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Ranger Education & Experience (NPS)

Most rangers these days have a bachelor's degree in an environmental or wildlife field. And almost no one is hired for a full-time job without doing seasonal work first.

Seasonal work or internships are your chance to show your abilities, interest, and enthusiasm. If you've decided where you want to work, ask the management there what courses they like applicants to have, and then take them!

Seasonal Law Enforcement Training Program(SLETP)

The Seasonal Law Enforcement Training Program (SLETP) was developed in 1977 to prepare the seasonal ranger to perform law enforcement in areas administered by the National Park Service. Click here to view a listing of Schools that offer the Seasonal Law Enforcement Training Program(SLETP)and visit their home pages.

High School Prep

Take biological sciences, history, English, and computer courses.

Volunteer at a park near you or get a summer job there so that you can get some early experience and an idea of what it's really like to work in a park situation.

College Options

Among the courses recommended are botany, biology, geology, history, and archaeology, including 30 or more hours of natural sciences.

Only after completing some seasonal work can you fill out the federal application for a full-time ranger's job, so now's the time to start applying for seasonal employment. You must be 18 and have a driver's license, and you can't apply to more than two parks.

If your really interested...

The application for seasonal park rangers asks about any safety and medical experience you may have, plus law enforcement experience and outdoor skills like rock climbing, swimming, hiking, and canoeing. There are also places to write about your leadership experiences and any dramatic arts or teaching experiences you've had.

Other helpful skills include the ability to operate and repair equipment (like chain saws and firefighting tools) and vehicles (trucks, farm equipment, boats). Knowledge of archaeology and historical preservation and any experience in these areas are also of interest.

The ability to work with people of all ages, cultures, and abilities is very important in the work of a ranger, so any experiences in this area will also be worth noting on your application.

More Education & Experience Paths

With at least three years of parks experience, plus skills in law enforcement, conservation, management, and communications, it's still possible to be a ranger without a four-year degree.