Summary: A park ranger doesn’t make a ton of money but can enjoy a variety of roles through enforcing laws and regulations and also educating the public with tours and programs.
Did you dream as a young child visiting a national park to be a park ranger someday? Any job is possible if you do the research, effort, and time into making the dream a reality. A park ranger is a job that interests many because they feel the job is nothing but hanging out outdoors. The truth is that rangers are responsible for much more.
A park ranger has many job roles. Some sit in the booth collecting fees while others are out hiking and teaching visitors about the geology and animals of the park. Rangers participate in programs that educate people about park wildlife, geology, plants, history, culture, environment, and other issues that affect the parks. Other rangers take on the role of law enforcement and wilderness protection and management.
The high salary of a park ranger is $59,060 or $28.40 per hour. This salary is nothing to be excited about, but may be worth it if you are passionate about the field. The education required is a high school diploma, a two year vocational degree in criminology, natural resource management, public administration, criminal justice or park and recreation management, and then completing a field training program. The best chance of finding a position is near the national parks, but park rangers can work in state and local parks as well. The job requires strong physical fitness, good health and a mechanical aptitude.
The National Park Service has around 16,000 permanent employees and up to 10,000 temporary and seasonal employees each year. With so few permanent positions, the best way to find employment as a park ranger is to start out in an internship or volunteer position.
Photo: www.skagit.eduWant to Become a Park Ranger? by Amanda Griffin