The United State has over 84 million acres of protected land that is overseen by the National Park Service and various state agencies. Approximately 275 million people from all over the world visit these national parks. With this number of people visiting federal parks and other state wilderness areas, the need for job positions such as a ranger is massive. These positions are typically filled by people who have an abundant passion for the great outdoors and believe that being a forest ranger is fulfilling and rewarding.
Forest rangers are professionally trained individuals whose duties are to protect and manage wooded areas as well as handle and assist visitors to their covered areas. They are trained to respond to emergencies such as forest fires, first aid, and many other issues that arise. Most of their time is spent patrolling forest areas to ensure safety and provide protection to the natural resources.
In addition, forest rangers have a large part in fire control management within the parks to which they are assigned. They are also responsible for educating the public about their responsibilities in an outdoor environment and in forest fire prevention. Having the public be present in the woods provides a great opportunity to present fire prevention awareness to these park tourists visiting their area. Forest rangers can act as guides for visitors and tourists to provide specific information about some of the park's highlights and other surrounding interests.
Requirements and Qualifications
Depending on each state's guidelines to become a ranger, an individual must pass all appropriate requirements and qualifications. Some positions require formal education such as a college degree in a particular field of study; other positions include such education as a recommendation for elevated consideration for a particular job. Listed below are some of the requirements and qualifications for being selected as a forest ranger.
o U.S.Citizenship - Since most hiring is done by a state or federal government agency including the National Park Service, only citizens of the United States are eligible for employment in a forest ranger position.
o Drug Testing - As is common with almost all jobs, random drug testing is required for every person seeking this position.
o Physical Requirements - The job requires a certain amount of physical strength and ability so prior physical conditioning is a good way to be able to pass any physical qualifications for this job.
o Specific Degrees or Work Experience - Although not required for every position, related degrees such as environmental sciences, animal science fields, or biology are a means to increase an individual's consideration for this employment opportunity.
o Bi-Lingual - Depending upon the specific park's location, fluency in another language may be required by some states or the federal government; at other times, this may be another "plus factor" to increase one's consideration for the position.
o Firearms Training - Again dependent upon each location's necessity, certified firearms training may be required to handle delegated job duties for this occupation.
Working outdoors is where most time is going to be spent by forest rangers. No job comes without paperwork duties, so some indoor time is spent in an office environment to allow for the completion of any necessary reports and other assigned duties. Typically, the working schedule is daily hours during the week with some weekend duty requirements. Locations in any remote wilderness area could bring much different hours beyond a typical work week.
There are great career opportunities for forest rangers according to the United States National Park Service. This is an entry-level position with upward movement possible to become a district or interpretive ranger, park manager or park planner. District rangers are responsible for maintaining larger forest areas while interpretive rangers are specialized in law enforcement duties.
According to salary reports, the earnings of this position can range between $25,805 and $39,814 which includes a base salary and other bonus income. Health insurance and other benefits will most likely be considered as additional beyond this basic annual salary range.
So there are some of the facts about becoming a forest ranger. For those who feel lured to work outdoors and particularly to work in the great forests of this country, the job of the park ranger may be just the best one to consider - good luck in seeking such a position!
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