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Logo bar of the Alaska Public Lands Information Center which are located in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Tok and Ketchikan
A bright orange sun reflects in the waters of an ocean bay. Small spruce covered islands are in silhouette and a low mountain range is cast in a smokey gray palate.
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How Do I Become a Park Ranger
 
A close up shot of the traditional National Park ranger flat hat leaning at an angle on a pair of brown leather hiking boots. The ground is grassy with brown leaves.
A ranger's flat hat at leather hiking boots are prized possessions.
Becoming a Park Ranger

Thank you for your inquiry into employment as a ranger. The goal of a national park ranger is to protect and preserve public resources while helping people enjoy them. This may be accomplished by fighting fires, enforcing land use regulations, or studying the natural world to learn how to better care for it. Education or interpretation is another field in which rangers work. Teaching people about parks, national monuments, and historic sites helps people understand and appreciate these national treasures and inspires their desire to protect them. These varied tasks can all be part of the job of a ranger.

Many rangers start as seasonal employees or volunteers. They work in urban and rural areas and often work in several different parks or positions to find the situation they enjoy the most. Some move into permanent positions and higher government service levels as their careers continue and they take on more administrative or legislative responsibilities.

The park service has about 16,000 permanent employees and hires up to 10,000 seasonal rangers every year. An additional 125,000 people volunteer every year. These rangers and volunteers get to work in the most beautiful places in the nation, doing exciting and important assignments.

If you are interested in following this career path, there are several information sources and programs to help you get started.


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A collage of photos showing Park rangers at work. One ranger weighs a tranquilized black bear cub, another points off camera while talking to visitors, two rangers use solar powered equipment to conduct research in the desert and another leans down to explain something to two small children. There are also logos for USA Jobs and the Student Conservation Association.
There are many types of careers within the National Park Service.

Sources

Applications for seasonal ranger work can be found on the web at http://www.nps.gov/personnel/seasonal.htm Special local knowledge about a park near home can be useful in the National Park Service's local hire program. These are some of the ways you can begin a ranger career. To learn more about being a seasonal ranger at the Anchorage Alaska Public Lands Information Center, go to our http://www.alaskacenters.gov/job-opportunities.cfm for a PDF.

Look up open jobs on the National Park Service's website at http://www.nps.gov/index.htm. For jobs other than seasonal positions, check out USA Jobs at http://www.usajobs.gov/

Undergraduate and graduate studies focused on physical sciences, resource management and business administration or pertinent work experience can also help a candidate qualify for a ranger position. Find research programs with the National Science Foundation. Volunteering as a ranger is also a way to help you qualify.  

The Student Conservation Association cooperates with the National Parks with a volunteer program which provides valuable on-the-job training.



A map of Alaska showing only the National Parks and Monuments.
There are 16 National Parks and Monuments in Alaska.

There are 17 Parks in Alaska: 

Alagnak Wild River,

Aleutian WWII Nat. Historic Area,

Aniakchak National Monument & Preserve, 

Bering Land Bridge Nat. Preserve,

Cape Krusenstern Nat. Monument, 

Denali Nat. Park & Preserve, 

Gates of the Arctic Nat. Park & Preserve, 

Glacier Bay Nat. Park & Preserve, 

Katmai Nat. Park & Preserve, 

Kenai Fjords Nat. Park, 

Klondike Gold Rush Nat. Historic Park,

Kobuk Valley Nat. Park,

Lake Clark Nat. Park & Preserve, 

Noatak Nat. Preserve, 

Sitka Nat. Historic Park, 

WWII Valor in the Pacific Nat. Monument, 

Wrangell-St. Elias Nat. Park & Preserve,

Yukon-Charley Rivers Nat. Preserve.





 
Close up view of a wood frog curled up on a blanket of snow. Did You Know?
Wood frogs (Rana sylvatica) can freeze solid in the winter and even its heart stops beating. It then thaws to life in the spring, mates, and lays eggs in the ephemeral snow-melt pools.