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Career Information

What Can I Do In Forestry?

Forestry is the science and art of cultivating, maintaining, and developing forests for current and future uses. Learn about the typical tasks a professional forester performs. Typical tasks of a professional forester include but are not limited to:

  • Developing an overall forest management plan
  • Managing forest lands and resources for economic and recreational purposes
  • Planning and directing afforestation and reforestation projects
  • Mapping of forest areas, estimating standing timber and future growth, and managing timber sales
  • • Planning harvest programs to assure continuous production of timber or assist timber companies with achieving production goals
  • Determining appropriate methods for harvest and removal of timber with minimum waste and environmental damage
  • Directly suppressing forest fires
  • Conducting fire-prevention programs
  • Planning and directing construction and maintenance of roads, trails, firebreaks, and recreation facilities
  • Assisting in planning and implementing projects for control of floods, soil erosion, tree diseases, and forest insect pests
  • Advising landowners on forestry management techniques and conducting public education programs on forest care and conservation

Job Database

Salary Information

A professional forester holds a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree from a Society of American Foresters accredited forestry school. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for foresters was $64,110 in May 2021. Overall employment is projected to grow 5 percent from 2021 to 2031. Starting salaries in various employment sectors will vary depending on experience. To stand out in today’s competitive job market, we encourage our students to take advantage of internship, cooperative education, and summer employment opportunities.

Where can I work with a degree in Forestry?

Private Opportunities

Forest products industry

  • Large Corporations
  • Weyerhaeuser Corporation
  • International Paper Company
  • The Georgia-Pacific Corporation
  • Anderson-Tully, Inc.

Companies within the forest products sector hire foresters to plan and conduct forest management activities. Many foresters spend considerable time during the early years of their careers working outdoors.


  • Small- to medium-size firms

Most manage land and conduct timber sales for private landowners. Timber companies outsource forest and land management, so consulting firms are doing tasks formally done by industrial foresters. Preparation as a consultant can be done by working for a timber company, university, or consulting firm by building one's reputation and experience. Consultants are very often registered professional foresters.


  • Private forest landowners

Forest landowners may manage their own forest land for revenues from timber sales, non timber forest products, and other forest-related activities.


  • Mississippi Forestry Association
  • Pinchot Institute for Conservation
  • SmartWood

There are a number of these organizations that engage in activities related to forestry. They cover a wide range of endeavors such as conservation, research, and forest certification.


  • The Nature Conservancy

Foresters may eventually become executives in conservation organizations. Duties for upper-level positions often include management planning, contracting for forestry services, preparing reports, working for public relations, and managing budgets.

Non-timber industrial or corporate

  • Banks Insurance companies
  • Timber investment management organizations (TIMOS)
  • Casinos

Such organizations hire foresters to administer or manage their forest land holdings. While many forestry operations are contracted out to consulting firms, these companies do hire a small number of foresters.

Research units, firms or institutes

  • Timber Companies
  • International Paper
  • Weyerhaeuser Company
  • Federal agencies
  • USFS Southern Research Station
  • US DOE Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Many timber companies and private research organizations hire foresters to plan, establish, measure, and analyze research trials. These positions generally require a M.S. or Ph.D. degree.


  • Electric companies
  • Natural gas companies
  • Other utilities

Foresters are hired to manage vegetation on rights-of-way controlled by electric companies, natural gas companies, and other utilities.

Sales positions

  • Forestry equipment suppliers
  • Fertilizer and chemical companies
  • Insurance companies

Some forestry graduates find jobs in sales and distribution of forestry equipment or fertilizers, and chemicals used in the growing and utilizing of timber. Insurance companies also offer opportunities to sell insurance related to the forest industry or other forest-related activities.


  • Winrock International Chemonics
  • International Inc. Conservation

A number of organizations hire foresters to work in forestry development overseas. Projects often involve forestry planning, technology transfer, developing community nurseries, initiating reforestation programs and consulting.

Golf Courses

  • Large public and private

Larger courses frequently have a full-time horticulturist on staff that assumes responsibilities for tree management. However, forestry consultants are hired to assist with long-range planning, including tree management. Similarly, they contract with arborists for routine or emergency tree management.

Government Opportunities


  • USDA Forest Service
  • USDI National Park Service
  • USDI Fish and Wildlife Service
  • US DOD Army Corps of Engineers
  • Tennessee Valley Authority
  • Central Intelligence Agency
  • Internal Revenue Service

Listed are several federal agencies that employ forestry graduates. Many foresters follow careers in federal agencies leading to top executive positions. Senior level positions often require expertise in management planning, contracting for forestry services, preparing reports, working in public relations, and managing budgets.


  • State departments of natural resources
  • Mississippi Forestry Commission
  • Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks
  • Tax commissions, highway departments

These organizations are responsible for the management and regulation of forest resources. Such organizations generally hire foresters who have earned a B.S. or M.S. degree.


  • Urban forestry

Typical duties include the development and implementation of street tree maintenance programs, care and maintenance of trees on parkland; tree farm operations, and developing, implementing, and evaluating comprehensive strategies to manage, maintain, and protect trees in an urban forest.

University / College Opportunities

University / College

  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Extension

These positions cover a broad range of topics relevant to the field of forestry. Teaching and research positions generally require a M.S. or Ph.D. degree. Extension specialists plan, coordinate, and conduct educational programs for a variety of forest-related audiences. They also work with public and private organizations to develop educational programs.

So why should I choose Mississippi State University?

The Society of American Foresters accredits the five concentrations under the Mississippi State University Forestry major. The Department is consistently recognized as one of the premier programs in the South and one of the top programs in the U.S. Additionally, the forestry program is ranked in the top 5 among the Southeastern Conference schools. Our graduate program is ranked in the top 20 according to the 1999 Gourman Report of graduate forestry programs in the nation. If you are interested in pursuing a career in forestry from Mississippi State University, please contact the Forestry Department (325-2949), the College of Forest Resources Office of Student Services (325-9376), or the Career Center (325-3344) for more information.

Additional Information

Students or graduates interested in employment should vist the College of Forest Resources Jobs Database for the most recent information and job postings

Other resources include:

Mississippi State University Career Center Current federal openings Mississippi Forestry Commission

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