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.
Ontario Criminal Justice Schools
- Diploma - Law Enforcement Foundations
- Diploma in Police Foundations
Iowa Criminal Justice Schools
Online Criminal Justice Schools
- Bachelor's - Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement (Online)
- Bachelor of Arts - Law Enforcement Administration (Online)