Park Ranger Careers

1) Start by earning an Associate's or Bachelor's Degree. Common degrees for park rangers are in Business or Public Administration, Law Enforcement, Criminal Justice, Biology or a B.S. in Environmental Sciences. Most park departments want their park rangers to have at least an associate's degree.
2) Learn about national or state park rangers below.
3) Contact your state Department of Parks and Recreation or the National Park Service to request application materials.

Park Ranger Careers and Job Duties

Park rangers are law enforcement officers, nature experts, or both. They are charged with protecting our parks, visitors and wildlife. They often work in rural and wilderness settings but can be found in city parks, historical sites, nature preserves and recreation areas. Park rangers share a wealth of knowledge with visitors. They prepare exhibits and informational material about the park, develop conservation programs, and lead tours and nature walks. Park ranger careers also involve conserving the lands they oversee, including studying wildlife behavior and monitoring air and water quality to determine if an ecosystem is in working order.

In larger parks, rangers may search for lost hikers, rescue stranded mountain climbers, supervise fire-fighting crews and tend to injured park visitors. Rangers are also responsible for enforcing park regulations. Park ranger jobs often require adapting to various situations, some of which are urgent or emergencies. The ability to work independently and in groups is especially important. Leadership skills are also very important, as park rangers often have to manage staff and coordinate groups of people.

Park Ranger Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2014-15 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median national annual salary for conservation and forestry technicians is $33,920. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.

Benefits sometimes include housing, and require you to work in the great outdoors. Some park ranger positions require a bachelor's degree, and a master's degree is very helpful for advancing to supervisory positions. Recommended courses include business or public administration, law enforcement, park and recreation management, and the natural sciences.

If you want to enter the field as a park ranger, request free information from the accredited schools below. It only takes a few minutes to fill out a request for information.

California Criminal Justice Schools

Campuses: Reseda, Gardena, Santa Ana, La Puente

Degrees Offered:

  • Diploma - Criminal Justice - Private & Homeland Security

Missouri Criminal Justice Schools

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Campuses: Kansas City

Degrees Offered:

  • Diploma - Criminal Justice - Private & Homeland Security

Florida Criminal Justice Schools

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Campuses: Orlando

Degrees Offered:

  • Diploma - Criminal Justice - Private & Homeland Security

Online Criminal Justice Schools

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Campuses: Online

Degrees Offered:

  • BSCJ - Law Enforcement
  • MSCJ - Law

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Campuses: Online

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor of Arts - Law Enforcement Administration (Online)

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Campuses: Online

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor of Science - Public Administration: Law Enforcement

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Campuses: Online

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor of Science - Criminal Justice - Law Enforcement (Online)

Minnesota Criminal Justice Schools

Campuses: Lake Elmo, Bloomington, St. Cloud, Eagan, Mankato, Brooklyn Park, Moorhead

Degrees Offered:

  • Certificate - Law Enforcement Academics
  • Certificate - Law Enforcement Skills
  • Associate's - Law Enforcement

Ontario Criminal Justice Schools

Campuses: Kingston, Burlington, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Oshawa

Degrees Offered:

  • Diploma in Police Foundations

British Columbia Criminal Justice Schools

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Campuses: Surrey

Degrees Offered:

  • Diploma - Law Enforcement Foundations

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Program outcomes vary according to each institution's specific curriculum and employment opportunities are not guaranteed.
Earning a degree may not qualify you for specialized careers that require more education or experience in the field.