses in communications, horticulture, landscape architecture, entomology, pathology, urban affairs and planning to increase marketability in urban forestry.
  • Seek volunteer or paid experiences in forestry or conservation.
  • Obtain Certified Forester credential through the Society of American Foresters.
  • Seek forester certification/registration at the state level if applicable.
  • Become familiar with the federal job application process for government employment.
  • Seek management experience to advance e.g. junior forester to forest manager.

Forest Products Industry

  • Forest Engineering
  • Production
  • Wood Science/Utilization
  • Research
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Management
  • Public Relations
  • State and federal government agencies:
    • Corps of Engineers
    • Bureau of Outdoor Recreation
    • National and state parks
    • State extension services
    • Resource agencies
  • Universities
  • Pulp and paper manufacturers
  • Timber companies
  • Research groups
  • Consulting firms
  • Maintain knowledge of current environmental issues including policy, conservation, and industry trends.
  • Participate in related clubs and organizations to build contacts and cultivate academic related interests.
  • Develop strong communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Acquire strong background in physical sciences such as physics or chemistry and wood science.
  • Obtain dual degrees in civil engineering and forestry to enter as a forest engineer.
  • Seek experience in sales, marketing, management, or administration to increase marketability in operations.
  • Earn a graduate degree for advanced opportunities in research or management.
  • Plan to earn Ph.D. for employment as a professor.
  • Obtain paid or volunteer experiences in the wood products industry.
  • Become familiar with the federal job application process for government employment.

Education and Communication

  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Public Relations
  • Environmental Policy/Law
  • Local, state, and federal government agencies:
    • City, state, and national parks
    • State extension services
    • Public schools
  • Nature centers
  • Wildlife refuges
  • Youth camps
  • Environmental education centers
  • Universities
  • Vocational schools
  • Private schools
  • Timber companies
  • Pulp and paper manufacturers
  • Maintain knowledge of current environmental issues including policy and conservation.
  • Develop strong communication skills, particularly public speaking and group presentation skills.
  • Join relevant campus organizations and seek leadership positions.
  • Understand the resources and populace of an area of interest.
  • Earn a minor in journalism, broadcasting, media relations, and/or education to increase marketability.
  • Seek paid or volunteer experiences in a local park, nature camp, or educational center.
  • Obtain teacher certification to secure positions in public education.
  • Obtain advanced degree to teach at the post-secondary level.
  • Become familiar with the federal job application process for government employment.
  • Plan to earn law degree to advance in policy or environmental law.

Management

  • Resource Recreation
  • Range/Wildland Management
  • Forest Management
  • State and federal government agencies:
    • National and state parks
    • USDA Forest Service
    • Corps of Engineers
    • Bureau of Outdoor Recreation
    • Bureau of Land Management
    • Bureau of Indian Affairs
    • Soil Conservation Service
    • Department of Defense
    • State extension services
    • Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Botanical/zoological gardens
  • Historical sites
  • Land management companies
  • Land appraisers
  • Livestock ranches
  • Private consulting services
  • Conservation agencies
  • Universities
  • Maintain knowledge of current environmental issues including policy, conservation, and industry trends.
  • Develop strong communication skills including public speaking, group presentation, and mediation.
  • Maintain up-to-date computer skills including desktop publishing and specialized tools used in fieldwork.
  • Take courses in outdoor recreation, park administration, or outdoor interpretation.
  • Gain knowledge of the sports/leisure, logging/mining activities and wildlife of regions of interest.
  • Acquire strong knowledge of ecology, fiscal procedures, program design, government and social trends.
  • Join student organizations such as Society of American Foresters and Wildlife and Fisheries Student Chapter to network and cultivate academic interests.
  • Be prepared to work with minimal supervision, outdoors, in all types of weather conditions.
  • Develop physical stamina and be able to tolerate extensive walking, and be willing to relocate to find employment.
  • Obtain professional certification from The Society for Range Management.
  • Obtain paid or volunteer experiences in a recreational setting such as a national park or forest.
  • Earn PhD. to obtain employment as a professor.

General Information and Strategies

  • For entry-level positions, a bachelor’s degree is sufficient. Some federal and private agency work, consulting positions, and especially research positions require a graduate degree.
  • Obtain volunteer, part-time, summer, internship, or co-op experiences in field of interest.
  • Develop strong communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Maintain up-to-date computer skills and knowledge of specialized tools used in fieldwork.
  • Join a student club, a student professional association, or a local/state/national forestry association to network and cultivate related academic interests.
  • Plan informational interviews or job shadowing opportunities to make contacts in government and industry and to learn more about specific fields.
  • Stay current on news in forestry including policy issues, industry trends, and the job market by reading periodicals such as the Journal of Forestry or Forestry Industries.
  • Plan to relocate to national parks, forests, and cities with demand for foresters.
  • Be prepared to work under minimal supervision. Many foresters advance from fieldwork to administrative positions.
  • Teacher certification is required for public education and varies by state.
  • Contact the Society of American Foresters for updates to the national Certified Forester credential and other similar certifications.
  • Additional forester certification can be obtained at the state level and varies by state.

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