2022’s Best Online Forestry Degree Programs
No two online forestry degree programs are the same. Each offers different combinations of education philosophy, subject focus, program format, curriculum requirements and other elements. The key is to find the online programs that best fit your professional goals, personal needs and study preferences. A great way to begin your program search is with our list of the best online forestry degree programs. We’ve chosen online programs based on several important factors: affordability, financial aid availability, accreditation, and course delivery format. Learn more about our top picks for 2022.
Methodology for the STEPS Best Online Programs in 2022
Generate List of Eligible Schools and Programs
To be eligible for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on government data provided by The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).
- Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
- At least one program in subject area offered partially or fully online.
Assign Impact of Data Points
After generating the list of eligible schools, the STEPS data team then assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of affordability, support services, and online program availability. Online program availability and overall affordability received the heaviest weightings.
Online Program Availability
- Number of online programs in subject area reported by school to the U.S. Department of Education. When unable to verify this number, a star-based system was used to signify the number of programs relative to peers.
Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year.
- Students w/ Institutional Aid:
Percentage of students who receive financial aid from the school itself.
- Academic Counseling:
Existence of this service on campus or online.
- Career Placement:
Existence of this service on campus or online.
About Our Data
All STEPS rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: July 2021
East Lansing, Michigan
Total online programs: 2
Total online programs: 1
Program that might interest you:
Top 5 Reasons to Enroll in Online Forestry Courses & Programs
Broaden your career opportunities in the natural resources field.
A forestry degree or certificate allows you to pursue a broad range of related occupations, including forest ranger, forest management technician, wetlands specialist, conservation specialist, environmental biologist, and many, many more.
Complete your forestry education while still working.
Schools offering online forestry degrees and certificates design their programs with the convenience and flexibility that allows you to complete your studies while maintaining your current employment.
Study at a potentially lower cost than on-campus programs.
Online forestry programs sometimes feature lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. You can take the money saved and use it for major expenses like housing and transportation.
Earn respected professional certifications.
Possessing a certification, like the Society of American Forester’s (SAF) Certified Forester or Candidate Certified Forester, demonstrates a high level of professional competence. Both SAF certifications require a college degree from a SAF-accredited degree program.
Fulfill your continuing education requirements remotely.
Online continuing education programs and courses, like those offered by the (SAF), allow certified and state licensed forestry professionals to conveniently fulfill their continuing education requirements from the comfort of their own homes or offices.
Understanding Your Options for Forestry Education Online
There are seven types of forestry postsecondary education: the career diploma, associate and bachelor’s undergraduate degrees, master’s and doctoral graduate degrees, and undergraduate and graduate certificates. Each targets specific academic and career needs for students and has unique admissions requirements. All forestry degree and certificate types have some level of distance learning available. Here’s a look at the options:
Online Forestry Education at a Glance
|Time to |
|Career Diploma in Forestry||Do not award credits typically||4 to 6 months full-time |
Up to 1 year or longer part-time
|Fully-online with asynchronous/self-paced study.|
|Undergraduate Forestry Certificate||18-33||1 year full-time, |
although some programs allow more time for completion.
|Fully-online coursework delivered asynchronously.|
|Associate Degree in Forestry||60-65||2 years full-time|
Part-time options with longer completion times are common.
|Programs may be entirely online or include some online/on-campus coursework and/or other in-person components.|
|Bachelor’s Degree in Forestry||180||4 years full-time.|
2 to 3 years for some accelerated programs.
5 years or more for part-time programs.
|On-campus, with some online coursework for some forestry-specific programs. Fully-online or partially-online for related majors.|
|Graduate Certificate in Forestry||12-19||1 to 2 years full-time.|
Part-time study options up to 3 years are common.
|Most certificate programs are 100% online, while others include hybrid coursework or other in-person components.|
|Master’s Degree in Forestry||30||2 to 3 years full-time. |
Part-time completion times up to 7 years are common.
|Programs may be 100% online, mostly online, or mostly on-campus. Some programs include additional in-person components.|
|PhD in Forestry||40-80 (including didactic coursework, research, and dissertation)||Up to 7 or 8 years total, full-time or part-time, to complete all coursework and dissertation.||On-campus programs are the most common, although some may include online courses. In-person research and dissertation presentations are typically required.|
Degree Spotlight: Online Master’s in Forestry
Master’s degrees in forestry are geared toward providing the knowledge and skills needed for advanced practice and leadership roles in forestry research, management, policy, teaching, outreach, and more. Most students enrolled in these programs are working adults who must fit their degree studies into already busy job and life schedules. Colleges and universities know this and design their online programs with the working student in mind. Below is a comprehensive look at the elements and features you can expect to find in your online master’s degree forestry program.
Practical Forestry Skills Gained in an Online Master’s
Students in forestry master’s degree programs gain a wide variety of skills that can be applied to their professional practice, including:
Common Online Forestry Courses in a Master’s Program
Forestry master’s degree curriculums feature advanced coursework covering a wide range of issues and topics that apply the concepts and practices of the biological, physical, and social sciences to the forestry field. Below are descriptions of courses offered by online forestry-related master’s degree programs:
Graduation Requirements to Earn a Forestry Master’s Degree
Besides standard coursework, online forestry master’s programs often include one or more additional graduation components, some of which require on-campus or other in-person appearances by the student.
Admissions Criteria for Forestry Master’s Programs
Specific admissions requirements for forestry master’s programs vary from program to program. However, there are a number of requirements common to most.
By the Numbers: Tuition Costs for a Master’s in Forestry Online
Cost is always a major factor in choosing any college degree or certificate program, online forestry programs included. The chart below provides examples of tuition costs (as of summer 2019) for five online forestry master’s programs. These figures show tuition costs only, however. Total program costs will likely include additional fees.
|School Name||No. of Credits||Cost/Credit||Est. Total Tuition Cost|
|Colorado State University||30||$705||$21,150|
|Mississippi State University||30||$489||$14,670|
|Oregon State University||45||$560||$25,200|
|University of Florida||30||$565||$16,950|
|University of Missouri||30||$368||$11,028|
Checking Accreditation for Forestry Degrees Online
Accreditation is the process used to confirm that colleges and universities – and their degree and certificate programs – meet or exceed stated minimum quality academic standards.
There are two types of postsecondary education accreditation: institutional and programmatic. Institutional accreditation is conferred on colleges and universities by both regional and national accreditation agencies approved by the U.S. Department of Education. Programmatic accreditation of forestry degree programs in the U.S. is administered by the Society of American Foresters.
Proper accreditation is crucial, and prospective students should seek out only those degree programs with both institutional and programmatic accreditation. Students can determine the accreditation status of schools and programs they’re considering by visiting specific degree program websites or by visiting the websites of the accrediting agencies listed by the U.S. Department of Education.
What Can You Do with an Online Forestry Degree?
Getting an online forestry degree can lead to many rewarding career paths. Some of the most common careers are listed below, along with salary and career outlook information for each. Information and data were taken from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and O*NET websites.