Home > Education > Accreditation

For Parents and Students

When you choose an SAF-accredited degree program, you are choosing wisely, since accreditation assures that a degree program has met quality standards set by the profession.

To employers, graduate schools, and licensure, certification, and registration boards, graduation from an accredited degree program signifies adequate preparation for entry into the profession. Many of these groups require graduation from an accredited program as a minimum qualification. Here are some examples:

  • Many state boards of licensure require that applicants have graduated from an SAF-accredited baccalaureate or master's degree program. In states where this is not a requirement, additional work experience may be required before you can obtain your license.
  • The Certified Forester® program requires an additional evaluation for educational standards for applicants who have not graduated from SAF-accredited baccalaureate or master's degree programs.

No matter which degree program option you choose - forest management, forest biology, urban forestry, natural resources, watershed management or another option, SAF-accreditation is an important indicator of commitment to quality and may be a key to your professional future.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does SAF accredit associate, undergraduate, or graduate degree programs?
SAF accredits associate, undergraduate, and graduate degree programs. Because SAF accreditation concentrates on forest technology and first professional degree programs, currently, only a few master's and no doctoral degree programs are accredited.

Does SAF accredit distance education programs?
SAF's accreditation criteria require laboratory and field experiences. These are difficult to achieve via remote learning environments. However, some SAF-accredited degree programs do offer portions of their curriculum online. Please contact academic programs individually for information about what delivery options each has to offer.

Trying to choose between forestry and forest technology?
Here is a quick explanation of the major differences between the two:

  • Forest technology is a 2 year, associate degree program, whereas forestry requires study at the baccalaureate (4 years) or master's level (2 years following receiving a baccalaureate degree).
  • Forestry undergraduate programs include higher levels and amounts of science and mathematics work.
  • Forestry education prepares graduates for making big-picture planning and management decisions, while forest technology is typically focused solely on practice and application.
  • SAF forestry and forest technology degree programs are evaluated and accredited using distinct sets of accreditation criteria.
  • Some US state boards of professional forestry licensure will not allow graduates of forest technology programs to become licensed.

Is there a difference between a BS and a BSF?
There really is no difference. Institutions can give their degrees any name they choose. Contact the institution itself for more information about its degree titles and their distinctions.

Can SAF provide program or institution rankings?
Accreditation is not a ranking system. SAF does not rank programs in any way.

What is SAF's policy on transfer credits?
Policies on transfer credits and admissions are set by individual institutions, not by SAF. Questions related to these policies should be directed to the institution.