Park Ranger Education & Pay

The qualifications required for both general and interpretive rangers are the same. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age by mid-May prior to the summer season they wish to work, must have a valid driver’s license, be in good physical condition, and have 20/20 corrected vision. They must also have one year of experience in technical, administration or scientific work in a related field, or experience working in fish and wildlife management, recreation management, or in working at a park, recreation area, or historical refuge.

Completion of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, with at least 24 semester credits in courses related or pertaining to the natural and cultural resource management, may be substituted for actual field experience.

The qualification requirements for law enforcement rangers are largely the same, with the additional caveats that applicants must pass a drug test, be at least 21 years of age, and complete a National Park Service accredited law enforcement course prior to employment. It is recommended, but not required, that all applicants have training in first aid, CPR, and training or experience in search and rescue.

Although pay scales are adjusted periodically, rangers generally fall under the General Schedule (GS) grade 5 category of the Federal Wage System. Promotions for seasonal workers are unheard of due to the temporary nature of the work. However, rangers do get access to subsidized accommodations, and in forest service areas which are unusually remote, they may be freely provided. At GS level 5, you can expect to make up to about $17 per hour, depending on the responsibilities of your position.

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