Becoming a Park Ranger

Becoming a Park Ranger, or Forest Ranger, (or becoming a national park ranger) affords you the opportunity to have a job that is filled with lots of worthwhile activities, such as the following:

    • leading tours
    • being/working outdoors and caring for nature
    • conversing with park guests
    • collecting data (environmental) on wildlife and plant populations
    • rescuing lost hikers
    • providing information to visitors
    • investigating complaints
    • performing law enforcement and firefighting duties, collecting usage fees, permit and equipment sales, and conducting grounds maintenance
    • teaching subjects on how to enjoy and protect nature

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    Before You Get Start, Do Some Research on How to Become a Park Ranger

    One great source of information and programs is the National Park Service website.

    There are several ways that you can research and figure out if working as a Park Ranger is a good vocation for you.

    • A good start is visiting federal, state and county parks.
    • Discover information about the history of the parks, their rules and regulations.
    • Talk with park rangers about how they enjoy their jobs and successfully developed their careers.

    Because the job market for working as a Park Ranger is very competitive, volunteering at national, state, county or municipal parks can be a viable way to get into the field.

    Look into seasonal work opportunities as a truly viable way to gain highly useful experience. You might not fully understand what it is like to work as a park ranger until you are immersed in the work.

    Education and Training for Park Ranger

    Usually, a college degree is preferred to get started, though some park service positions do not make this a mandate. Keep in mind that the higher your education, the better your chances are of getting a solid Park Ranger job.

    Official park rangers are professionals who receive excellent training and usually hold at least a Bachelor of Science degree in one, or more, of the following:

    If you desire to work in management, a Master of Science or Ph.D. in a topic related to your area of interest is highly preferred, and often expected.

    Flexibility

    • One must be willing to work weekends, holidays and during the summer, obviously popular times for tourists to visit public parks.
    • One must be open-minded to performing physical labor in hot, cold or wet conditions in the outside environment.
    • Also, the more that you advance in your career, the more likely it is that you will be assigned to a region different from your present location.

    After You Submit Your Application

    Once completing the application process, there are a few more thing to take care of:

    • Proof of qualifications—college transcripts, copy of birth certificate, passport and/or Social Security card
    • Tests and checks—medical and psychological exams, physical agility tests, and drug test
    • Interviews—possibly oral interview and possible in-person interviews
    • Training classes—after the granting of conditional employment, park ranger training classes take place