When visiting a state or national park, I often see a park ranger patrolling the campgrounds. Seeing the ranger gives me some comfort that we are safe in the park and are being looked after. The park ranger has many duties, and, of course, one of them is looking after the park guests.
Do you ever wonder what other jobs are like a park ranger? Especially if a rogue bear passes through and a park ranger shows up to reassure us everything will be fine.
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Jobs Similar to Park Ranger
Before we discuss other jobs like a Park Ranger, we need to understand a park ranger’s duties. A park ranger has many requirements and responsibilities to fulfill the position.
Park Ranger Requirements
To qualify as a park ranger, there are many job requirements to be met, including:
- Bachelor’s degree in conversation science, forestry, environmental science, or another related field.
- Certified in CPR and First Aid.
- Extra experience in the appropriate field.
- Strong skills in communications.
- Desire to aid people and take part in conservation efforts.
- Willingness to work weekends, holidays, or evenings.
Park Ranger Responsibilities
A park ranger has many job responsibilities that include:
- Greet visitors and be able to explain park rules and safety regulations.
- Patrol the campground to ensure park rules are followed. And visitors are not disturbing the natural environment.
- Work at the visitors center to assist in pointing out interesting areas to visit. Also, hand out maps and ensure guests know off-limit park areas.
- Conduct educational presentations and tours of the park grounds.
- Check campsites to ensure they are ready for guests and maintain park maintenance.
- Perform emergency care, conduct search, and rescue, and assist with forest fire containment.
- Perform animal care, like caring for injured animals, trapping, or removing animal carcasses.
- Promote and develop environmental education programs for schools and other groups.
Park Ranger Salary
Park ranger salaries are often based on the definition of the ranger’s role in a National Park. These roles range from interpretive roles to park maintenance or law enforcement duties. Law enforcement duties include enforcing federal and state laws or making arrests.
The different park ranger jobs may be full-time or part-time, even seasonal. Seasonal workers can earn significant overtime pay, especially in the busy summer months. But, seasonal work at a small park may be as little as $15 an hour.
In comparison, career park rangers at the larger national and state parks may make $80,000 a year. There are several other factors to determine a park ranger’s salary, such as:
- Park agency type, whether Federal or State Park
- The scope of the park ranger job and the size of the park
- Park ranger position, such as protective park ranger or cultural park ranger.
- Experience with the commensurate education level.
What Jobs Are Similar to a Park Ranger?
Many jobs are available like park rangers at the Federal and state levels. These jobs include:
1. Wildland Firefighter Job Similar to a Park Ranger
A person trained in fighting and preventing wildfires is a wildland firefighter. A wildland firefighter works in grasslands, forests, and places where wildfires can occur. They usually work with other firefighters in teams when combating fires.
Or, they can work alone when performing preventative maintenance of the wildlands.
Wildland Firefighter Requirements:
- Education: Academic study with credible course work in various areas, including:
- Range Management or Conservation
- Wildland Fires Science
- Civil or Forest Engineering
- Wildlife Management
- Training: A wildland firefighter must be in top physical conditions in wildland firefighting. The candidate has to take a series of Work Capacity Tests to determine their physical status. This test is necessary before issuing an Incident Qualification Card required for work.
- Salaries: Wildland firefighters usually make around $40,000 a year.
- Employment Tips: Look for wildland firefighter job opportunities in the off-season. Search for jobs in Oct-Dec as these positions will fill jobs for the Jan-March fire season. Visit USA Jobs and search for the keyword: wildland fire.
2. Range Manager Job Similar to a Park Ranger
Range managers investigate and work to improve the quality of forests. They work under forester technicians’ supervision and help maintain, develop and protect forests. The range manager spends a lot of time working outdoors.
This work may be in remote areas, on rough terrain, and in all weather conditions.
Range Manager Requirements:
- Education: Range managers have a bachelor’s degree or associate degree in these fields:
- Certified Range Management Consultant (CRMC)
- Certified Professional Range Manager (CPRM)
- Plant, animal, or soil sciences
- Natural resources management
- Range management or science
- Working knowledge of mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, and communications skills
- Training: Range managers must be in good physical condition. Most of their work will be outdoors in adverse weather and in uneven and remote locations. Traveling the range may need an ATV, horse, small plane, or walking to designated areas. This position often requires little time at home and being in the range for long hours.
- Salaries: Range managers usually make, on average, $63,000 a year.
- Employment Tips: Explore range manager job opportunities to find opportunities that interest you. Also, take the career test opportunity to determine if this might be a career you would like to pursue.
3. Park Naturalist Job Similar to a Park Ranger
A park naturalist plans conduct, and develops programs to educate the public. They present information on the parks’ natural, historical, and scientific data. These programs are conducted at local, state, or national park levels.
The park naturalist’s job is to promote the federal, state, or local parks’ unique features. They conduct field trips and lectures highlighting the park’s features.
Park Naturalist Requirements:
- Education: Park naturalists have bachelor’s degrees or master’s degrees in these fields:
- Agroecology and Sustainable Agriculture
- Range Science and Management
- Natural Resources Management and Policy
- Water, Wetlands, and Resource Management
- Natural Resources/Conservation, General
- Training: Park naturalists can get typical training online. These studies include communications, travel and tourism, business, and marketing. Also, studies for reading, writing, and public speaking are beneficial. Some national parks also have internships and volunteer training programs. These programs are held during the summer and fall seasons.
- Salaries: Park naturalists make, on average, $65,000 a year.
- Employment Tips: Explore park naturalist opportunity listings for any jobs that interest you.
4. Scientist in Parks Job Similar to a Park Ranger
Scientist in Parks (SIP) program promotes science for natural resources and management. Scientists in Parks projects have included surveying cacti in Saguaro National Park. Also, protection for nesting sea turtles at Padre Island National Seashore.
SIP also measured the soil in the mangrove forests in the Everglades National Park.
Scientist in Parks Requirements:
- Education: Most Scientists in Parks have experience and requirements in the following areas:
- Science communications or science education.
- Familiarity with programming languages to structure database queries.
- Applicants must be U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent legal residents.
- Experience in data collection and knowledge of detailed Standard Operating Procedures.
- Experience in volunteer coordination, community outreach, and crew leadership.
- Training: The Scientists in Parks work experience program is for promoting various sciences. These sciences include physical, social, biological, educational, and communications.
- Salaries: Park naturalists usually stipend around $500-$600 weekly. Also, there may be free housing or a housing stipend included.
- Employment Tips: Explore the many Scientist in Parks work opportunities.
5. Park Peace Officer Job Similar to a Park Ranger
Another classification of park rangers is Park Peace Officer. The park peace officer is a position that involves law enforcement. It also includes various other services, including visitor services for the park system.
The park peace officer has full law enforcement powers under Penal Code Section 830.2. They perform several officer duties, from patrolling the park to making physical arrests. They may take command of park emergencies to conduct search and rescue operations.
When necessary, also provide any necessary emergency medical aid.
Park Peace Officer Requirements:
- Education: Most Park Peace Officers have experience and requirements in the following areas:
- Be a U.S. citizen with 20/20 corrected vision AND 20/40 uncorrected vision.
- Graduation from Peace Officer and Standards Training (POST) academy.
- Obtaining a POST Basic Certificate or higher certificate.
- Posses appropriate CPR and first-aid certificate.
- Successful completion of the Department of Parks and Recreation training program. This program includes visitor services, resources management, park interpretation, and parks training.
- Training: The park peace office has several qualification tests to complete. These tests include POST certification and passing drug screening tests. The candidate must be willing to work weekends and holidays, and other criteria.
- Salaries: Park peace officers make, on average, $52,000 per year.
- Employment Tips: Discover the available park peace officer jobs.
6. Game Warden Job Similar to a Park Ranger
Also known as conservation officers, game wardens are law enforcement officers. They have special training in wildlife and conservation law. Their mission is to protect the natural resources of state, federal, and private lands.
Also, to enforce public safety and conservation laws for fishing, hunting, and trapping. They also enforce various other outdoor recreation activities.
Game Warden Requirements:
- Education: Most game warden officers have to meet the following requirements:
- Posses at least an associate degree in several fields. These fields include law enforcement and police science. Also, including wildlife management, fish management, and psychology, among other disciplines.
- Previous military or police work may substitute for some educational requirements.
- Ideal candidates should have an undergraduate degree. This degree should be in nature, wildlife management, or a crime-related field.
- Pass a physical fitness test and be at least 21 years old. To qualify as a game warden for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, be between 21-36.
- Successful completion of the Department of Parks and Recreations’ training program. This training includes visitor services, resources management, park interpretation, and parks training.
- Training: The game warden selection process requires completing a 20-week training course. This training is for wildlife enforcement and criminal investigation. Training is at the Federal Law Enforcement Agency in Glynco, Georgia. Upon course completion, extra training will is conducted in the field.
- Salaries: Game warden officers make, on average, $57,000 per year.
- Employment Tips: Discover how to find game warden officer work opportunities.
7. Forestry Technician Job Similar to a Park Ranger
Forestry Technicians are under the supervision of foresters. Their job is to gather information about wildlife and woodland conditions. Also, the position requires monitoring forestry resources and carrying out designated conservation projects.
This position requires working outdoors, preserving and sustaining natural resources and wildlife. Their goal is to help maintain a healthy park ecosystem.
Forestry Technician Requirements:
- Education: Most forestry technicians have to meet the following requirements:
- A high school diploma with an associate degree may be required.
- The field of study should include forestry technology, forestry, or another related field.
- The ideal candidate should have documentation, mapping technology, field testing, and assessment skills.
- Be fit and prepared to work in the field under hazardous conditions. These conditions include adverse weather, bug bites, insect stings, and rough terrain.
- Comfortable working alone in isolated areas at either the state or federal level.
- Training: The forestry technician position needs an associate’s degree. This degree should be in forestry or other related fields. An applicant with a degree accredited by the Society of American Foresters (SAF) is best.
- Salaries: Forestry Technicians make, on average, $45,000 per year.
- Employment Tips: Discover how to find forestry technician jobs.
8. Park and Facilities Manager Job Similar to a Park Ranger
A park and facilities manager is a supervisory management position. This position deals with all the various responsibilities for park operations. Responsibilities include planning, organizing, and coordinating park facility operations and maintenance.
Job requirements include long and short-term project planning, construction, design, maintenance, and repairs. Also, the parks and facility manager supports the Parks and Recreations Advisory Board.
Park and Facilities Manager Requirements:
- Education: The park and facilities manager must meet the following requirements:
- Bachelor’s degree in different fields of study. Thes fields include landscaping, leisure studies, natural sciences, and architecture.
- The ability to manage staff under various situations and to be able to communicate with a team.
- A park and facility manager needs to be in good physical shape. There may be times for strenuous walking in rough terrain during hazardous weather.
- Analytical skills are required to analyze situations and plan appropriate actions.
- Be able to think and use sound judgment with reasoning to make decisions.
- Training: Posses a bachelor’s degree in the appropriate field of study. The park and facilities manager should have experience with parks and landscape architecture. Supervisory experience is beneficial for park managers at all levels of government.
- Salaries: On average, park and facilities managers make $90,000-$100,000 per year.
- Employment Tips: Explore park and facility manager jobs to see if you qualify.
9. Zoologist Job Similar to a Park Ranger
Zoologists are biologists studying various animal species. They study each animal’s unique characteristics and behavior. They also learn how to understand they interact with their ecosystem.
The zoologist’s mission may involve animal management, research, or education. They may specialize in different branches in their field. These branches include mammalogy (mammals), ichthyology (fish), herpetology (reptiles), and ornithology (birds).
Some zoologists may specialize in concentrating on and studying a single species.
- Education: The zoologist position has to meet the following requirements:
- Bachelor’s degree in zoology, biology, or a related field. Also, there is a preference for a master’s or Ph.D. degree, depending on responsibilities.
- Depending on the job description, extra studies may be needed. These studies include veterinary science, animal behavior, and ecology.
- The zoologist requires many skills, including critical thinking, communication, observation, and observation.
- This position requires a candidate to have a comfortable familiarity with several areas. These areas include research technology, equipment, and data analysis software.
- Although not required, becoming a member of a professional society is recommended. Consider joining the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. Also the American Association of Zoo Keepers and the Zoological Association of America.
- Training: It is preferred for a zoologist to have an advanced degree. But at least have a bachelor’s degree in biology. Then focus on obtaining an advanced zoology degree. There may also be more training needed in other areas. These studies may include animal sciences, statistics, chemistry, communications, and computer technology.
- Salaries: Zoologists make, on average, $63,000 per year.
- Employment Tips: Check zoologist jobs to see if you qualify.
10. Interpretive and Cultural Park Ranger Job Similar to a Park Ranger
The interpretive and cultural park ranger is tasked with a distinct mission. Duties are to disseminate general, scientific, and historical information to visitors. They focus on a city, state, or national park’s cultural and natural resources.
An interpretive and cultural park ranger may be stationed at different park locations. These locations may be at the visitor’s entrance, information desk, or visitor center. They provide interesting information about a specific park’s unique features.
Their work includes organizing lectures, talks, and guided and self-guided tours.
Interpretive and Cultural Park Ranger Requirements:
- Education: The interpretive and cultural park ranger has to meet the following requirements:
- The ability to convey to a visitor what a park is protects and the park’s mission.
- A degree from an accredited school in a field related to the profession. These fields include wildlife management, archeology, ecology, resource management, and geology.
- Complete NPS (National Park Service) training in interpretation and Education Career Academy.
- The ability to conduct interpretative talks for walking tours, campfires, or civic organizations.
- The interpretive and cultural park ranger must be able to convey the park’s culture. Explain the importance of the park’s story and its resources to visitors.
- Training: The interpretive and cultural park ranger should have a degree in a field of study. These fields of study include natural sciences, history, anthropology, and archeology. Also, social sciences, museum sciences, or public administration are appropriate.
- Salaries: Interpretive and cultural park rangers make, on average, $45,000 per year.
- Employment Tips: Explore how an interpretive and cultural park ranger can make money.