Trees and forested ecosystems are a critical part of our earth, our economy and our way of life, from reducing carbon pollution and purifying groundwater to providing timber for buildings and pulp for paper products. Graduates wondering, “What can I do with a forestry degree?” have many job options available after graduation and are often in high demand.
Career Options for Students with a Forestry Degree
- Land Conservation Specialist – Develop and implement conservation programs for public or private landowners to improve forest or land restoration efforts. Recent employers include The Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
- Consulting Forester – Offer advice and services to private land owners about sale of forestland, landscape planning, pest control, timber stand improvement, wildlife management, timer sales and more. Recent employers include Weyerhauser and Georgia-Pacific.
- Environmental Biologist – Conduct on-site research in your specialty field, as well as develop wildlife management strategies and environmental conservation efforts. Recent employers include the Rocky Mountain National Park.
- Extension Agent – Develop and deliver educational programs to assist with economic and community development, leadership, agriculture and environmental issues. Recent employers include NC State Extension.
- Certified Forester – Assess forests for timber sale, wildlife management, pest management, economic viability and landowner goals. Recent employers include International Paper and Rayonier.
- Service Forester – Conduct wildlife and natural resource management, enforce state and federal laws, develop and implement educational programs, fight forest fires and provide emergency response when needed. Recent employers include NC Forest Service and Alaska State Department of Natural Resources.
- Timberland Appraiser or Procurement – Appraise, buy and sell trees, forests and forestland. Recent employers include J.W. Jones Lumber Company, WestRock, Timbco and Hunt Forest Resources.
- Wetlands Specialist – Improve and maintain water resource cleanliness, implement remediation projects, monitor and analyze wetland data, collect soil samples, track aquatic life, survey wetlands and write reports. Recent employers include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
- Forestry Technician – Conduct harvest preparation, reforestation, tree stand care, erosion control and habitat improvement, in addition to planning, assessing, inspecting and directing forestry projects. Recent employers include USDA Forest Service and C. Maynard Johnson Consultant Forestry.
- Forest Management Specialist – Execute timber surveys, develop and maintain forest maps, analyze wildfire statistics and coordinate fire control, and provide technical consulting with industry and government. Recent employers include Carolina Tree Care and Hancock Forest Management Group.
Still unsure about “what can I do with a forestry degree?” Check out job opportunities listed on our Forestry and Environmental Resources Jobs Board.
Forestry Degree Options at NC State
Forest Management at NC State’s College of Natural Resources is a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) major that prepares graduates to sustainably manage our natural forest ecosystems and forest plantations. Our students gain the skills to address some of the greatest challenges our forests face, such as land use change, forest fires, invasive pests and climate change.
Through coursework in ecology, soils, sustainable forest management and economics as well as regular trips to the college’s Schenck Forest just 10 minutes from campus, students gain the knowledge they need to protect wildlife habitats, manage water resources, improve forest health, produce timber, and restore damaged ecosystems to support the needs of society.
After sophomore year, students spend nine weeks in the forest at “Summer Camp.” During this unforgettable summer, students live, learn and work in the forest studying forest measurements, plant community ecology, silviculture, fire management and wildlife management.
Our Forest Management Program is fully accredited by the Society of American Foresters (SAF) and is a great fit for students looking for an environmental career that takes them outside. Our students graduate prepared for a wide range of professions from consulting forestry to restoration ecology. They no longer wonder, what can I do with forestry degree? They already know. Graduates from our program have a 93 percent placement rate within three months of graduation.
Forestry Courses that Lead to Job Skills
With a forestry degree, you get hands-on experience that directly relates to job skills. Some of the courses that prepare you to use your forestry degree in the real world include:
- Forest Management
Learn the fundamental principles and analytical techniques necessary in the planning, management and optimization of forest operations. Gain an understanding of formulation of objectives and constraints, yield forecasting, forest regulation, procurement and marketing, inventory methods, and management plan preparation.
- Fire Management
Study the basics of fire management in nature, including the effects of wildfire and prescribed fire on forest ecosystem components and processes; fire behavior and the ecosystem and meterologic factors that affect it; silvicultural uses of fire; and the organization, equipment, and tactics for wildfire suppression. Participate in fire suppression exercises on the North Carolina Division of Forest Resources’ Forest Fire Simulator.
- Urban and Community Forestry
Learn about the interdisciplinary study of urban forestry and greenspaces through a review of urban forest history, distribution and ownership patterns, urban ecology and ecosystems, benefits and uses of urban forests, vegetation establishment and maintenance, urban planning and policy, community interactions, and urban forestry implementation.
- Consulting Forestry
Gain the skill to be a consulting forester. Studnets lean about forest land acquisition and ownership, appraisal, legal considerations, financial management and planning; producing forest resources, timber, wildlife, recreation, farm products, water, minerals, specialty products, and development; marketing forest resources, timber, recreation, farm leases, minerals, specialty products, and developed property; and forest resources consulting, forms of organization, pricing of services, consultant client relationships, professional ethics and continuing education.
- Forest Operations and Analysis
Learn management science and operational techniques in forestry including logging road layout and construction, and machine systems; harvesting machine optimization and selection; harvesting, production and forest planning; decision and inventory theory, and other techniques for solving problems typically encountered in forest operations management.
- Forest System Mapping and Mensuration
Explore the concepts and application of basic forest and land resource measurement techniques used in forestry and related fields. Topics include: measuring distances and areas; orienteering; interpreting basic air photo and topographic maps; understanding basic GPS; measuring tree characteristics; conducting forest sampling; and analyzing and summarizing resource characteristics.
Real Life Examples of Forestry Degree and Careers
Graduation to Vocation
Read about Josiah Marshal who is graduating is ready to take on a full-time job with a forest consulting company in eastern North Carolina.
Forest Management Alumnus and Arborist wants to plant 50,000 trees by 20150 in the Triangle
Learn more about Dave Klemp who works as an arborist and created a non-profit called Trees for the Triangle
Outstanding Grad: Danny Marulanda
Evnrionemtnal Sciences major Danny Marulanda hopes to create a more sustainable future through land stewardship.
Helpful Information About Forestry Degree Jobs and Careers
- Other Jobs You Can Get With a Forestry Degree
- Work With the US Forest Service
- Careers with the National Association for State Foresters
- Forestry Jobs in America
- Forestry and Natural Resources Job Board
- Job Opportunities | Oklahoma Forestry Services
- Society of American Foresters Careers
- What is a Land Management Specialist?
College of Natural Resources, NC State University
Published May 22, 2018