A Career as a Park Ranger
If you are passionate about culture, history and nature, and dedicated to protecting the natural resources
we have in this country, then a career as a park ranger might just be perfect for you. There are park
rangers working in all sorts of places, from monuments such as Alcatraz and the Statue of Liberty to
massive parks such as the Everglades, the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone. Park rangers’ jobs differ
quite a bit depending on their position and place of employment, so there is plenty of room for a diverse
population of employees in this national network. Whether you are more of a born leader, team player or
avid educator, you may find your ideal job at one of our nation’s great parks.
Getting Started in the Career
There are many fine college programs that are intended for future park rangers and other recreational
professionals, but before you even think about higher education, there are many things you can do to get
started in high school. Make sure you focus on courses such as biology, chemistry, ecology, life science
and the physical sciences. Try to get comfortable speaking in front of audiences; perhaps even consider
joining the debate team. It’s also in your best interest to join outdoors or environmental clubs at your
school, or volunteer for an organization such as The Sierra Club or the National Park Service.
Once you begin a college program and/or working in the field, you may choose an area of specialization,
such as water testing or replanting native grass. Whatever job you end up with, you will need to be able to
manage and plan to ensure the protection of our natural resources. Enforcing rules and educating the
public are also important aspects of the job. Park rangers must be physically fit as well, since the job
requires a great deal of hiking and working outdoors.
Salary, Job Outlook and More
There are different types of park ranger jobs; some rangers work for the National Park Service and others
work for the United States Department of the Interior, for example. Some jobs are seasonal and others
are year-round. The annual salaries for these jobs may range from $27,026 to $53,234, with the higher
end reserved for those with more education and experience. The competition within this job field is tough,
since there are a lot of people who dream of becoming park rangers.
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