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Why are you a Park Ranger?


What would you say qualifies an individual for Rangerhood?  

Ranger positions are a combination of teacher, scientist, law enforcement, search and rescue, medical aid, cashier, and janitor.  Knowledge of the environment, of the park's natural and cultural history is not always required.  Customer service skills are probably the most important, which most people acquire through part-time retail positions.  You don’t need to have a college degree to collect user fees or even to lead nature walks, yet most Ranger positions are incredibly difficult to attain.  Is this due to high expectations on qualifications, or government bureaucracy gumming up the works?  Most positions are seasonal, only three months per year; how do these highly-qualified individuals survive during the remainder of the year?  What would make them want to leave 9 months of alternative employment for 3 months of no weekends, holidays or benefits --and low pay?

As the season comes to a close, I'm trying to remember why I took the position. Was it really just for the cool hats?


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 3rd, 2007 11:50 pm (UTC)
I love the hats!

I quit a job to go to a two week volunteer gig once. I did it for the cool uniform, partly. =) I think it just depends where you are in your life whether it seems worth it or not. Certainly seasonals get short shafted a *lot*.

Lots of people want to be Rangers, which is why I think you get so many uber qualified people in positions. When I applied for the perm version of my temp job I scored a 99. And so did someone else! That's a little scary.

The first time I applied for this job I had no idea about the secret government language required in so many KSAs. I ended up hiring a Federal resume writing service to help me. That's a privilege not affordable to all.

I get a lot of flak for having never been a seasonal. (And I am sad that I missed out on some of the fun bonding summer Rangers have. I was doing television internships in college though, because I thought that's what I wanted to be when I grew up.) I think from the outside it looks like I got a perm job quickly. But I also ended up quitting a job to go to the Seasonal LE Academy, because I knew that would increase my resume incredibly. So, a short path to perm, yes. But not necessarily easy.

Tough decisions. Lots of paperwork. But at least there are the hats.
Sep. 4th, 2007 02:44 am (UTC)
I like the idea of not working too long at the same job, because I'm afraid I can't handle a long term position, at least not one that doesn't remain interesting. I was disappointed when I took my internship at Black Canyon National Park that I didn't get to connect more with the environment, that I often am just a cashier and answerer of basic, repetitive questions, so I just don't know what I want to do now. This job hasn't kept me inspired.
May. 11th, 2010 06:43 pm (UTC)
A Park Ranger's Life
I was first attracted to the idea of being a park ranger when my family visited parks when I was young. I found the rangers in their flat hats on horses inspirational and I decided at an early age that this was the life I wanted. I was fortunate to live my dream for more thatn 32 years working as a National Park Ranger in the US.
You can learn more about what it is like to be a park ranger in my book "A Park Ranger's Life: Thirty Two Years Protecting Our National Parks" and on my blog www.aparkrangerslife.blogspot.com
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )