Park Rangers

Last updated December 31, 2014

Park rangers protect natural resources and historical and cultural monuments. They work in places across the country, from Alcatraz and the Grand Canyon to the Everglades and the Statue of Liberty. Most do everything from supervising park staff to teaching the public to value the site’s resources.

After getting experience in the field, a ranger might specialize. With a focus on conserving natural resources, for example, a ranger might replant native grasses on a prairie or test water samples to find the source of pollution. Whatever their duties, rangers need to be able to communicate well with the public. 

Park rangers carry out plans to manage natural resources, enforce rules, and educate the public to ensure the protection of natural resources and cultural and historical monuments.

“I spend my day in the parks of Brooklyn talking with people about nature and … the history of Brooklyn.” Bonnie, Urban Park Ranger

Are You Ready To...?

  • Lead campfire talks or hikes to teach people about nature
  • Earn certification as a police officer if enforcing the law is one of your duties
  • Get training in first aid and CPR
  • Pass a written exam if required
  • Carry out routine tasks, such as cleaning restrooms and restocking firewood
  • Do more desk work as you advance in your career

It Helps To Be...

A nature lover in good physical shape who enjoys working outdoors. You should also enjoy the sciences and have strong spoken communication skills.

Make High School Count

  • Make the most of opportunities to practice public speaking. Take speech, join the debate team, and present oral reports in class.
  • Get a good grounding in the life sciences, such as biology and ecology, and the physical sciences, such as chemistry.
  • Join the environmental or outdoors club at your school or volunteer for a related government agency like the National Park Service or nonprofit group like the Sierra Club.

Did You Know?

The key to getting a year-round, permanent position in this field is to get experience as a seasonal or volunteer worker.