Casey R. ...
I am really interested in employment with the NPS in the Great Smoky Mtn. How did I go about contacting them for an interview?
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Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
9 years ago
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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.

9 years ago
1 Answer
1Helpful Answer Rating

You have to apply through USAJobs

This is the NPS's site for GSMNP:

9 years ago