How to Get Park Ranger Jobs
By Eric Hammer
Do you love nature? Have you always wondered how park ranger
jobs are obtained? If so, read on and we'll tell you all about
how to get park ranger jobs.
First, the bad news: relatively few people land a full time,
permanent park ranger job right off the bat. In most cases, you'll
need to apply for temporary or seasonal work in one of America's
national parks. You may have to continue doing this for some
time before you'll finally qualify to land a full time, permanent
job with the ranger service.
Park ranger jobs are also divided into two separate sections.
The most common kind are "interpretive park rangers,"
whose job it is to help guide people around the park, offer tours
of historical sites such as Liberty Island and Ellis Island and
generally work as a professional storyteller.
The other option for park ranger jobs is to work in law enforcement.
These park rangers are federal officers with federal police training.
They go after poachers on federal land, provide emergency services
to campers and hikers and generally do the sorts of things that
you might expect any law enforcement official to do.
How Much Can You Make?
According to Indeed.com, the average salary for park ranger
jobs is $47,000 per year, though the numbers can be as low as
$31,000 per year or as high as $105,000 per year.
Ways to Make More | Related Opportunities
One of the great things about getting a job as a park ranger,
besides getting to work out in the middle nature is that you
can often get live in jobs where your housing is paid for by
the federal government. The federal government also provides
its employees with excellent benefits including a fairly generous
health insurance policy.
Keep in mind that when you are looking for work as a park
ranger, a big part of your job involves working with people.
While many people think that park rangers are the loners who
hang out in a tiny cabin in a national park or reserve and don't
have to talk to many people, the reality is that your job is
supposed to be about working with visitors to the nation's parks
and helping them with whatever problems they have. Therefore,
you'll need excellent interpersonal skills for this job.
Finally, if you enjoy working in nature but can't get a job
with the national park service, there may be park ranger jobs
available with state parks that will get you out into nature
while not requiring you to go through the constant cycle of temporary
work before you land a permanent position.
Qualifications / Requirements
While no formal requirements exist for park rangers beyond
a high school diploma, realistically, you'll want a college degree
in some related field, such as parks management, biology or some
other science discipline. Criminal justice degrees may also be
helpful if you plan to pursue the law enforcement side of this
Start by taking either a volunteer or temporary/seasonal job
with the National Parks Service. This is how most people get
their foot in the door for park ranger jobs. Then, keep going
and work hard at your job until you eventually make your way
to a permanent position.
Check out these helpful resources to find out more about park
AngelFire: So You Want to Be a Park Ranger?
- While this article is obviously quite dated (it references
the 1999-2000 season), it still contains some very useful information
about getting park ranger jobs.
Ranger Jobs - This is a very comprehensive web site with
links to some good articles on how to become a park ranger. The
only thing that's annoying is the articles seem to be broken
down into snippets so that you feel like you are being lead down
a path before you find out what you really want to know.