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NPS Seasonal Law Enforcement outlook

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  • canyon_ranger
    replied
    "So if you are not mobile and want to simply work in one area of the country it would probably not be a good investment. If you’re willing to go anywhere, get the fire and EMT training, apply everywhere, etc then you may have a good shot at a job. The old days of only applying to the local parks and getting a job are gone."


    Wow. Not sure what "old days" you're talking about. I've worked for the NPS for nearly 10 years, and although total seasonal jobs are down just a touch from a few years ago, I can assure you seasonal hiring is easier now than it was 10 years ago, and way easier than it was 15-20 years ago. The reason folks back in the day only applied to local parks was because they could only apply to those parks....they were limited to only a few parks; couldn't apply to 100 different jobs like you can today. With online applications and stored resumes, applying is a piece of cake.

    Yes the NPS has increased it's requirements for most positions to include screen-out questions that require EMT, or Redcard, or whatever else. This is nothing new. Also, those requirements aren't a secret. Pretty much anyone who does research on the NPS or goes to a seasonal academy and speaks to a permanent ranger should be able to find out what the NPS is looking for. So not getting hired without the NREMT cert. should not be a shocker. Like all government, parks are doing more with less. While some schools of thought like the idea of specialization and moving towards the likes of USFS/BLM in terms of just doing law enforcement, the bottom line is we have a ton of other services we provide. As funding is cut, parks phase out non-LE positions first (ideally) so the general seasonal who was an EMT is no longer around...thus the LE ranger has no choice but to also be the medic, the firefighter, ect.

    In terms of the seasonal outlook, yes the managers are trying to phase out seasonals. The problem is that so many NPS units are seasonal in nature. Parks under snow all winter long need summer seaonals, not year-round folks. Our visitation is so seasonal, I see no way the park service will eliminate seasonals. It takes the cost of 3 seasonal LE rangers to make 1 permanent ranger who is furloughed for half the year.....crazy but true. So the idea of making all these seasonal slots into permanent positions is just not feasible. Seasonals will always be around. The park service turns 100 in 2016. The only reason we saw a large bump in numbers a few years ago was due to the plan to build up our parks for the centennial. With the economy being what it is, that build-up is essentially over until maybe 2015. So yes, there are a few less seasonal positions today than there were 3-5 years ago. But honestly the difference is not that big.

    As a hiring official, I can tell you the field's perspective on seasonal applicants isn't that there are too many applicants, it's that there are too few that are qualified. I spend each winter going thru certs. with people who lack the qualifications necessary to do the job, who lied on their questionnaire and said they were an expert in search and rescue, yet they have never done it a day in their life. Who have a degree and a seasonal cert. and that's it. The quality is lacking. Like a previous poster said, it takes desire and mobility to land your first NPS job; no argument there. But, of all those friends who didn't get jobs, how many of them had prior NPS experience?? How many were interns, SCAs, volunteers, fee collectors, non-le seasonals??? The applicants I hire, or those that I want to hire but can't because Yose or Yell snatch them up first ...those are the applicants with experience, quals,ect. If you have a desire to become a ranger, build your resume, get the quals, get your foot in the door, and you'll have no problem.

    One more thing to remember....permanent jobs are pretty stagnant too. So, less seasonal openings because seasonals are hanging around looking for permanent jobs. It's a domino effect. The backlog at FLETC is pretty long and the days of full 25 student classes there are behind us. Rather, they are sending folks thru LMPT in a class with only 5-10 rangers.

    We were all seasonals once and we understand how frustrating the process is. We also understand that if you have a family (or even not) that it is a big deal to pay your way, live out of your car, have to move around, ect. Not saying we can't improve the process or go centralized, but I can tell you that there is something to be said of being a seasonal, working a few different parks, learning how to be a ranger, and then going permanent.

    For those who don't land a seasonal gig right off the bat, take a look at your experience and see if you can improve upon it. Again, like another poster said, find out where you lack and get it fixed. Don't land a le job, go work in a non-le job for the summer, let the park get to know you, then boom, next year they pick you up.

    Sounds like a cluster of a hiring process for folks in other agencies right?!?! Not saying it isn't...it's just how the NPS works.

    Bottom line, it is a big decision and commitment to seek out a seasonal academy, go thru that process, and then maybe get a job, maybe not...maybe have to go to a "crappy park" maybe not. But if you work at it, want to learn, ect. then give it a shot.

    Leave a comment:


  • wildlife97
    replied
    Originally posted by Collapse7 View Post
    Thanks for the info, good to know. The NC academy offers Wilderness EMT with Wildland FF, so after graduating an applicant would have those 2 certs + the NPS cert.
    Now - would that make much of difference?
    What you say makes a lot of sense, the problem is the lack of seasonal positions.
    Isn't the market flooded too with tons of folks from the nPS academies with medical certs?

    At the end of the day in your opinion would it be a very poor investment to pursue going to the NC academy even they have the (medical/firefighting)?

    Is there anything else the certs could get a job for an applicant?

    I just envision being all excited after graduation and then sitting around for months with no bites.
    You would still have to pass the national registry test for the EMT certification. Without passing NREMT it will essentially be useless for NPS. The NREMT and Wildland FF certs are the two that every NPS Ranger has or at least have had sometime in their career. The Wildland fire could help but not as much as the NREMT simply because parks would put you through the fire training on their own time, but it is always better to come into a job with it in hand since that means the park doesn’t have to spend time/money putting you through it.

    In regards to the market being flooded with people having the medical cert; yes and no. In years prior if you didn’t have EMT, but maybe first responder you could still get by getting a job, maybe not your #1 park but still a job, and then many people spent the fall doing their EMT. What I found is that since there were fewer jobs this year, parks could be more selective. Some parks did put in their announcement that EMT was required, but most others didn’t but then would only hire people that did have the EMT cert. I would probably say about half (maybe less) the people in my class had EMT, and out of those that got hired this year all of them had EMT. I had several interviews and was blatantly told that had I had EMT I would have gotten the job, at the time I only had wilderness first responder. I have since gotten NREMT and Wildland FF.

    If it’s a good investment is really up to the individual. We had many people in my class who decided they would only work in certain parts of the country; none of them got jobs or even interviews. Those that did get hired were applying for everything and anything. So if you are not mobile and want to simply work in one area of the country it would probably not be a good investment. If your willing to go anywhere, get the fire and EMT training, apply everywhere, etc then you may have a good shot at a job. The old days of only applying to the local parks and getting a job are gone.

    There are other jobs the SLETP, EMT, and Wildland FF could do. Some states do hire seasonal LE Rangers, I know Wyoming does for sure. Several counties in California hire seasonal and perm LE Rangers with the SLETP cert. Obviously with the fire cert you could be a Wildland firefighter, they make damn good money with all their OT and hazard pay. We had several people in my SLETP class who had worked fire. NPS, BLM, USFS, USFWS, and BIA all hire Wildland firefighters. Then with EMT obviously you can work on an aid care or in a hospital. If your talking about NPS jobs with EMT, some parks do hire seasonal EMT’s. I remember Gateway NRA/Sandy Hook, Gulf Islands, and either Hatteras or Lookout had seasonal EMT jobs this year.

    But if you get SLETP, NREMT, Wildland FF, apply for everything and anything, and do not hold out for a park (taking the first job offer) you should have an okay possibility at getting a job. But once you start limiting yourself to where you want to work you will get yourself in trouble.

    Leave a comment:


  • Collapse7
    replied
    Originally posted by wildlife97 View Post
    Well there was already starting to be a draw down on the number of seasonal positions before the budget issues. Parks were told to start to rely more on term and subject to furlough positions instead of seasonal positions. Some parks completely eliminated seasonal hiring and either hired more perm's or hired STF/term rangers. In fact, in the long run NPS hopes to completely eliminate seasonal positions and simply rely on STF/term rangers instead of seasonals. So when you add that in and the budget it really is not looking great. You really need to get as much training outside of SLETP (especially NREMT) in order to get a job. Simply relying on SLETP and a good resume will no longer cut it anymore.
    Thanks for the info, good to know. The NC academy offers Wilderness EMT with Wildland FF, so after graduating an applicant would have those 2 certs + the NPS cert.
    Now - would that make much of difference?
    What you say makes a lot of sense, the problem is the lack of seasonal positions.
    Isn't the market flooded too with tons of folks from the nPS academies with medical certs?

    At the end of the day in your opinion would it be a very poor investment to pursue going to the NC academy even they have the (medical/firefighting)?

    Is there anything else the certs could get a job for an applicant?

    I just envision being all excited after graduation and then sitting around for months with no bites.

    Leave a comment:


  • wildlife97
    replied
    Originally posted by Collapse7 View Post
    So, all you guys in the know with the NPS position, its not looking good for the next couple of years?
    Well there was already starting to be a draw down on the number of seasonal positions before the budget issues. Parks were told to start to rely more on term and subject to furlough positions instead of seasonal positions. Some parks completely eliminated seasonal hiring and either hired more perm's or hired STF/term rangers. In fact, in the long run NPS hopes to completely eliminate seasonal positions and simply rely on STF/term rangers instead of seasonals. So when you add that in and the budget it really is not looking great. You really need to get as much training outside of SLETP (especially NREMT) in order to get a job. Simply relying on SLETP and a good resume will no longer cut it anymore.

    Leave a comment:


  • Collapse7
    replied
    Originally posted by ACO88 View Post
    There have been multiple academies cancelled lately due to low enrollment, including the one in Washington state.

    I was all set to go the NC academy, but I withdrew. I had a lot of ambivalence about it. Spending 5 months not receiving a paycheck for a job that may never materialize. This is different than a self sponsered police academy. Because its so niche.

    So, all you guys in the know with the NPS position, its not looking good for the next couple of years?

    Leave a comment:


  • ACO88
    replied
    Originally posted by wildlife97 View Post
    I would avoid it right now man. I just graduated from a SLETP this spring and only a handful of people out of the 40 or so students got NPS LE jobs this summer. Whereas in previous years everybody got a job, and if you didn't it was because you didn't want one (had other work ideas outside of NPS). Many of the parks had job announcements for say 10 positions but then the budget cuts in the spring made many cut the amount of positions in half, shorten the season, and some parks just didn't even hire at all. Another issue is that there are more academies being certified and more sessions at those academies. For example, my academy just offered their first summer session this year. So you have less jobs and more certified people. Not a good mix. If you have any questions about NPS or SLETP pm me.
    There have been multiple academies cancelled lately due to low enrollment, including the one in Washington state.

    Leave a comment:


  • wildlife97
    replied
    I would avoid it right now man. I just graduated from a SLETP this spring and only a handful of people out of the 40 or so students got NPS LE jobs this summer. Whereas in previous years everybody got a job, and if you didn't it was because you didn't want one (had other work ideas outside of NPS). Many of the parks had job announcements for say 10 positions but then the budget cuts in the spring made many cut the amount of positions in half, shorten the season, and some parks just didn't even hire at all. Another issue is that there are more academies being certified and more sessions at those academies. For example, my academy just offered their first summer session this year. So you have less jobs and more certified people. Not a good mix. If you have any questions about NPS or SLETP pm me.

    Leave a comment:


  • hangman
    started a topic NPS Seasonal Law Enforcement outlook

    NPS Seasonal Law Enforcement outlook

    I know this subject has been discussed in the past, but what is the current status of NPS Seasonal LE hiring and the outlook for the future?

    Is it worth it in this economy to get an NPS Seasonal LE certification? Are grads from seasonal LE academies getting jobs?

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