Forest Resource MGMT.
If you enjoy working outdoors and you'd like to contribute to the conservation of wildlife habitats and natural resources, a degree in forest resource management may be a good choice for you. Read on to learn more about career and educational options, job growth and salaries for forest resource managers.
Is Forest Resource Management for Me?
Forest lands provide us with wood, food, wildlife habitats and areas of recreation. Forest resource management is the prudent maintenance of these natural lands, designed to minimize the impact of man's activities while allowing for the continued utilization of natural resources. Foresters work diligently to keep forest lands regenerating while protecting animal habitats and overseeing logging and recreational activities.
An interest in forest resource management can lead to a number of career options, and opportunities may be found in environmental education, recreation planning and urban forestry. Many foresters work for the government in conservation research, while others are employed in the logging industry. As a procurement forester, you may oversee the purchase of timber from forest owners while adhering to local government regulations. This can include calculating the worth of the timber, closing the deal and arranging for loggers to remove the trees. If you pursue a position as an urban forester, you'll work in a city environment maintaining trees.
Employment and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in May 2013, foresters earned a median annual wage of $57,110. In the same year, there were approximately 9,220 individuals working as foresters; major employers included the federal, state and local governments. As reported by the BLS, employment of foresters nationwide was expected to increase by a slower-than-average rate of 6% from 2012-2022 (www.bls.gov).
How Can I Work in Forest Resource Management?
While it's possible to obtain an entry-level job as a forestry technician with an associate's degree, you'll most likely need a bachelor's degree in forestry or resource management to work in the field. Related majors in conservation forestry or forestry science may also help you qualify for a position. In a bachelor's program, you may study wood anatomy and properties, forest management and wildlife, ecology and silviculture.
A master's degree program may allow for specializations in ecological restoration, forest science or silviculture. You might also pursue a concentration in watershed management, urban forestry or wood products manufacturing. In general, these are research-oriented courses of study that culminate in a master's thesis. However, some programs are more application oriented, designed for the returning professional interested in pursuing an advanced study of forestry.
According to the BLS, if your interest is in college-level teaching or research, you'll most likely need a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Natural Resources Management or a related field. Requirements include a dissertation based on your own research project.
Certification and Licensing
In choosing your degree program, you may want to pay special attention to those that have been accredited by the Society of American Foresters, which can can help you prepare for your forestry certification. A professional certification can not only reassure potential employers that you have met industry standards for education and experience, it can also help you meet your state's licensing requirements, which can vary from state to state (www.safnet.org).