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Online urban forestry graduate certificate serves as career pathway after military


By Callie Newton

May 16, 2019

Transitioning out of the military and into civilian life after a long career of service can be a challenge, but with determination, dedication and drive – anything is possible.

Andrew Carrier is a shining example of this. After earning an undergraduate degree, he commissioned into the U.S. Air Force. While serving his country brought much pride, he always knew he wanted to expand his knowledge and follow his passions into the profession of urban forestry.

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“I knew I wanted to make every move I could to be more marketable in the natural resources and sustainability fields once I begin job searching,” Andrew says. “This led me on a search for online courses in forestry and natural resources – since online learning is much more feasible for busy active duty members.”

Andrew found the Graduate Certificate in Urban Forestry delivered online through Oregon State University Ecampus, a national leader in online education.

The certificate is the first of its kind offered online in the U.S., and with its flexible and accessible format, it was the perfect fit for Andrew and his active duty military lifestyle. It also provides him with a pathway to the Master of Natural Resources program online, which he plans to enroll in at a later date.

“I was sold on the certificate program based on the ability to form a solid knowledge base in urban forestry and then easily transition to the master’s program without having to go back and take the GRE,” he says.

“I was sold on the certificate program based on the ability to form a solid knowledge base in urban forestry and then easily transition to the master’s program without having to go back and take the GRE.”

The urban forestry graduate certificate prepares students to think scientifically and strategically. They learn to effectively apply the principles of urban forestry, green infrastructure, planning, policy, management and leadership to the management of urban forests and urban forestry programs.

A highlight of the program, Andrew says, is that the classes are developed and taught by experts who are well-respected in the field.

“I knew I wanted to make every move I could to be more marketable in the natural resources and sustainability fields once I begin job searching,” says Andrew, who earned a Graduate Certificate in Urban Forestry online.

“There was a really good balance in the classes of academic overviews, important case studies and daily application,” Andrew says, pointing out that he especially enjoyed working with and learning from instructor Paul Ries.

Paul, who helped create the certificate program online, says the students in the program come from a wide range of backgrounds.

“Some, like Andrew, are transitioning into an urban forestry career, while others are already practicing urban foresters looking for advancement,” he says. “One of the most rewarding parts of my job is helping mentor these professionals and watch them grow in their careers and take on new challenges.”

Andrew, who earned the Graduate Certificate in Urban Forestry in 2019, has already begun his job hunt and feels confident the skills he learned as an online student will set him up for a successful future.

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