Friends of the Smokies donates 20 acres to Park

December 20, 2011, 6:51 am
Great Smoky Mountains National Park got an early Holiday gift on Wednesday, Dec. 14, when the Friends of the Smokies officially transferred 20 acres of new land to be added to the Park. The land lies along Soak Ash Creek in the Pittman Center, Tenn. community just east of ...

Holiday Gift Guide 2011: Eco-Conscious Gifts

December 15, 2011, 10:18 am
This year, we've rounded up a list of some great holiday gifts that are not only exciting to give and receive, but are also eco-friendly. From recycled products to gifts that help protect wildlife, we've found some great ways for you to give a gift you feel good about. For ...

Who's Who

Brown Foundation for Educational Equity, Excellence and Research The Brown Foundation for Educational Equity, Excellence and Research was established in 1988 as a living tribute to the attorneys and plaintiffs in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision of 1954, Brown v. Board of Education. This decision signaled the end of ...

Roosevelt Home to Close for $6.2 Million Renovation

November 28, 2011, 6:48 am
Theodore Roosevelt's Sagamore Hill home will undergo a $6.2 million rehabilitation beginning in spring 2012. The three year project will give the home a comprehensive interior and exterior rehabilitation of its architectural and structural elements, from its roof to the foundation. "This project represents a significant investment by the American ...

Pronghorn in Motion

November 22, 2011, 11:18 am
A new study finds that many pronghorn migrate hundreds of miles each year, often struggling to overcome a growing number of obstacles along the way. Under the big sky of the high plains, a herd of pronghorn stands out amid the sage and bunchgrass, the tallest natural features along the ...

Trying to Make South Texas Safe for Endangered Ocelots

November 22, 2011, 11:09 am
Wildlife biologist Jody Mays gingerly approached the cage in the dense, thorny brush at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge in Texas. Peering out with gorgeous feline eyes was a healthy 14–year–old ocelot, trapped overnight as part of the refuge’s monitoring program. The ocelot seemed relaxed, but when, after a ...

Listening to the “Soundscape” of Wilderness

November 22, 2011, 11:05 am
Why does Tim Mullet plan to collect moose poop for a two–year study of noise levels on Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska? Because bagging moose pellets is safer and easier than taking blood samples from wild horned animals weighing half a ton and up. Mullet, a biological technician at ...

I am quite interested in becoming a Park Ranger and was wondering what the marketability and annual pay of a Park Ranger is like.
This question relates to the items listed below. Click each link for more information
Canaan Resort State Park, West Virginia, Susquehanna State Park, Maryland, Archaeology, ATVs, Backpacking, Bears, Bouldering, Bow Hunting, Canoeing, Mountain Biking, Downhill Skiing, Four-Wheel Driving, Gun Hunting, Wildlife Watching, Native American History, Swimming, Deer, Lake Fishing, Elk, Ranger-led Programs, Marine Life, Moose, Flora & Fauna, Mountain Lions, Historic Sites, Wolves, Caving, Camping, Climbing, Fishing, History/Culture, Golfing, Hiking, Hunting, Preservation, Picnicking
10 years ago
Expert Answer
85 Answers
31Helpful Answer Rating

We often get questions about what it takes to become a National Park Ranger. Here are some tips from our partners at the Association of National Park Rangers. We hope you find them helpful:

The National Park Service (NPS) employs people in all kinds of job titles (20,000 year-round and another 7,000 - 10,000 during the summer) even though the general public often thinks that everyone that works for the NPS is a "park ranger."  Of these 30,000 employees, perhaps 7,000 are in positions that are titled park ranger.  I'll concentrate on those for now, but folks interested in maintenance jobs, or administrative jobs, or research and science related jobs should know that those jobs are there too.
Park ranger jobs are divided into 2 groups.  First, there are park rangers that primarily perform park interpretation.  These employees work in the park visitors' center, lead guided walks and talks, give off-site programs at local schools, establish and/or modify the park's website, write site-specific brochures and other materials, and design visitor center displays or movies, etc.  In short, this group of park rangers is the parks' primary link between the park resources and park visitors and neighbors.  By explaining the national significance of the individual park and the resources it preserves, interpretive park rangers hope to establish or strengthen visitors' understanding and support for parks, the environment, history, etc.
The second group of park rangers are those that primarily perform park protection.  These employees perform law enforcement, search and rescue, emergency medical services, fire management, etc.  They are more likely to be working outside, in all kinds of weather conditions, and they might be doing this in all kinds of modes of transportation, i.e. on foot, on horseback, in vehicles, in boats, on skis, in small planes, etc.  Like interpretive rangers, protection rangers have a great responsibility to be knowledgeable about the parks' resources and threats (from human behavior) to them.  While they have many friendly, informational contacts with visitors, they also have visitor contacts that are sometimes confrontational and can be stressful.
For either type of ranger job, a bachelor's degree from a 4-year college or university with a heavy emphasis in the natural sciences or U.S. history is generally required to be competitive.  Any public speaking experience one can gain is also very helpful.  First aid training is available in most communities and having some level of certification in first aid and CPR is helpful.  There is also free online training to anyone at the Eppley Institute for Parks & Public Lands at Indiana University. Such training helps one understand the NPS mission and culture and shows prospective hiring officials that you are truly interested in becoming an NPS employee.
Many folks that hope to be interpretive park rangers often start out working as park volunteers while they are in school or are in some other full-time career.  These opportunities are available at all NPS sites including Lake Mead National Recreation Area just outside Las Vegas.
For protection rangers there are a few additional requirements.  You must be at least 21 years old.  You also must be a graduate of one of the NPS-approved Seasonal Law Enforcement Training Academies.  A list of these schools and more information is available online. One can also pursue similar opportunities in your home community to gain experience that might make you more competitive.  Become an ambulance attendant in your community, become a volunteer firefighter with your local fire department or your state forestry department, or become a member of your local community search and rescue squad.
Finally, the Association of National Park Rangers (ANPR) is a membership organization open to anyone.  One does not have to be a park ranger or an NPS employee to become an ANPR member.  There are networking and informational opportunities within ANPR that can help one be competitive for NPS jobs, and it is important to understand that it is not just what you know, but also who you know that will help one get their foot in the door with the NPS.  ANPR also offers a publication for sale titled, "Live the Adventure: Join the National Park Service" that can be helpful in understanding the requirements for park ranger jobs.  

For more information about ANPR visit their website.

10 years ago
Happy Birthday Teddy Roosevelt!

October 27, 2011, 8:33 am
October 27, 2011 marks what would be former President Theodore Roosevelt's 158th birthday.  A great conservationist, adventurer and lover of the West, Teddy Roosevelt designated several national parks and played an instrumental role in paving the way for the protection our country's public lands. As president, Roosevelt used his authority to ...

Come Explore the Wonder of Wind Cave National Park

October 12, 2011, 9:27 am
By: Heather Crowley South Dakota’s Black Hills region draws in millions of tourists every single year. Desiring to experience the best the state has to offer, a common loop involves a few distinct parks. While planning their vacations, many map out a trek to the famed Mount Rushmore, stunning Badlands ...

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