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SOWELA Forest Technology Program Now Available at Main Campus in Lake Charles


Forest Technology Degree Program is only one of its kind in Southwest Louisiana

Lake Charles, Louisiana – June 10, 2021

SOWELA’s Forest Technology program is now available at the technical community college’s main campus in Lake Charles. The Forest Technology Degree program is one of only two in the state of Louisiana and only one offered in Southwest Louisiana.

The Forest Technology program prepares students to produce, protect, and manage woodland resources. Coursework also includes how to maintain and operate related equipment and harvest raw forest materials for converting into a variety of consumer goods. Students who successfully complete the 61-credit hour Forest Technology program will be able to:

  • Conduct forest inventories, forest health surveys, and wildlife surveys.
  • Demonstrate the various methods of establishing and maintaining forest resources.
  • Track and analyze forest measurements to make environmentally sound decisions regarding forest land.
  • Understand harvesting, reforestation, and controlled burning as critical factors for maintaining healthy forest land.

Currently, SOWELA’s Forest Technology program has an articulation agreement in place with Louisiana Tech University which allows students earning a diploma in SOWELA’s program to transfer all credits into Louisiana Tech’s Bachelor of Science in Forestry program and enter the university as a junior.

“The Louisiana Forestry Association is well pleased with the students completing their Forestry degree at SOWELA. The move to the main campus will only improve the number of students who want to make a career in the forest products industry and related forest businesses,” said C.A. “Buck” Vandersteen, Executive Director of the Louisiana Forestry Association. “Students from SOWELA are well prepared to enter the workforce or transfer to a four-year forestry school to complete another degree.”

The Louisiana Forestry Association through its Forestry Foundation offers scholarships to students studying forestry at SOWELA who submit an application through their forestry instructor and complete an interview process.

SOWELA is currently offering online, hybrid and in-person options dependent on course availability and requirements since the Spring 2021 semester. SOWELA’s main campus is in Lake Charles with satellite campuses in Jennings, Oakdale and Leesville at the soon-to-be-acquired Lamar Salter campus.

Recently, SOWELA achieved the highest retention rate among community and technical colleges in Louisiana. The college was also named WalletHub’s (opens new window) #1 community college in Louisiana in 2021 for the third straight year. SOWELA is also ranked #27 overall in the entire U.S. out of all 698 community colleges in the rankings.

As the forestry industry expands in Southwest Louisiana, the opportunity for SOWELA to broaden the reach of its education and training program in forestry is paramount,” said SOWELA’s School of Transportation and Applied Technology Dean Dr. William Mayo. “Forestry touches every aspect of the life of Louisianians and is the perfect opportunity for the person looking for a gratifying life-long career.”

SOWELA offers more than 30 technical and academic programs including Aviation Maintenance Technology, Industrial Electrical Technology, Welding, Vehicle Maintenance Technology, Forest Technology, Sterile Processing and Practical Nursing (LPN).

For more information or to apply online, visit this page. Anyone needing additional assistance can contact onestop@sowela.edu for more information.

About SOWELA Technical Community College

SOWELA Technical Community College provides traditional, online, and lifelong learning experiences and awards associate degrees, technical diplomas, and certificates. The College empowers learners in career and technical education and enables transfer students to pursue a four-year degree, so all learners excel as globally competitive citizens. The College has been educating the region’s workforce for more than 80 years.