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Career and Education Opportunities for Foresters in Columbia, Missouri

If you want to be a forester, the Columbia, Missouri area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 160 working foresters in Missouri; this should grow 8% to about 170 working foresters in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for foresters are expected to grow by about 12.1%. In general, foresters manage forested lands for economic, recreational, and conservation purposes.

Income for foresters is about $23 per hour or $49,380 per year on average in Missouri. Nationally, their income is about $25 hourly or $53,750 per year. Compared with people working in the overall category of Life Sciences, people working as foresters in Missouri earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Life Sciences nationally. Foresters work in a variety of jobs, including: forestry supervisor, forest examiner, and regional forester.

The Columbia area is home to thirteen schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can get a degree as a forester. Foresters usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so you can expect to spend about four years training to become a forester if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Forester

Forester video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, foresters manage forested lands for economic, recreational, and conservation purposes. They also may inventory the type, amount, and location of standing timber, appraise the timber's worth, negotiate the purchase, and draw up contracts for procurement.

Foresters monitor contract compliance and results of forestry efforts to assure adherence to government regulations. They also direct, and participate in, forest-fire suppression. Equally important, foresters have to establish short- and long-term plans for management of forest lands and forest resources. They are often called upon to supervise efforts of other forestry staff. They are expected to formulate and implement projects for conservation of wildlife habitats and soil and water quality. Finally, foresters conduct public educational programs on forest care and conservation.

Every day, foresters are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. They need to evaluate problems as they arise. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for foresters to map forest area soils and vegetation to estimate the amount of standing timber and future value and growth. They are often called upon to negotiate terms and conditions of agreements and contracts for forest harvesting, forest management and leasing of forest lands. They also decide on methods of cutting and removing timber with minimum waste and environmental damage. They are sometimes expected to study different tree species' classification, life history, light and soil requirements, adaptation to new environmental conditions and resistance to disease and insects. Somewhat less frequently, foresters are also expected to contact local forest owners and gain permission to take inventory of the type and location of all standing timber on the property.

Foresters sometimes are asked to design techniques for measuring and identifying trees. and procure timber from private landowners. And finally, they sometimes have to monitor contract compliance and results of forestry efforts to assure adherence to government regulations.

Like many other jobs, foresters must believe in cooperation and coordination and be able to work independently and make decisions on their own.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Columbia include:

  • Biologist. Research or study basic principles of plant and animal life, such as origin, relationship, and functions.
  • Environmental Health and Safety Specialist. Conduct research or perform investigation for the purpose of identifying, abating, or eliminating sources of pollutants or hazards that affect either the environment or the health of the population. Utilizing knowledge of various scientific disciplines may collect, synthesize, and take action based on data derived from measurements or observations of air, food, and other sources.
  • Food Technologist. Use chemistry, microbiology, and other sciences to study the principles underlying the processing and deterioration of foods; analyze food content to determine levels of vitamins, fat, and protein; discover new food sources; research ways to make processed foods safe, palatable, and healthful; and apply food science knowledge to determine best ways to process, package, and distribute food.
  • Geographic Information Systems Analyst. Study nature and use of areas of earth's surface, relating and interpreting interactions of physical and cultural phenomena. Conduct research on physical aspects of a region, including land forms, climates, soils, plants and animals, and conduct research on the spatial implications of human activities within a given area, including social characteristics, economic activities, and political organization, as well as researching interdependence between regions at scales ranging from local to global.
  • Medical Scientist. Conduct research dealing with the understanding of human diseases and the improvement of human health. Engage in clinical investigation or other research, production, or related activities.
  • Microbiologist. Investigate the growth, structure, and other characteristics of microscopic organisms, such as bacteria, algae, or fungi. Includes medical microbiologists who study the relationship between organisms and disease or the effects of antibiotics on microorganisms.
  • Natural Resource Manager. Research or study range land management practices to provide sustained production of forage, livestock, and wildlife.
  • Park Ranger. Plan, develop, and conduct programs to inform public of historical, natural, and scientific features of national, state, or local park.
  • Scientist. Study the chemical composition and physical principles of living cells and organisms, their electrical and mechanical energy, and related phenomena. May conduct research to further understanding of the complex chemical combinations and reactions involved in metabolism, reproduction, and heredity. May determine the effects of foods, drugs, and other substances on tissues and vital processes of living organisms.
  • Soil Conservation Technician. Plan and develop coordinated practices for soil erosion control, soil and water conservation, and sound land use.
  • Soil Scientist. Conduct research in breeding, physiology, and management of crops and agricultural plants, their growth in soils, and control of pests; or study the chemical, physical, and mineralogical composition of soils as they relate to plant or crop growth. May classify and map soils and investigate effects of alternative practices on soil and crop productivity.
  • Zoologist. Study the origins, behavior, and life processes of animals and wildlife. May specialize in wildlife research and management, including the collection and analysis of biological data to determine the environmental effects of present and potential use of land and water areas.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Forester Training

University of Missouri-Columbia - Columbia, MO

University of Missouri-Columbia, 105 Jesse Hall, Columbia, MO 65211. University of Missouri-Columbia is a large university located in Columbia, Missouri. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 30,130 students and an admission rate of 85%. University of Missouri-Columbia has 2 areas of study related to Forester. They are:

  • Natural Resources/Conservation, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated thirty-nine, five, and five students respectively in 2008.
  • Forestry, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated thirty-one, three, and two students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Arborist / Municipal Specialist: This credential was developed by the ISA and the Society of Municipal Arboriculture for those involved in managing the complex aspect of trees in an urban environment.

For more information, see the International Society of Arboriculture website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Columbia, Missouri

Columbia, Missouri
Columbia, Missouri photo by Grey_Wanderer

Columbia is situated in Boone County, Missouri. It has a population of over 100,733, which has grown by 19.2% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Columbia, 85, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Columbia are valued at $171,800 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, three hundred thirty-five new homes were constructed in Columbia, down from six hundred fifty-three the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is educational services, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 15 minutes. More than 50.5% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 24.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Columbia is 6.8%, which is less than Missouri's average of 8.9%.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 40.9%, is less than both the national and state average. Sugar Grove Church, Fairview Church and Emmanuel Church are among the churches located in Columbia. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

Columbia is home to the Columbia Country Club and the Columbia Plaza as well as Nickell Park and Stephens Park. Shopping centers in the area include Whitegate Shopping Center, North County Shopping Center and Biscayne Mall. Visitors to Columbia can choose from Churchill's, Columbia Super 8 Motel and Arrow Head Motel LLC for temporary stays in the area.