Is becoming a forester right for me?

The first step to choosing a career is to make sure you are actually willing to commit to pursuing the career. You don’t want to waste your time doing something you don’t want to do. If you’re new here, you should read about:

What do foresters do?
Career Satisfaction
Are foresters happy with their careers?
What are foresters like?

Still unsure if becoming a forester is the right career path? to find out if this career is right for you. Perhaps you are well-suited to become a forester or another similar career!

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How to become a Forester

To become a forester, here are the general steps you can follow:

  • Education: Obtain a Bachelor's Degree in Forestry or a related field. Look for programs accredited by the Society of American Foresters (SAF) or other recognized accrediting bodies. Coursework typically covers subjects such as forest ecology, silviculture, forest management, GIS, and natural resource policy.
  • Gain Field Experience: Seek internships or part-time jobs to gain practical field experience in forestry. These opportunities can provide hands-on experience in tasks such as timber cruising, forest inventory, wildfire management, or habitat restoration.
  • Networking and Professional Development: Join professional organizations like the Society of American Foresters (SAF) or state-level forestry associations. Attend conferences, workshops, and networking events to connect with other professionals and stay updated on industry developments.
  • Certification and Licensure: Consider obtaining certification as a Certified Forester (CF) through SAF. This voluntary certification demonstrates your expertise and commitment to the profession. Some states may also require foresters to hold a state-specific license to practice forestry professionally.
  • Pursue Advanced Education (Optional): If you aspire to higher positions or specialized roles, you may choose to pursue a Master's or Doctoral Degree in Forestry or a related field. Advanced degrees can open doors to research, academia, or leadership positions in forestry organizations.
  • Job Search: Look for job opportunities through online job boards, government agencies, private forestry companies, conservation organizations, and consulting firms. Networking and attending job fairs can also help in finding employment opportunities.
  • Continuing Education: Stay updated on advancements in forestry practices and regulations by participating in continuing education programs, workshops, and conferences. This ongoing professional development ensures you remain knowledgeable and adaptable in the field.

Helpful Resources
There are several helpful resources available for foresters. Here are a few notable ones:

  • Society of American Foresters (SAF): The SAF is a professional organization dedicated to advancing sustainable forestry and natural resource management. They provide resources such as publications, conferences, webinars, and networking opportunities for foresters.
  • U.S. Forest Service: The U.S. Forest Service is a federal agency that manages public lands and forests in the United States. Their website provides a wealth of information on forest management practices, research findings, and policy guidelines. It also offers access to data, maps, publications, and educational resources relevant to foresters.
  • State and Regional Forestry Agencies: Each state in the U.S. has its own forestry agency or department that manages state forests and provides forestry services. These agencies often offer resources, training programs, and information specific to the local region.
  • Cooperative Extension System: The Cooperative Extension System, managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), provides educational resources and outreach services related to agriculture, forestry, and natural resources. They have local extension offices across the country that offer workshops, training, and publications for foresters.
  • National Association of State Foresters (NASF): The NASF represents state and territorial forestry agencies in the United States. They work on policy advocacy, collaboration, and information sharing among state foresters. Their website offers resources on topics such as wildfire management, forest health, and urban forestry.
  • Research Institutions and Universities: Many universities and research institutions conduct forestry-related research and offer resources for foresters. Examples are the School of Forest Resources and Conservation at the University of Florida, the College of Forestry at Oregon State University, and the Northern Research Station of the USDA Forest Service.
  • Forestry Publications and Journals: There are several publications and journals that publish research, case studies, and articles on forestry topics. Examples are Forest Science, Journal of Forestry, Forest Ecology and Management, and Forests.