Archive for January, 2010

Is an Online Forestry Degree Right for You?

Jan 12th, 2010

Forestry is one of the professions that is dreamed about by many kids and even adults, without the realization that it involves a four-year degree, the same as most professions.  We stereotypically assume forestry is akin to loggers or forest rangers, something in that realm, and therefore assume that forestry professionals simply have a deep understanding of forests and nature.  While this may be true for most forestry professionals (why strive for a major unless you like the process of the degree program?), the degree still requires four years of training.  Many potential degree seekers have now discovered that online forestry degrees are now an easier method to get the degree, rather than finding a university that offers the degree several states away.  Additionally, people who already have a background in forestry degrees may not need all four years of education, but can test out of some courses through their online school.

Online forestry degrees are an easy way of jump starting your career as a forester.  Like other online programs, however, you need to be certain of the accreditation of the school before you commit yourself to the degree program.  Most programs are accredited by the Society of American Foresters, which ensures that students will attain a professional degree in forestry through the standards set forth within the program.  While forestry degrees would seem to be solely about nature and the discovery of forests, there is a great deal of math, science, and even computer skills which go into the degree, meaning that every online program needs to cater to these specifications as well.  Simply loving nature and the woods is not a good enough reason to become a forester, but you must also be in physically good shape as well as have excellent communication skills.

Additionally, most degree programs require that students take certain electives related to the degree, as well as outside field work, akin to nursing requirements.  Placing yourself in a camp or a work-study program operated by the state is the best way to develop your forestry skills further.  Simply reading and learning about the woods is not enough to know that it is the career choice for you; rather, you need to spend some time in nature developing your skills and honing in on your ability to interact with nature.  While online courses will be different from traditional courses in forestry, they will more than likely encourage outside field work during the summer or in the last year of the program, as these experiences will truly determine whether forestry is the right discipline for you.