The Forestry Forum is sponsored in part by:

iDRY Vacuum Kilns


Forestry Forum
Sponsored by:


TimberKing Sawmills



Toll Free 1-800-582-0470

LogRite Tools



Norwood Industries Inc.




Your source for Portable Sawmills, Edgers, Resaws, Sharpeners, Setters, Bandsaw Blades and Sawmill Parts

EZ Boardwalk Sawmills. More Saw For Less Money!

STIHLDealers.com sponsored by Northeast STIHL


Woodland Sawmills

Peterson Swingmills

 KASCO SharpTech WoodMaxx Blades

Turbosawmill

Sawmill Exchange

Michigan Firewood, your BRUTE FORCE Authorized Dealer

FARMA


Baker Products

ECHO-Bearcat

iDRY Wood Lumber Vacuum Drying for everyon

Baltic Abrasives Technologies Nyle Kiln Dry Systems




Author Topic: Graduate School  (Read 1405 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline chowtownsfinest

  • member
  • *
  • Posts: 12
  • Age: 33
  • Location: Yakima, WA
  • Gender: Male
  • Snowboard Instructor
    • Share Post
Graduate School
« on: November 12, 2013, 04:11:44 PM »
There seems to be a lot of interest in Undergraduate education in previous topics.  Both from people interested in pursing Associates and Bachelor degrees.  But I already completed my Bachelors and have been working as a forester on FIA contracts for the last 4 years.  Now I am contemplating pursuing Graduate School in the next couple of years,  specifically a PhD in Ecology or Forestry with the potential of becoming a professor in the same field as opposed to moving into either industry or working directly for the Forest Service instead of contracting. I figured with the wealth of knowledge on this forum, someone would have some advice for me.

Thanks.   

Offline WDH

  • Forester
  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 28762
  • Age: 65
  • Location: Perry, GA
  • Gender: Male
  • April 1998 - August 2008
    • Share Post
    • hamsleyhardwood.com
Re: Graduate School
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2013, 09:04:00 PM »
I have never regretted going to Graduate School for a Masters Degree.  If you have the resources to do it, it will enrich you. 
Woodmizer LT40HDD35, John Deere 2155, Kubota M5640SU, Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln, and a passion for all things with leafs, twigs, and bark.  hamsleyhardwood.com

Offline RynSmith

  • Forester
  • *
  • Posts: 465
  • Age: 51
  • Location: Western Washington
  • Gender: Female
  • Trying to see the forest AND the trees (not always as easy as it sounds)
    • Share Post
Re: Graduate School
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2013, 01:59:51 PM »
If you want to teach, then I'd say "sure, go for the PhD" but I have decent second-hand knowledge that skipping the Masters is a rough go.  I read your question as either teaching or working for the USFS (there are other agencies that employ foresters...) and if you want to go the gov route, I'd say skip the 'piled higher' and go with a masters.  My two cents. 

I should probably add that academia and it's occasionally associated inflated egos aren't highest on my list of favorite things, so keep that in mind.   ;D

Offline chowtownsfinest

  • member
  • *
  • Posts: 12
  • Age: 33
  • Location: Yakima, WA
  • Gender: Male
  • Snowboard Instructor
    • Share Post
Re: Graduate School
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2013, 05:06:01 PM »
Thanks for all the insight guys.  I realize there is private industry as well, but currently I am working as a contract forester doing FIA research.  At this point though, I want to actually analyze data, not just collect it as a field worker. But I also spend my winters as a snowboard instructor and would love to bridge teaching with forestry. Thus the desire to pursue a PhD where I can do research and possible share a passion for the forest ecosystem through teaching.

Offline Scottman22

  • member
  • *
  • Posts: 8
  • Age: 40
  • Location: DeFuniak Springs
  • Gender: Male
  • I'm new!
    • Share Post
Re: Graduate School
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2013, 04:28:03 PM »
I would be interested to know what you decide to do and how it works out for you.  I was just accepted into the Natural Resource Conservation program at the University of Florida and am very excited about it.  Over the last 5 years I've developed an interest in forestry and the world of wildfire, and have spent the last year completing some of the prereqs to get into the program. I'm an undergraduate and will major in Forestry and minor in Wildlife Ecology.  I know its going to be tough, but fun at the same time.  I've met some people in the program and have come to know a few recent graduates.  It was their enthusiasm and encouragement that motivated me to continue my education. 

I had never intended to pursue a degree in science (I have a background in aviation) but this is what I want to do and plan to use my degree and find a way to contribute.  After meeting some of the professors and getting to know some of the students, I know this is the right thing for me.

(sorry to jack this thread, but I had to tell someone!!)

Offline beenthere

  • Senior Member x2
  • *****
  • Posts: 26932
  • Location: Southern Wisconsin, USA
  • Gender: Male
    • Share Post
Re: Graduate School
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2013, 04:45:54 PM »
Scottman22
Keep the faith in your dreams and desires. Should be a fun ride for you, and especially the undergrad work learning new things along the way. Absorb all you can. Some of your classmates will be stiff competition and some no competition at all. Stay competitive. Do your best to work with the Prof's and if possible some alumni.

Hope others will join in this thread and tell about their goals and how they hope/plan to accomplish them.
south central Wisconsin
 It may be that my sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others

Offline SLawyer Dave

  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 681
  • Age: 52
  • Location: Gridley, California
  • Gender: Male
  • I don't need a gym, I cut and split firewood
    • Share Post
Re: Graduate School
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2013, 09:39:09 PM »
I am aware that some "specialty" programs exist wherein you effectively earn both the Masters and PhD through the program over a 3 to 4 year process, (that's what I did to earn my Juris Doctorate).  I don't know, however, if any such programs exist in the Forestry/Ecology realm.  To my knowledge, most such programs require a full time commitment.  So if you can make that kind of commitment, then that may well be a good choice.  However, if you want/need to keep working to support yourself, then doing it one step at a time as a part time student may be the better choice.  Often times, the PhD is very nice for securing that full time tenure, but a masters will get you teaching both at the university and junior college level while you complete the PhD.

My best advice would be to explore/research which degrees, colleges, and experience is in most demand, (and try to forecast what the demands are going to be in 3 to 5 years when you are most likely going to be ready to secure that position).  Then make your plans based on that.  Given the fundamental aging of our population and the resulting reduction of tax income to the government, the upward spiraling costs of a college education is only going to continue.  Consequently, colleges and universities will continue to have to do more with less money, which will cause a continued reduction in full time tenured faculty.  Greater reliance on part-time professors and "distance" learning will continue to fill this void.  So we are likely to see even more people with PhD's that are fighting for fewer and fewer full time teaching positions.  So putting yourself in a position where you can both secure a position in the 'industry', as well as teach, is going to give you the greatest flexibility and best chance for financial success. 

You might also want to look to see if there are any programs you can get into that include established internships with major players in the industry.  Such internships are invaluable in securing that first job.  My roommate back in college lucked into such an internship, and he had a job waiting for him the second he graduated.  As strange as it may sound, the other degree you may want to consider, is a law degree, (Juris Doctorate).  Whether you have an interest in practicing law or not, a JD is a nice way to distinguish yourself from all of the other Foresters out there.  It gives you a basis in understanding how the law will impact your profession and industry, insights into proper public/business administration and how best to run an efficient operation.   Pairing this with your already established education and experience as a forester, can make you stand out from the rest of the applicants.   

One of my good friends from law school was a hospital administrator, who wanted to move up in the industry.  Getting her law degree allowed her to do that.  Then she ended up getting hired by the local county, and is now the head of the Personnel Department for the entire County.  Again, a law degree can give you a lot of flexibility, which I personally believe is something every American worker, (I don't care how educated you are), should have.  The days of having one job and one employer for life, are really coming to an end, (statistically). 

Good luck.

Offline Ken

  • Forester
  • *
  • Posts: 1114
  • Age: 53
  • Location: New Brunswick
  • Gender: Male
  • Forester
    • Share Post
Re: Graduate School
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2013, 07:39:50 PM »
chowtownsfinest  The opportunity to do research and analyze data seems quite limited in this area.  Are there more opportunities to do that type of work in other areas?  The industry around here has been in the dumper for several years so a lot of those positions have been phased out.  Just curious. 

Scottman22  Good luck in your new direction.  I've noticed in your profile that you are not directly out of high school.  I pursued my forestry degree after several years of the "school of hard knocks".  Often the students who have had time to realize what they really enjoy do the best in their academic endeavours.

Cheers
Ken
Lots of toys for working in the bush

Offline NE CAL DIRT

  • Member*
  • *
  • Posts: 1
  • Top of the Morning to You
    • Share Post
Re: Graduate School
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2014, 05:57:54 PM »
As a Forester in Northern California employed by a medium sized private timber company, I have met many P.H.D and Masters level Foresters/Ecologists/Biologists working for both large private companies i.e Sierra Pacific Industries, as well as the Forest Service.  The USFS positions that tend to need only a masters degree and that are more research oriented tend to be Ecology positions, think aspen and meadow restoration.  The private positions that are more research oriented tend to require a P.H.D, giving more clout with the state agencies and public involved in project review.  A benefit to the private path is that projects and research associated with them can take place in a more timely manner often with more consistent results.  Good luck.
Regards,
Jake

Offline BuckeyeAaron

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 62
  • Location: Lebanon, Ohio
  • Gender: Male
  • Consulting Forester
    • Share Post
    • Mission Forestry Consulting, LLC
Re: Graduate School
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2014, 04:25:24 PM »
This thread is a tad dated and I'm not sure if the OP is still checking in but I wanted to offer some insight as I have been through grad school for Forestry.

I attended the University of Montana for a BS in Forestry and during my last semester I was approached by a professor about signing on for a graduate research assistantship.  She had procured funding to study a biomass harvesting/utilization system and needed a research assistant to conduct the research, analysis, etc.  While I hadn't any real intention of graduate school earlier in life, I viewed this opportunity from the perspective of "why not?"  So I agreed to the terms and as a result my tuition was paid for and I received a small monthly stipend.

One decision that has to be made early on is if you want to go the thesis route or the professional paper route.  The difference is substantial as the thesis route will require much more time and tough standards - not to say the professional paper route is anything to sneeze at.  In the end, the degree you get is the same (no where on the diploma does it state which option you selected).  However, it was made abundantly clear to me that if I ever had any intention or hopes of returning for a Ph.D. and hope to one day teach/research at a University level, I would absolutely need the thesis to make it happen.  I elected the thesis route as I didn't want to limit myself in the future.  So if your end goal is to teach, I'd highly recommend the thesis route.  This means you will have to form a graduate committee (generally three professors), conduct field research and collect data, draft a thesis, conduct literature reviews, statistical analysis, conduct an oral defense, and possibly even submit manuscripts for publication in professional journals. 

I look back at my experience with an overall positive attitude.  At times it was very, very stressful but I consider it one of my greatest accomplishments.  I had great opportunities too to conduct field research near the Canadian border in Montana, West Yellowstone, and Red Lodge.  I also got to travel and present at two national conventions throughout the country and published an article in the International Journal of Forest Engineering.  You also form strong bonds with fellow grad students because you're all suffering together (ha!).  I had nothing to lose from a financial standpoint so my risk was quite small.  I also got to spend two more years at a wonderful institution I greatly admire and love.  However, while the graduate degree hasn't hurt me at all, I can't say that I have noticed any significant benefit when it comes to employment.  Very few jobs I have found require a masters degree (unless you intend to go the research route - in which case you may need to count on continuing on to get a Ph.D.).  All the positions I've held I likely could have gotten without the degree with the exception of teaching part time at a local university for their horticulture program.  That being said though, I don't know how HR personnel interpret a credential such as a masters degree.  Perhaps I got some interview opportunities I otherwise wouldn't have?  Who knows.  But you will gain skills from the experience that others may not.  Your writing, analytical thinking, time management, and communication skills will drastically increase.

I suppose my main message would be to have a clear idea of what your professional goals are and if a masters and subsequent doctoral degree is necessary and worth the cost.  If you plan to teach and research, then the choice is already made.  If you are unsure but you are able to get tuition paid for through a research assistantship and you don't mind sacrificing the time, then the decision is still easy.  But if you had to fund the education and you are unsure of what you hope to do, I'd take some time to really identify if the realm of teaching/research is a high professional goal.

Sorry for rambling and best of luck!
If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. 

Psalms 139, 9-10.

Offline WDH

  • Forester
  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 28762
  • Age: 65
  • Location: Perry, GA
  • Gender: Male
  • April 1998 - August 2008
    • Share Post
    • hamsleyhardwood.com
Re: Graduate School
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2014, 09:04:00 PM »
Well written post, Buckeye. 
Woodmizer LT40HDD35, John Deere 2155, Kubota M5640SU, Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln, and a passion for all things with leafs, twigs, and bark.  hamsleyhardwood.com

Offline Ron Scott

  • Forester
  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 8052
  • Age: 83
  • Location: Cadillac, MI
  • Gender: Male
    • Share Post
Re: Graduate School
« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2014, 05:47:35 PM »
Good info!
~Ron

Offline chowtownsfinest

  • member
  • *
  • Posts: 12
  • Age: 33
  • Location: Yakima, WA
  • Gender: Male
  • Snowboard Instructor
    • Share Post
Re: Graduate School
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2014, 04:01:06 AM »
This thread is a tad dated and I'm not sure if the OP is still checking in but I wanted to offer some insight as I have been through grad school for Forestry.

I'm definitely still following all replies to this post.  Thanks for your insight on the topic, it definitely gives me a clear idea of what choice I have to make. 


Share via delicious Share via digg Share via facebook Share via linkedin Share via pinterest Share via reddit Share via stumble Share via tumblr Share via twitter

xx
Keystone Graduate

Started by DeerMeadowFarm on Forest Education

3 Replies
1090 Views
Last post April 21, 2016, 02:29:17 PM
by DeerMeadowFarm
xx
Last one to graduate today.

Started by LeeB on General Board

8 Replies
1459 Views
Last post May 24, 2010, 09:35:54 PM
by LeeB
question
Middle School or High School Wood Shop Teachers

Started by JimBuis on General Board

22 Replies
8689 Views
Last post June 16, 2005, 06:47:27 PM
by JimBuis
xx
start of school soon, shopping for school ongoing.

Started by Bibbyman on General Board

21 Replies
1421 Views
Last post August 29, 2013, 09:16:23 PM
by Corley5
 


Powered by EzPortal