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How to Become a Park Ranger

Published by Nanni on Saturday, July 07, 2012

Photo credit by USFWS Headquarters

For an office as big as the whole outdoors, becoming a park ranger can offer many life and career rewards. It provides a career worthy of devotion and the opportunity to protect a sacred trust. One will need a love of nature and the environment to best enjoy working with the plants and wildlife of our planet. A dedication to service and protection against harm is also required, as a park ranger must act as a forest policeman as well when far into the woods. The pay is comfortable enough to enjoy the added spiritual benefits that can be derived from such work.

It does require some preparation before applying to be a park ranger. Knowledge is a major key to obtaining a park ranger job. Depending on the particular state or agency you apply to, it will require either an Associate or Bachelors degree in such fields as Environmental Science, Biology, Business Administration, Law Enforcement, or Criminal Justice. Check with the department you wish to work for to get full details on just what educational requirements they have.

Once you are qualified education-wise, be prepared to take a full medical and physical examination. There are administrational jobs for those not so athletically inclined. For the most part, however, you will be doing physical labor at times as well as the potential for dealing with vandals in the protection of the wilderness. A love of hiking is an asset for park rangers and extensive knowledge of the flora and fauna also gives the chance to instruct and educate tourists about the land.

When entering service as a park ranger, you can expect to be moved to several locations during your career. While not required, relocation is the standard method of advancing in rank and position within the park service hierarchy.

Part of the application process will usually include testing on various branches of knowledge and pertinent skills to perform the duties of a park ranger. There may be a probationary period required in which the applicant works and trains with another park ranger as a final test. It is often only by doing some of the actual work that a person can decide if such a career is right for them.

Even if you are not seeking a life long full time career as a park ranger, there are other options available for one who still wishes to work in the natural habitat. There are both Volunteer Groups and Internships offered by many park services. With the increase of tourism in the summer, many park services hire Seasonal help. Those who qualify for these potions must still prove a deep knowledge of the environment as most positions are for such tasks as Park Guides and Visitor Assistants. Even Maintenance positions require advanced knowledge of the proper care for the natural habitat they work within.

But is you study and learn the knowledge and skills required of a park ranger the chances are you will be accepted to work alongside Smokey the Bear to protect the life of our most natural resources.

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