I was a Forestry major in undergrad, although I don't plan to pursue that career path. People ask me what Forestry majors do. Many of my classmates have gone on to pursue a career as an RPF, or Registered Professional Forester, which involves a rigorous licensing exam. Here is an example annotated posting for an RPF job:
We are seeking a forester to help manage our 73,000 acre tree farm in Northern Sonoma and Southern Mendocino Counties in California. This new position is designed to provide hands on management of our southern timberlands as well as assist the forestry staff on our northern properties.
The forester will develop THP’s (Timber Harvest Plans) in conformance with TCF management plans and guidelines and see the THP through the approval, operations, and completion process. Oversee road construction, improvement and decommissioning projects. A good understanding of forest inventory systems and road construction techniques is also required. Additional duties may include any or all of the following:
• Road and Sediment Source Assessments—evaluate potential erosion sites and road maintenance needs;
• Forest inventory-- install and measure fixed and variable radius plots for out forest inventory.
• Biological surveys—direct, conduct or participate in surveys or habitat assessments for Northern spotted owls, red legged frogs, anadromous fish, and other species of interest;
• Silvicultural projects—Develop and monitor silvicultural activities such as pre commercial thinning, tree-planting, brush-clearing, invasive weed control, and other similar projects;
• Public access—Assist the North Coast Program Manager to develop and implement low impact public access programs, and monitoring trespass;
• Demonstrated ability to supervise various sub-contractors including logging supervision, road construction, inventory and silvicultural activities
The qualified candidate will have:
• Bachelor of Science in Forestry or related field.
• 5 years’ experience with forest management, THP preparation and/or logging supervision. (The successful candidate should have the necessary experience to perform the above mentioned duties and be eligible to take the RPF exam within 1 year of the hire date.)
• Be a motivated individual, eager to learn and to contribute to the overall success of our forest management program. Strong work ethic and time management skills.
• Excellent oral and written communication skills, ability to productively engage with contractors, customers, stakeholder groups and the general public.
• Computer and basic statistical analysis skills, including MS office, ARCGIS (mapping software) are a plus.
• Ability to work independently and as part of a diverse team.
• Current California Driver’s license and clean driving record.
• Conversational proficiency in Spanish or willingness to learn.
This position will regularly require the ability to safely travel to and perform field tasks at distant work sites in variable weather conditions, at remote locations and sometimes in difficult /hazardous terrain.
Some folks ask if Forestry majors go on to become park rangers. Although some of my classmates have gone into recreation, the realms are pretty different. An imperfect analogy would be that park rangers are to foresters as traffic police are to urban planners.