So...you want to be a Park Ranger!


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Whether their primary role is education, conservation, or law enforcement, park rangers tend to have the following qualities: They honor the natural world. Park rangers spend their days learning about the land where they work. They care about protecting animals, trees and other plants. Whether leading a night walk through a forest or heading a search expedition for a lost backpacker, park rangers are usually the expert in a given situation, and they must often take on the responsibility of guiding others.

How to Become a Park Ranger

They don't mind seasonal work, or working weekends and holidays. Since the majority of park visitors flock to the parks during warmer months and days off, park rangers are busiest when other people are vacationing. Part 1 Quiz If you are interested in becoming a park ranger, you may want to consider an education in: Education You're not wrong, but there's a better answer! Administrative work Try again! All of the above Absolutely! Acquire a college education. To qualify as a ranger for the National Park Service, you will need at least a two-year degree, one year of work experience in a park, or a combination of these two.

The most common degrees held by park rangers are public administration, law enforcement, and park and recreation management, but there are other degree programs that would also qualify you to be a park ranger. Most departments want their rangers to hold a minimum at least a two-year degree; some positions might require a four-year degree. If you intend to focus in the area of ecology or conservation, pursue a bachelor's degree in the natural sciences, such as environmental studies, forestry, biology or geology.

Get familiar with the parks system. Visit state and national parks. Research the parks' histories, rules and regulations. Speak with the rangers there about how they pursued their careers. Volunteer to spend time assisting a ranger to get a better understanding of what the job entails. Gain relevant work experience.

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Many parks hire entry-level seasonal workers who go on to become park rangers. You may also volunteer at a national park, state park, municipal park or historic site. Consider working as a tour guide or docent at a museum, or working as an expense-paid intern with the Student Conservation Association.

Steps to Becoming a Park Ranger

Part 2 Quiz How can you increase your chances of becoming a park ranger? Volunteer at a historical site.

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Ask rangers about their skills. Pass the park ranger certification test. Get in touch with parks that interest you. Contact the office that has jurisdiction over the area where you want to work and ask how to be a park ranger. Requirements vary for each department, depending on its needs. Contact the regional office of the National Park Service if you want to work in a national park.

You can also find vacancies by searching for them on the Federal government's official job website, USAJobs. Contact your state's department of parks and recreation if you want to work in a state park, or your city's department of parks and recreation if you want to work in a municipal park.

The application process for a job as a park ranger varies according to the department offering the position. In any case, it will include an application, testing, an interview process, and a background check before you are eventually hired. Know the requirements for the particular job for which you're applying, and be sure you meet them before proceeding. This examination is administered by Administrative Careers with America to help the National Park Service determine whether you're qualified to be a park ranger.

You'll be asked to take the exam after applying for a job vacancy through the Office of Personnel Management. If you want to be a law enforcement park ranger, you must also complete the Seasonal Law Enforcement Training Program at one of the nine colleges that offer it. You cannot substitute other training programs or work experience for this class, and there is no distance learning option. What role you should play in the park system. What level of park ranger you are.

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If you are qualified to be a park ranger. If you are qualified to be a law enforcement park ranger. Do you really have to go to school for this position or can you simply gain experience through volunteer work and then use the experience and acquired knowledge to become a park ranger? Many state agencies and some national parks have entry-level seasonal positions that do not require higher education; by starting at this level and working you are likely to gain experience and advancement.

However, higher-paying positions, such as management positions, often require degrees as well as relevant experience. Not Helpful 3 Helpful However, most rangers are either seasonal temporary employees or subject to furlough, so they are not employed year round. Seasonal position employment tends to last about 26 weeks. Not Helpful 7 Helpful You can usually work in a kiosk for a state park at the age of 16, though this age requirement varies by state.

Not Helpful 6 Helpful Not Helpful 15 Helpful Do park rangers stay overnight in the park or live in the park? Some specific parks, like Isle Royale and other remote parks, have rangers living on site, but in most parks, they will be living in the nearest town. Not Helpful 2 Helpful So you know how to care for the environment. If you didn't then you wouldn't know things like what the animals may eat or bird calls. Not Helpful 11 Helpful You can, but you will need to get the required education first.

There may also be some bias toward hiring younger people, so be prepared for that. Not Helpful 20 Helpful Can a person become a national parks ranger if he is 64 years old and has a year-old non-violent felony in his background, but is otherwise qualified? That is pretty specific. You would best be served by contacting the the park directly.

Not Helpful 10 Helpful You're perfectly fine to have kids. Just like any other job, you're going to need to go to work every day. Rangers usually work about 10 hours a day, leaving plenty of time for family duties. Not Helpful 17 Helpful Not Helpful 31 Helpful What is the difference between a park ranger and a forest ranger? Answer this question Flag as Do ranger's get time of, So they can travel and visit people? What conservation style careers are there that are year round? Can a teacher with a master's degree easily transfer to a park ranger career? Would any of my college experience transfer?

What is the Ideal path to becoming a park ranger? Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered.

Already answered Not a question Bad question Other. Quick Summary If you want to be a park ranger, you will need to complete at least a 2-year degree in a related field, such as law enforcement, public administration, or park management.

Did this summary help you? Warnings Competition for park ranger jobs can be stiff, especially for law enforcement park rangers. Determining the education, job experience and other prerequisites for obtaining the park ranger position you want can be difficult.

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Take care to obtain detailed information from the parks department you want to work for, rather than relying on general descriptions of job requirements. Sources and Citations http: I remember how delighted he was when his application for permanent status was approved. He is a first rate historian, recounteur, and servant of the public interest. I hope he continues to tell his story about his experiences as a law enforcement officer and protector of the American Heritage. Bruce, I retired from military service in , dissatisfied with the private aviation sector, I decided to return to school pursuing a degree in history.

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“I get a lot of pride and satisfaction out of my job,” Ranger Gediman says. “I love the National Parks and firmly believe in the what they are and. Author Richard Boyer, retired educator from Illinois, has experienced a new profession since retiring--seasonal interpretative park ranger, park guide, and.

Pulaski near Savannah, GA. I spent countless days climbing all over that fort, asking questions til I left. The impact those Rangers had on me as a young boy was lifelong. I knew that one day, given the opportunity, I would be one. Also, will my military service be of any benefit? Finally, is there any single piece of advice that you might give that would increase my chances? I would be honored to wear the uniform of the NPS given the chance.

Thanks in advance, Ray. One of the questions that I was asked quite frequently during my career and even today is, "How do I get a job as a park ranger? Each ranger you talk to will likely have a bit different story of how they got their first jobs.

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The system and procedures have changed quite a few times over the years, but here are some of the common denominators for those who are seriously interested:. There is also no guarentee of employment beyond the. The basic requirement for a park ranger job in any discipline is a four year college degree. Many rangers started out working in temporary seasonal positions while in college. There are no specific degree requirements. I worked with park rangers with degrees in history, biology, parks and recreation management, nuclear physics, Russian studies, education, business, criminal justice, English and more.

Several Universities have programs specifically designed to prepare a student to become a park ranger. The advantages of working a temporary seasonal position are that you get to learn if this is the career for you, you have the opportunity to develop skills and abilities to aid in obtaining a full. Specific application instructions can be found for each position listed at this site.