Online graduate certificate offers a competitive edge during job hunt.

Getting out of the military after a long career of service is daunting, but thanks to Oregon State University Ecampus, Andrew Carrier, who began his military service after receiving his bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee, had the opportunity to expand his knowledge in his chosen field of urban forestry before he stepped into civilian life.

“Online programs are much more feasible for busy active duty members,” Carrier says. “After researching numerous institutions, I found the OSU online master of natural resources and graduate certificate in urban forestry programs. I was sold on the program based on the ability to form a solid base level knowledge in urban forestry and then easily transition to the master’s program without having to go back and take GRE.”

The OSU graduate certificate in urban forestry prepares students to think scientifically and strategically, at a time where adult learners are looking for alternatives to in-person educational opportunities. Students 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.

The certificate is unique and the first of its kind offered online. Courses are delivered through OSU Ecampus – a national leader in online education. No other university in North America currently offers a graduate urban forestry education in this flexible, accessible format.

Carrier finished the certificate program last year and used the program to transition to the master’s of natural resources program. He credits his online OSU education experience in helping make him a desirable candidate in the natural resources and sustainability career fields. In February of 2020, Carrier was hired as a tree inventory technician by PlanIT Geo, a natural resources consulting firm based in Denver.

While reflecting on his experience, Carrier says he enjoyed his classes and the work of Senior Instructor Paul Ries.

“There was a really good balance in the program of academic overviews, important case studies and daily application,” Carrier says.

Ries, who helped create the certificate program, says his students are dedicated and come from a diverse set 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.”

A version of this story appeared in the Fall 2020 issue of Focus on Forestry, the alumni magazine of the Oregon State University College of Forestry.

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