What Is Forestry Certification?

Forestry certification is a voluntary credential available to those working in forest management. Learn about the education options for forestry managers, and find out about the requirements to become a certified forester. Explore what subject areas you will cover at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Schools offering Environmental & Social Sustainability degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

How Can I Earn Forestry Certification?

Forestry jobs fall under a number of fields. One of the few areas that offer certification is for forestry management. Both the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Society of American Foresters (SAF) offer certification.

The SAF Certified Forester credential program is valid for three years. For eligibility, you must have at least a bachelor's degree. After three years, you can sit for recertification, but you must have obtained 60 continuing education credits. SAF provides information on finding continuing education credits. Once you've earned the certified forester credential, you can then sit for the forest certification auditor exam.

The FSC certification is a voluntary credential offered to individuals and groups who want to be sure that forests and timber farms are run and used in a socially and environmentally beneficial way. Among the FSC's three certifications is one in forest management, which documents that specific forests harvest their trees in sustainable and economically responsible ways. The forestry management certification is valid for five years.

The FSC also offers the chain of custody certification, which can be used by companies who manufacture wood products to provide proof to customers that their products use responsibly produced raw materials. The third certification is the controlled wood certification for wood suppliers. This certification enables forestry management companies to sell materials to product manufacturers with the chain of custody certification.

Certification OptionsSAF Certified Forester, FSC forest management certification, chain of custody certification, and controlled wood certification
Preparation for CertificationAssociate's, bachelor's, or master's in forest management
Undergraduate Common CoursesSustainability, silviculture, forest genetics, soils, fire management
Graduate Common CoursesForest management, environmental law, wildlife management, habitat restoration, ethics

What Programs Prepare Me for Certification?

One program you could study for a career in forestry management is forest management. This program is offered at the associate's, bachelor's and master's degree levels. Some colleges offer certificate programs as well. Because this program requires lab work and field experience, you'll be hard-pressed to find online programs.

What Will I Study in an Undergraduate Program?

Undergraduate study is often geared towards continuing your education. While using industry-standard equipment, you'll gain hands-on experience in the forestry field. Through geographic information systems (GIS) labs, forest field trips and science labs, you'll gain practical knowledge of the theories you learn in the classroom.

Study consists of subjects that prepare you for forest conservation and socially responsible usage. You'll encounter subjects in dendrology (the study of bushes and shrubs), sustainability, soils, fire usage and management, timber harvesting, insects, forest genetics, diseases, silviculture (the control of forest growth and composition) and human impacts. Skills you'll study include chainsaw operations, forest measurement, tree identification, resource planning and urban forestry.

What Does a Graduate Degree Program Teach?

The master's degree programs combine three areas: forest management, problem solving and research. You'll study forestry ethics, environmental laws, restoration, wildlife management, habitat restoration, natural resource trade, forest economics, soil morphology, commercial recreation, rangeland planning and horticulture. Degree programs focus on researching solutions to some of forestry's common issues. Many courses are advanced studies from the undergraduate degree programs.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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