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BS: How do I become a park ranger?

GUEST 13 Apr 05 - 02:52 PM
Sorcha 13 Apr 05 - 03:01 PM
Stilly River Sage 13 Apr 05 - 03:10 PM
gnu 13 Apr 05 - 03:32 PM
GUEST 13 Apr 05 - 03:33 PM
GUEST,Piatkow 13 Apr 05 - 03:35 PM
GUEST,Chanteyranger 13 Apr 05 - 03:52 PM
CarolC 13 Apr 05 - 04:07 PM
Stilly River Sage 13 Apr 05 - 04:22 PM
RangerSteve 13 Apr 05 - 04:48 PM
Metchosin 13 Apr 05 - 05:28 PM
Joe Offer 13 Apr 05 - 07:28 PM
GUEST,Chanteyranger 14 Apr 05 - 12:46 PM
GUEST,Chanteyranger 14 Apr 05 - 12:51 PM
Joe Offer 14 Apr 05 - 01:28 PM
Stilly River Sage 14 Apr 05 - 04:10 PM
open mike 14 Apr 05 - 04:41 PM
GUEST 14 Apr 05 - 05:27 PM
GUEST,Chanteyranger 14 Apr 05 - 07:08 PM
alison 14 Apr 05 - 07:21 PM
ranger1 14 Apr 05 - 07:43 PM
open mike 14 Apr 05 - 09:26 PM
GUEST,Melani 15 Apr 05 - 06:29 PM
ranger1 15 Apr 05 - 06:58 PM
Stilly River Sage 15 Apr 05 - 07:43 PM
Stilly River Sage 16 Apr 05 - 03:01 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 16 Apr 05 - 03:40 AM
GUEST,Stilly River Sage 16 Apr 05 - 10:36 AM
GUEST 18 Apr 05 - 04:23 PM

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Subject: BS: How do I become a park ranger?
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Apr 05 - 02:52 PM

You know, if I could have my dream job I would be a park ranger. How do I become one? What do I do to get there? It sure would relieve the stress.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do I become a park ranger?
From: Sorcha
Date: 13 Apr 05 - 03:01 PM

I think you have to do summer Temp work for very low pay for quite a while. A degree in botany, biology, or law enforcement might help too. I'm sure the Rangers will be along in a bit.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do I become a park ranger?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 13 Apr 05 - 03:10 PM

It's a strategy you'll have to work out depending on what kind of work you want to do. I was a park naturalist and historian, but at the parks where I was a naturalist they have since shifted to having more protection (law enforcement) rangers than anything else, due to the change in use of the parks.

You'll find ranger jobs with local government entities, cities and counties, you'll find state park ranger jobs, and several agencies of the federal government have park ranger positions.

Starting as a seasonal is a good way to get your foot in the door. I've published articles about this process, but they're old enough that the process has no doubt changed considerably.

Choose the agencies and localities you're interested in and look at the job requirements. Do you fit them? If not, work on getting those skills, and while you're at it, consider doing some volunteer work. Getting trained as a docent, for example, is a good first step, but you need some solid scholarship behind you to move beyond volunteering.

Good luck. There was a thread running recently where different Mudcatters who had been or still are rangers shared a few thoughts about it. Do a search or extend the number of days you can view the thread titles out for a few months and you'll find it.

SRS (former park ranger)


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Subject: RE: BS: How do I become a park ranger?
From: gnu
Date: 13 Apr 05 - 03:32 PM

The province of New Brunswick, Canada has a Ranger school. Two years. And it ain't slack. UNB has a Forestry school and a Forest Engineering school. And there's Silviculture, I believe a major in biology at UNB. These may have changed in the past twenty years, so don't quote me. But, these programs were (are?) cutting edge and well recognized around the world.

Of course, there's another way. Go to a police academy and then apply for a deputy ranger position. The first time you are called upon to go after jackers or farmers, get up front and charge with your pistol drawn. The old boys will recommend that you be hired on full time. Of course, your gonna have to keep leading the charge to stay on. And the jackers and farmers got rifles. So, it's a kinda gamble... but the survivor benefits are good.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do I become a park ranger?
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Apr 05 - 03:33 PM

Wouldn't a phone call to a park in your area be the best approach?


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Subject: RE: BS: How do I become a park ranger?
From: GUEST,Piatkow
Date: 13 Apr 05 - 03:35 PM

Different parks in different countries will have different interpretations of what the job involves. As the OP hasn't told us where s/he is how can any of us give sensible advice?


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Subject: RE: BS: How do I become a park ranger?
From: GUEST,Chanteyranger
Date: 13 Apr 05 - 03:52 PM

GUEST, what country do you live in? It would help us to get you better information. Are you interested in a nature setting or an historical/cultural site?

Chanteyranger


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Subject: RE: BS: How do I become a park ranger?
From: CarolC
Date: 13 Apr 05 - 04:07 PM

I discovered my dream job the other day while watching the Turner South network. They had a little segment about Jekyll Island off the coast of Georgia (USA), in which they showed people giving guided kayak tours in the Tidlelands Nature Center.

If I was about thirty years younger and good enough at math to pass the biology courses, this would be my dream job for sure.

In the US you will probably need at least a bachelors degree in some kind of biology, history (for historical parks), park management, forestry, or law enforcement in order to become a park ranger.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do I become a park ranger?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 13 Apr 05 - 04:22 PM

My undergraduate degree is in Parks and Recreation (Leisure Studies is another name for some of these departments), minor in Interpretation, from Western Washington University.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: How do I become a park ranger?
From: RangerSteve
Date: 13 Apr 05 - 04:48 PM

It's generally a civil service job here in the states. I checked the monthly civil service listings put out by my state government.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do I become a park ranger?
From: Metchosin
Date: 13 Apr 05 - 05:28 PM

Here are the current park ranger positions available on Vancouver Island with the required skills and education. It should give you some idea regarding what is required.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do I become a park ranger?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Apr 05 - 07:28 PM

The National Park Sefvice in the US has a Website at http://www.nps.gov/. You'll find an "employment" link on the NPS Home Page.

Beginning jobs are mostly seasonal, and can remain seasonal for a good number of years, or forever. Many NPS employees work into ranger positions by starting as a GS-3 fee collector.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: How do I become a park ranger?
From: GUEST,Chanteyranger
Date: 14 Apr 05 - 12:46 PM

Well, if you are in the USA and are seeking a national parks job as an interpretive ranger, the minmum requirement, if you don't have a college degree, is two years of college plus two years of experience related to the job you're applying for, which could be volunteer work experience as well as job experience. Joe's suggestion of going to the NPS website is a great one. It lists all the current job openings in every national park.

Chanteyranger


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Subject: RE: BS: How do I become a park ranger?
From: GUEST,Chanteyranger
Date: 14 Apr 05 - 12:51 PM

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot, there's another govt website, www.usajobs.gov, which lists all the job openings in all federal agencies. One casn also be a ranger for the Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Forest Service as well as the National Park Service, though their missions are different.

But please do let us know what kind of rangering you're most interested in. It's a big question with lots of variables.

Chanteyranger


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Subject: RE: BS: How do I become a park ranger?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Apr 05 - 01:28 PM

Interestingly, you can also be a ranger for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which often has park land around dams and waterways. It's a very small organization, so there's not much room for promotion - but the Corps of Engineers rangers and a nice bunch of people. Once upon a time, I hired a Corps of Engineers ranger to work as a personnel investigator, but he went back to his old job at lower pay because he loved his work there so much.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: How do I become a park ranger?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 14 Apr 05 - 04:10 PM

I've worked for several of those agencies as a seasonal. The couple of times I accepted permanent jobs it was always a mistake and I went back to seasonal work.

It used to be an annual process, every fall, to get those summer seasonal positions. They had to be postmarked by Jan. 15 for jobs starting usually in May, so you had to think ahead. I haven't gone to look at any of this lately, but you need to check each agency for their hiring routine. For example, there were usually national centers to send the seasonal applications, with limited numbers of choices per applicant (for NPS, it used to be a couple of parks, and a couple of jobs in those parks). But if a place had special needs and could get local hiring authority, you could send an application directly to them if you learned about the job. With the advent of the internet, I don't know if it still works that way.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: How do I become a park ranger?
From: open mike
Date: 14 Apr 05 - 04:41 PM

or you could check the Forest Service
http://www.fs.fed.us/ The USFS is
administered by the Interior Dept.
and is in charge of a lot (dare i
say millions of acres?) of land.
Their employment info is here:
http://www.fs.fed.us/fsjobs/
here is volunteer info:
http://www.fs.fed.us/fsjobs/volunteers.html
they also have a volunteer program
Passport In Time...
http://www.passportintime.com/

There is also BLM but when i search it there is
a mesage that the page is down..and it goes here:
http://www.nifc.gov/offline/which i think may be
the interagency fire center in idaho.

How about bneing a game warden? U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service..
of Fish and Game--www.fws.gov/

Department of Fish and Game is usually the name for the
corresponding state agency.

Are you in the U.S.?


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Subject: RE: BS: How do I become a park ranger?
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Apr 05 - 05:27 PM

thanks everyone for this excellent information. I'm probably too old but I'm going to investigate anyway! don't ask me how old. I'm american, right joe?


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Subject: RE: BS: How do I become a park ranger?
From: GUEST,Chanteyranger
Date: 14 Apr 05 - 07:08 PM

Just one correction to open mike's post: The U.S. Forest Service is administereed by the USDA (U.S. Dept. of Agriculture). It's the National Park Service that is under Interior.

The park service has sites that interpret everything from soup to nuts, to coin an old phrase. ML King Jr's birthplace, Eugene O'Neill's house in Danville, CA, New Bedford Whaling, Women's Rights, and New Orleans Jazz NHS are just a few of the over 200 historical parks, sites, and monuments, not to mention all the nature parks. Presidents, artists, explorers, soldiers, and jazz musicians are all honored through the parks (a John Coltrane NHS is currently being reviewed as a possible future site). Even if you think you're too old to begin, GUEST, there are all sorts of ways to get involved as a volunteer, and many retirees/older folks volunteer in parks, as well as getting hired. There's a world of sites out there waiting for enthusiastic people to get involved in. Happy hunting, and post whenever you want more info from any of the mudcat ranger contingent.

Best,

Chanteyranger


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Subject: RE: BS: How do I become a park ranger?
From: alison
Date: 14 Apr 05 - 07:21 PM

I still do casual work as a park ranger.
the only qualifiaction they really wanted was a first aid certificate (which I don't have but I suppose being a nurse helps)

the other was enthusiam & an interest in the area, some of the others have their degrees but it wasn't a necessity.

re being too old we have rangers from early 20's to late 60's.

its a lovely job - good luck getting into it

as others have said see what other work you can do - we have bird & animal surveys which volunteers can help with - its a good foot in the door & experience for further applications

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: BS: How do I become a park ranger?
From: ranger1
Date: 14 Apr 05 - 07:43 PM

In the State of Maine, all you need for an entry level position is a high school diploma or GED, be at least 18 years of age and possess a valid ME drivers license. Entry level positions are all seasonal and don't pay a whole lot, but do offer full benefits. Entry level positions consist of laborer, receptionist, lifeguard and assistant ranger. Laborers do most of the grunt work, receptionists are the fee collectors, and assistant rangers are the next step up from laborers. At most of the smaller parks, the main difference between the three is the pay grade. Receptionists get yanked out of the booth to rake, mow and pick litter if it's quiet, and assistant rangers do the grunt work, because smaller parks don't have laborers.

As for age, two years ago, all the managers and rangers got shipped off to the 100 hour police academy course. In my session, we ranged in age from 21 all the way through 71. Larry and Francis are both still working, at 72 and 73 respectively. Oh, and BTW, even though we went to cop camp, we still don't carry weapons.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do I become a park ranger?
From: open mike
Date: 14 Apr 05 - 09:26 PM

u.s. Dept of interior (D.O.I.) http://www.doi.gov/

DOI manages 507 million acres of surface land,

or about one-fifth of the land in the U.S

The Dept of Agriculture oversees the forests

I guess because they consider lumber trees

as crops to be harvested././.which they are doing at a great rate!

http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usdahome


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Subject: RE: BS: How do I become a park ranger?
From: GUEST,Melani
Date: 15 Apr 05 - 06:29 PM

Not to be discouraging, but I have observed that it can be very difficult to get hired by the US National Park Service, especially if you are interested in working in a particular park or area. One of our rangers told me she applied for about 100 jobs before she was finally hired. And expertise in a particular subject doesn't seem to have much bearing on whether or not someone is hired. You pretty much have to be willing to go anywhere and do anything to build up points and seniority. In the case of interperative rangers, the NPS seems to think that anybody can be plugged in to any park and trained in a few weeks. The ranger mentioned above said that the idea was to avoid it being an "old boy" system where people are just hiring their friends, but it seems that the actual result is that it can be very difficult to hire the best person for the job, especially if another applicant is a veteran or has some other preferential factor.

So--perserverance furthers!


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Subject: RE: BS: How do I become a park ranger?
From: ranger1
Date: 15 Apr 05 - 06:58 PM

Everyone told me I was nuts to stay with the state park system, but most of the people who told me that were NPS folk. Eighteen years later, I'm still doing what I love, and none of them are working for the NPS anymore. If you're really interested, my advice is to start at the state or municipal level. Lots of states advertise their park postings on their state park websites. It's as good a place to start as any.


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Subject: RE: BS: How do I become a park ranger?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 15 Apr 05 - 07:43 PM

Guessing at agency acronyms isn't helpful if you're trying to track them down. Here are some starters. As has been mentioned above, the requirements for most of these jobs may say you need a high school diploma, but when so many who apply have at least a 4-year degree, chances are slim that they'll get past that lot to start picking up non-college folks unless they have a lot of extra points from military service and other protected categories of workers.

I've broken down the agencies and given a little information about some of them here. For all sorts of information these days you can start your search at http://www.firstgov.gov/.

USDA--United States Department of Agriculture
  • Forest Service--primary USDA agency with outdoors jobs, primarily foresters, if you're looking for timber management work or fire fighters if you're looking for hard work, excitement and lots of boredom commingled. There are interpretive jobs in the forest service and some recreation jobs. I think they're still classed as forestry aid and tech, not park aid and tech.

    USDI--United States Department of the Interior
  • National Park Service--the biggest agency with "ranger" jobs, also an agency with the attitude that "if you don't like the conditions, quit--there are plenty of people in line who want to replace you." Park aid and tech. Other jobs have different descriptions, and can be a foot in the door. I knew several friends who started in maintenance jobs then moved over into the park ranger jobs once they had a foot in the door. They have some firefighting here also, but not as much as USFS.

  • Bureau of Land Management (BLM)--they have some very nice ranger jobs. I once turned down the job of river ranger on the Missouri, because they rated my application wrong and offered wages lower than I was willing to accept. Darn. They came back with another offer, but I'd already taken a different job. Lots of firefighting here.
  • Bureau of Reclamation (BOR)--they have seasonal jobs, but I don't know if they have rangers these days.
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)--a dicey agency to get involved with. If you're Indian, give it a try. There's lots of infighting and some pretty loose management of this agency. The USDI is still clueless as to how to fix things here.
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)--there are some very nice seasonal jobs with these folks.
  • United States Geological Survey (USGS)--don't be surprised--someone has to do the on-the-ground work with all of those maps. I don't know if they have seasonals now, but I think they used to.

    United States Army
  • Corps of Engineers (Civilian) (COE)
    Lots of park rangers on their various dam projects and waterways. They're more like a dumbed-down NPS, few interpretive jobs, mostly just crowd control, law enforcement, and inspecting the work of contractors. In the summer when the campgrounds are filled with visitors there used to be limited interpretive programs.

    SRS


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    Subject: RE: BS: How do I become a park ranger?
    From: Stilly River Sage
    Date: 16 Apr 05 - 03:01 AM

    Oops. Forgot the [li] html next to Bureau of Land Management. It's a big agency.
    thus:
  • Bureau of Land Management

    (if a clone should be so inclined)

    SRS


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    Subject: RE: BS: How do I become a park ranger?
    From: GUEST,.gargoyle
    Date: 16 Apr 05 - 03:40 AM

    If you select the state of Maine - consider Game-Warden over Forest-Ranger.

    While both positions are near commensurate on the state pay scale .... the position of Game-Warden permits your family to "eat the evidence" which is contained within you freezer after it has gone to court. Your family of five may live quite nicely off frozen salmon, trout, bear, and moose during the winter months. Unfortunately, the spruce-bud-worm is not appitizing to most Forester's families.

    Sincerely,
    Gargoyle


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    Subject: RE: BS: How do I become a park ranger?
    From: GUEST,Stilly River Sage
    Date: 16 Apr 05 - 10:36 AM

    Funny, Garg! When my ex was working in the field as a ranger for the Corps of Engineers near Austin, Texas, the state fish and wildlife folks would come through every so often with a net to take a sample of the game fish in the lake. The Corps folks always lined up to take home the "findings."

    SRS


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    Subject: RE: BS: How do I become a park ranger?
    From: GUEST
    Date: 18 Apr 05 - 04:23 PM

    A degree in Pik-a-nic Basket security might come in useful?


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