Careers for Graduates with a Degree in Forestry

Careers for graduates with a degree in forestry are readily available in the United States especially in those states with large stands of timber. Many careers for graduates with a degree in forestry lead grads to jobs requiring extensive work in the great out doors. But some careers for graduates with a degree in forestry can also take their holders behind a desk. Ironically, because the forests of the United States have receded greatly even in the last few decades there continue to be important careers remaining for graduates with a degree in forestry who have expertise in developing, maintaining and harvesting our nation’s timber resources effectively.

Careers with the U.S. Government When you think about careers for graduates with a degree in forestry you may think first of “Smoky the Bear”, icon for the protection of American forests. Many of those pursuing careers for graduates with a degree in forestry are drawn to this work because , like Smoky, they want to protect and maintain the beauty of our great American forests.

Within the United States Government, two agencies , the United States Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service and the National Park Service, provide many careers for graduates with a degree in forestry . Throughout the United States the federal government has ownership and thus responsibility for maintaining large stands of timber found on hundreds of thousands of acres of national forest land. There are careers available in our national forests for graduates with a degree in forestry who have the expertise necessary to supervise new growth, clear away potentially hazardous growth and oversee authorized harvesting of timber within the forest. Some careers within the Forest Service attract graduates with a degree in forestry because the bulk of each working day is spent in the out of doors. But there are also managerial and administrative jobs with less outdoor exposure for graduates with a degree in forestry who prefer to spend some time behind a desk as well.

The National Park Service also provides careers for graduates with a degree in forestry. Certainly not all f our national parks are heavily forested but many like Yellowstone, Grand Tetons and Yosemite contain huge and magnificent forests that must be cared for. Some graduates with a degree in forestry can certainly discover career opportunities with the National Park Service working as well credentialed Park Rangers or Park Naturalists. In parks where forests cover large portions of park property, graduates with a degree in forestry may find careers in conservation and in providing educational presentations , displays and reading material about forest composition, land use, safe camping practices and a host of other forest related subjects. While financial compensation for graduates with a degree in forestry who work as rangers is unlikely to be a major draw, the joy of working in a beautiful, stress free, outdoor environment each day is a wonderful inducement to apply for such positions.

Graduates with a degree in forestry who crave careers working out doors in woodland areas but who are not interested in relocating to the site of a national park or forest may discover that there are state forests to be managed and maintained in their home state. Careers in state forests may seem a bit less glamorous than working at the larger national parks, they may offer less benefits and a somewhat lower pay scale. But for graduates with a degree in forestry who want to work outside among the trees and the natural world they love, being able to do so without relocating hundreds of miles away from home may seem worth the trade off.

Careers in Industry Not every graduate with a degree in forestry will find , or even be looking for, a career with the state or federal government. Somewhat more lucrative careers may be found in industries that produce forest related products.
While the nation no longer heats itself chiefly with wood burning stoves, there is still a great demand for lumber to be used in construction, building and furniture making. Trees are also harvested for use in paper production. A variety of other smaller industries use timber in the production of important wood by-products.

All of these industrial concerns rely upon the healthy maintenance of forests to survive. Graduates with a degree in forestry find careers with industries that depend upon well managed woodlands. Graduates with a degree in forestry help industry to continue to replant forests, to cut trees when they are appropriately aged and harvest trees in ways that are not detrimental to the environment. Knowledgeable graduates with a degree in forestry are crucial to the successful management and overall operation of many forest centered industries.

Graduates with a degree in forestry who find careers in industry may discover that some of their work is outdoors but it is likely that a certain portion will involve office work, reports, and meetings. Graduates with a degree in forestry who follow career paths into industry will quickly recognize that while their career includes the harvesting of trees with an eye to the environmental future of the woods, industries are in business to make money. Graduates with a degree in forestry who seek careers in industry must come to accept and deal with this reality especially if if conflicts with their own idealistic approach to woodlands.

Consultants Graduates with a degree in forestry may seek work as private consultants. These careers await graduates with a degree in forestry who also enjoy using their own acquired planning and land management skills. The expertise graduates with a degree in forestry have received allows them to provide solid advice and commercially reasonable plans to timber companies both for their immediate cutting season and well into the foreseeable future.

Working as a consultant in some ways allows the graduate with a degree in forestry to escape the profit constraints exercised over them if they are actual employees of a particular company. Consultants conduct their studies, forge their evaluation and lay out their suggestions and plans and then they have the luxury of moving on. For graduates with a degree in forestry who like to work independently and often at the rate the market will bear, careers in consulting may be a perfect match.

Private Ownership For some graduates with a degree in forestry the ideal career lies in private ownership and management of reasonably sized tracts of forested land. Knowing how to grow trees and how to harvest them, graduates with a degree in forestry may well find that their career lies in the purchase and gradual enlarging of their own tree farm. This type of career allows for many personal preferences to be satisfied. Graduates with a degree in forestry who take up a career in private tree farming can choose where to live, how much acreage to cultivate, what to raise, how and when to harvest, who to sell to and how to stay operational over a lifetime. But the freedom this kind of career implies does not come cheaply. Initial investment is usually necessary and savings enough to tied you over until trees reach their harvest point must also be accrued. If you can manage the up front finances then all you have to do is worry about what national and industrial foresters worry about like the weather, fire and tree diseases. As with many other fields , graduates with a degree in forestry who choose to go it alone basically have to choose between freedom and security.

Trees are an essential part of our human environment. We need well schooled professionals to help us to manage this important resource and so careers for graduates with a degree in forestry are likely to remain plentiful.

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