Park rangers are responsible for performing law enoforcement duties including the detection, investigation, apprehension, detention, and prosecution of violators of the laws, rules, and regulations to insure the protection of life and property and the safe use of the park's resources. Duties often include law enforcement, emergency medical services, search and rescue, wildlife monitoring and control, and resource and public use management activities. Law enforcement patrols and investigations are often done on foot, four wheel drive vehicle, boat, ATV, and snowmobile.
Park rangers have to do a lot of work outdoors in all types of weather. Duties often require extended exposure to conditions including temperatures well below freezing to in excess of 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Emergency service and law enforcement work requires entry into hazardous environments, exposure to dangerous persons, animals, and substances, and potential exposure to infectious diseases. Long periods of surveillance work may be required in cramped or unpleasant locations and under unpleasant conditions. A wide range of personal protective equipment and clothing is required to be used and worn, some of which may be uncomfortable, hot or inconvenient to wear.
Park rangers are sort of a combination between police patrol officer and game warden or wildlife conservation officer. Some park rangers function more as police patrol officers, and some function more as game wardens depending on where they work. Pay varies, but park rangers usually get great benefits.
If you want to become a park ranger, you should get a college degree. Get a four year degree if you can. Biology, criminal justice, communications, environmental science, land management, law, or natural history are some good majors for park rangers. You should consider attending the Seasonal Law Enforcement Training Program at one of the nine schools that offer the program. A successful graduate becomes eligible to receive a Type II law enforcement commission from the National Park Service once a background investigation, drug testing and medical screening is completed. Once obtained, the commission enables the bearer to carry firearms, make arrests, investigate crimes and assist in the execution of warrants.
Being a park ranger can be an exciting and rewarding job for someone that loves nature and wants to serve and protect. Do you want to be a park ranger? If so, find out more information about the colleges that offer the Seasonal Law Enforcement Training Program.