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  • LE Park Ranger

    What is the pathway to a career as a LE Park Ranger? This is a career path that highly interests me but in my research I haven't found a clear explanation on the path to become this kind of Park Ranger. I am looking for a permanent position. Would that only be federal or are there permanent state and local jobs as well? Is being with the NPS worth it?

    I've looked up these gigs on indeed in different locations to get an idea, and some say you have to have at least 1 year LE experience. What would count as LE experience?

    I have no law enforcement experience, just AA degree in criminal justice and will have my bachelor's soon. I am an EMT and currently working as one and have a couple years experience under my belt. Which I know some gigs want you to have this certification. If any current or former LE Park Rangers could help I appreciate it.

  • #2
    With NPS, you will probably have to pay your way through the NPS level 2 academy in order to get picked up seasonally and then trying for a full time spot unless you're willing to work at an urban park.
    I don't answer recruitment messages....

    Comment


    • #3
      You would have to attend one of these

      http://www.mysvc.skagit.edu/director...pagenumber=398

      and pay your own way. Being an EMT is huge. Finish the academy and get a seasonal NPS LE gig. Apply for a bunch of them and be willing to go anywhere. Work 6mos at one park and then get another gig somewhere else. Build your experience toward a permanent gig after a few years.

      Comment


      • #4
        I am looking for a permanent position

        So are a lot of people....


        This is perhaps somewhat dated information, but this is how it works:

        Pay your way through a seasonal academy. Pay your dues working several summers at GS-5 wages. Seasonal LE jobs at big western parks are fairly easy to get in the summer, and you can try getting a gig at a park with a winter season (Everglades, Virgin Islands, etc.) but all those other seasonals are looking for winter jobs too so it's not so easy (and why many seasonals do something else in the winter, like ski patrol, or just collect unemployment). This will likely go on for several years, so don't be in a yank to get married and settle down.

        Eventually you will get enough experience to become competitive when an 'all sources' job opens at one of the less desired parks, like the Liberty Bell, the St. Louis arch, etc.

        A couple of years later, you'll finally get to attend FLETC, which will be huge, because LE rangers who haven't been to FLETC are kinda treated like lesser beings by LE rangers who have been to FLETC.

        Eventually, if stars align and the Gods favor you, you'll end up at a destination park, one of the majestic crown jewels of the park system like Grand Teton, Glacier, Yosemite, Mesa Verde, etc. Odds are good you will spend your career as a GS-9, and have to live in substandard gov housing, never building home equity. You will spend much of your career dealing with dumb tourists who do dumb things, like park their car in the middle of a highway so they can take a selfie with a moose.

        My advice? Go be a seasonal danger ranger for two or three seasons. Only possess what you can fit in the back of a pick up truck. Be awesome at being awesome in some sun-kissed spectacular corner of America. Learn how to whitewater kayak, technical rock climb, fight fires, and go exploring hidden gems like Craters of the Moon National Park, Idaho, or John Day Fossil Beds, Oregon.

        But have a back up plan for the long term, because the day may come when you realize that pretty sunsets don't pay for a $40K new truck, and your wife will want to live in a nice house in a nice neighborhood, and a GS-13 1811 doesn't have to deal with dumb tourists, day after day.....
        One day, lad, this will all be yours.

        Comment


        • hawaiitexas
          hawaiitexas commented
          Editing a comment
          Ratatatat makes some good points but I disagree with a few, mainly that you get "stuck" somewhere. The NPS doesn't make you work anywhere, you can lateral or apply to any open position. If you are "stuck" somewhere you are just an idiot. People that are at boring historic sites are there because that's what they want.

        • battlewagon
          battlewagon commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks for the great insight Rat. I'm only considering it through a connection that would land me in a park close to home. Besides missing being outdoors and in middle of nowhere with Border Patrol, the home part is the defining reason for the move.

          I am happy where I am at, position is good, office is good, etc. But I have spoken to guys in my SAC who eventually made it back to the same SAC region I am from, and they are all 10+ years. Way I see it is if I can land a park near home, I can likely pick up an 1811 NPS in the same region near home having Ranger time + CITP under the belt, before I get home with my current gig.

          Not to be one of those guys who only talks about home, but having just had our first kid, and two very old parents, one of which is isn't doing well, getting home is very important and the reason I started looking again.

          Rest assured though Rat, your insight and advice is not falling on deaf ears. Thank you for it.

        • Ratatatat
          Ratatatat commented
          Editing a comment
          "I disagree with a few, mainly that you get "stuck" somewhere. The NPS doesn't make you work anywhere, you can lateral or apply to any open position. If you are "stuck" somewhere you are just an idiot. People that are at boring historic sites are there because that's what they want. "

          Hmmm. Maybe it's the just circle of people I know. Many have been 'pigeonholed' because of undesirable locations and despite years of trying to promote or just transfer, they've been typecast as a "Lake Mead" ranger, an "St. Louis Arch" ranger, a "southwest border" ranger, a "cannonball park" ranger, on and on.

          In full disclosure, others (albeit fewer) have been able to get their ideal NPS job: a great park in a great place. Not Yosemite Valley crazy but not Raisin River Natl Battlefield quiet either. Places like Bandelier NM or Sleeping Bear Dunes NL or Crater Lake NP. Perfect job, perfect place, perfect life....

          My bigger point is this: the cookie doesn't crumble the same for everyone. Sometimes it's a reflection on the person- lacking skillsets, lacking ambition, lacking connections, etc., but sometimes it's just how things work out.

          I'm not trying to pee in anyone's bowl of Wheaties. Follow the dream. Go be awesome. Just be ready for the day when you look in the mirror and realize that not everyone gets to fall in love with life and drink from the fountain; some have to pour like an avalanche coming down the mountain.

        • Ratatatat
          Ratatatat commented
          Editing a comment
          "Not to be one of those guys who only talks about home, but having just had our first kid, and two very old parents, one of which is isn't doing well, getting home is very important and the reason I started looking again."

          Well, family is everything. Good luck.

      • #5
        Originally posted by Ratatatat View Post


        So are a lot of people....


        This is perhaps somewhat dated information, but this is how it works:

        Pay your way through a seasonal academy. Pay your dues working several summers at GS-5 wages. Seasonal LE jobs at big western parks are fairly easy to get in the summer, and you can try getting a gig at a park with a winter season (Everglades, Virgin Islands, etc.) but all those other seasonals are looking for winter jobs too so it's not so easy (and why many seasonals do something else in the winter, like ski patrol, or just collect unemployment). This will likely go on for several years, so don't be in a yank to get married and settle down.

        Eventually you will get enough experience to become competitive when an 'all sources' job opens at one of the less desired parks, like the Liberty Bell, the St. Louis arch, etc.

        A couple of years later, you'll finally get to attend FLETC, which will be huge, because LE rangers who haven't been to FLETC are kinda treated like lesser beings by LE rangers who have been to FLETC.

        Eventually, if stars align and the Gods favor you, you'll end up at a destination park, one of the majestic crown jewels of the park system like Grand Teton, Glacier, Yosemite, Mesa Verde, etc. Odds are good you will spend your career as a GS-9, and have to live in substandard gov housing, never building home equity. You will spend much of your career dealing with dumb tourists who do dumb things, like park their car in the middle of a highway so they can take a selfie with a moose.

        My advice? Go be a seasonal danger ranger for two or three seasons. Only possess what you can fit in the back of a pick up truck. Be awesome at being awesome in some sun-kissed spectacular corner of America. Learn how to whitewater kayak, technical rock climb, fight fires, and go exploring hidden gems like Craters of the Moon National Park, Idaho, or John Day Fossil Beds, Oregon.

        But have a back up plan for the long term, because the day may come when you realize that pretty sunsets don't pay for a $40K new truck, and your wife will want to live in a nice house in a nice neighborhood, and a GS-13 1811 doesn't have to deal with dumb tourists, day after day.....
        This should be a sticky.
        Now go home and get your shine box!

        Comment


        • #6
          Check out the East Bay Regional Park Police. They are a local parks district in California.
          semper destravit

          Comment


          • #7
            Here are some links to check out:
            http://www.anpr.org/Seasonal-Law-Enf...aining-Program
            http://www.southwesterncc.edu/pstc/l...rk-service-nps

            The second link is to the seasonal academy I recommend, it is very cost effective. If you are serious about this, you will want to apply early as seats can be hard to come by. You are going to have to put yourself through a seasonal academy as direct hires are super rare and usually are associated with a big push to hire Rangers for Border parks.
            Last edited by hawaiitexas; 08-23-2018, 04:10 PM.

            Comment


            • #8
              "Hmmm. Maybe it's the just circle of people I know. Many have been 'pigeonholed' because of undesirable locations and despite years of trying to promote or just transfer, they've been typecast as a "Lake Mead" ranger, an "St. Louis Arch" ranger, a "southwest border" ranger, a "cannonball park" ranger, on and on."

              Yes this is still the case with many in the NPS.

              If you spend too much time at a busy Nat'l Rec Area like Lake Mead or Whiskeytown you won't have much luck transferring to a sleepy park that never makes arrests.

              Spend too much time at a "cannonball park" (aka historic site) then you won't have much luck transferring to a busy park that makes arrests daily.

              Of course this isn't policy it's more the mindset of some hiring officials. The mindset being those who work at busy places will be too high speed for a sleepy place, or those who work at a historic site won't be able to maintain the high speed pace of a busy park. It's as if they believe some people can't turn "it" on or off.

              It would be the equivalent of a 10-year NYPD vet who wants to work for a small town PD in Montana. Instead of asking why he wants to work for a small-town in Montana and finding out he wants a slower pace, they just assume he will be too high speed and will cause issues and isn't interviewed/hired.

              Comment


              • Ratatatat
                Ratatatat commented
                Editing a comment
                Whatever happened with your girlfriend and her ex-boyfriend galavanting about Europe situation??

              • hangman
                hangman commented
                Editing a comment
                He probably doesn't want to accept reality.....

            • #9
              Originally posted by hawaiitexas View Post
              Here are some links to check out:
              http://www.anpr.org/Seasonal-Law-Enf...aining-Program
              http://www.southwesterncc.edu/pstc/l...rk-service-nps

              The second link is to the seasonal academy I recommend, it is very cost effective. If you are serious about this, you will want to apply early as seats can be hard to come by. You are going to have to put yourself through a seasonal academy as direct hires are super rare and usually are associated with a big push to hire Rangers for Border parks.

              $1,650 for tuition plus the cost of room and board for 17 weeks. All that to get a summer job that pays $13.87 per hour....

              But the seasonal academy has been a spring board for many careers, including mine. It was all of 8 weeks and cost $250 (we're talking 1989).

              Of all my long academy experiences (five), the NPS seasonal academy was the easiest. No morning inspections with dog breath instructors in your face. No debasing petty mind games. It was kinda like summer camp- chill vibe, everyone in a good mood, go shoot some guns and drive fast and wrestle in the mat room. Instructors were local cops happy to be making $20/hour on the side and the legal stuff was taught by a local criminal defense attorney who probably never won a case in court. Everyone passes all the tests, all the time.

              My class had 20 people, but as far as I know, only 4 actually made a career out of. One became Chief of a one man department in central Minnesota. One went NPS. One went to a sheriff's office in Wisconsin. And me.

              The school pretty much let anyone who coughed up $250 go through the training. There was an old hippy who used to braid his long hair like Willie Nelson. Watching him practice motor vehicle stops made me crack up... I kept expecting him to start singing "Blue Eyes Crying In the Rain" or "On the Road Again." There was another dude who was constantly sucking on his inhaler. Not sure how he got passed the physical. And there was one guy who literally didn't use words- just sounds like "mmmmf" or "hrrrrrpf". Not sure where he ended up but I suspect it was a job that didn't involve much human interaction.
              One day, lad, this will all be yours.

              Comment


              • hawaiitexas
                hawaiitexas commented
                Editing a comment
                The Academies are nothing like you described anymore, it is basically a mirror of FLETC LMPT. And Seasonal Rangers are mostly hired at GS-05 Step 8 or GS-07 and generally make around 20 dollars an hour plus health insurance.

              • newguy1234
                newguy1234 commented
                Editing a comment
                Five academies? That may be a record.

              • Ratatatat
                Ratatatat commented
                Editing a comment
                Or testament to my inability to keep a job lol.....

                Seriously though- it is a bit nuts to consider how much time I've spent in training. The academies ranged from 8 weeks to six months. In total, they add up to 102 weeks, or 25 months. That's over two years of self-induced misery as the law of diminishing returns definitely has an effect.... how many times can you go through the same exercises, the same tests, etc. before it's no longer fun??

                But, as anyone who bumped about during their career, for whatever reasons (bored. bad boss. better pay. better location. better whatever) will tell you, multiple academies is not that uncommon.....

              • newguy1234
                newguy1234 commented
                Editing a comment
                That is nuts. I’ve heard about people going through different academies through their careers but 2 years worth? Lol that’s awesome or crazy depending on the perspective. I was going to IM you because I was interested in seeing which ones you went through, etc, but you aren’t accepting IMs.

            • #10
              I don't think it would be wise for an 1811(battlewagon) to quit and go to a seasonal academy.....does anyone know of any 1811's who were crazy enough to do something like that?

              Believe it or not, these NPS seasonal academies are now 700+ hours and they basically follow the FLETC LMPT curriculum and testing standards. You have to pass the FLETC PEB to graduate too. You fail a test, you get a remedial. You fail again and you are done.

              Comment


              • hawaiitexas
                hawaiitexas commented
                Editing a comment
                If you have been to CITP you don't have to go to a seasonal academy. You would have to find the rare all sources job posting and apply. CITP counts and you would just have to go to the 2 week NPS Ranger Orientation at FLETC and probably do field training. All sources announcements (that don't require a NPS commission) are rare and most jobs are posted as a screen out that requires a Type 2 (seasonal academy) commission to even be able to apply. But, there are occasional openings that don't require a NPS commission and are open to the public.
                Last edited by hawaiitexas; 08-24-2018, 04:51 PM.

              • hangman
                hangman commented
                Editing a comment
                CITP counts if you are applying for a Special Agent gig with NPS. If you want to be an LE ranger, it doesn't. I read through the 2015 memo that states which DHS FLETC academies NPS will accept for a Type II commission. BIA Police Academy and UPTP with three yrs of experience....That's it. Sure you can always apply for a waiver, but who knows what the NPS LESES Chief or the DCOP will approve.

            • #11
              Originally posted by hangman View Post
              I don't think it would be wise for an 1811(battlewagon) to quit and go to a seasonal academy.....does anyone know of any 1811's who were crazy enough to do something like that?

              Believe it or not, these NPS seasonal academies are now 700+ hours and they basically follow the FLETC LMPT curriculum and testing standards. You have to pass the FLETC PEB to graduate too. You fail a test, you get a remedial. You fail again and you are done.

              To go from $120K/year to $7-8K, no TSP, no 6c, no health care, in the hopes of someday landing a permanent GS-9 job would be virtually unheard of.

              Plus there are other aspects to consider: instead of reporting to a GS-14, he'd be reporting to a GS-9. Instead of investigating large scale criminal enterprises, he'd be investigating who shot a boundary sign, or responding to drunks in the campground. Instead of briefing AUSAs for months about a case, he'd be briefing one for the first time ten minutes before the case was presented on the CVB docket in US Magistrate Court.

              But to each their own. We all live our own lives and make decisions accordingly.

              I will say this: I am familiar with a couple of Trust Fund Baby situations, where the seasonal rangers had inherited crazy money and worked only because they liked being part of something bigger then themselves. The job for them was basically a hobby, something to do that gave purpose to their lives. During the winter season, they skied and partied in Jackson Hole or went rafting in New Zealand. The summer ranger gig was just an extension of their never-ending adventure lifestyles.


              RE: 700 hour seasonal academies that wash people out: wow, times have changed. Mine was hacky-sack in the hall in jeans and sandals. I see that some of them also POST certify, which is a bonus... at least graduates can get employment with a local agency if the ranger dream doesn't work out....


              Last edited by Ratatatat; 08-24-2018, 12:58 PM.
              One day, lad, this will all be yours.

              Comment


              • hawaiitexas
                hawaiitexas commented
                Editing a comment
                Where did you work? Lol, your job description is nothing like anywhere I have worked. I am chasing dope and illegals all day on the border.

              • Ratatatat
                Ratatatat commented
                Editing a comment
                Two big western parks and one national lakeshore.

              • battlewagon
                battlewagon commented
                Editing a comment
                I'm only interested through a connection at a park that would land a permanent 9 out the gate. I'll never give up my 6c or retirement clock. And I would only do it if I get fully waived through like hawaiitexas mentioned; just the 1-2 week Ranger RPBTP + FTEP.

                Anything less than avoiding FLETC with a waiver and a permanent is a no-go for me, since it isn't like I am desperately trying to leave where I am at. I'm currently in my choice 1811 gig in a scenic OCONUS location.

            • #12
              I know an FBI SA who became an NPS SA then DoI IG 1811
              I don't answer recruitment messages....

              Comment


              • #13
                Originally posted by orlandofed5-0 View Post
                I know an FBI SA who became an NPS SA then DoI IG 1811
                Really? Hmmm. Most NPS SAs I've crossed paths with came up through the ranks.... GS-5 seasonal ranger, eventually permanent GS-7/9 ranger, then GS-11 LE Specialist, then GS-12 SA (are they still 12s, btw? I don't have much interaction anymore).

                I know that anything is possible in the G though, and FBI of course is huge on a resume, but NPS has always seemed VERY insular in who they hire, especially laterals for higher grade positions, well past the point of just being parochial about the brand. Kinda like a cult.... how can you be a Thetan Level VIII when you were never a Thetan Level I??!

                One day, lad, this will all be yours.

                Comment


                • #14
                  Maybe he was Lambda Lambda Lambda..?
                  Now go home and get your shine box!

                  Comment


                  • #15
                    Originally posted by Ratatatat View Post

                    Really? Hmmm. Most NPS SAs I've crossed paths with came up through the ranks.... GS-5 seasonal ranger, eventually permanent GS-7/9 ranger, then GS-11 LE Specialist, then GS-12 SA (are they still 12s, btw? I don't have much interaction anymore).

                    I know that anything is possible in the G though, and FBI of course is huge on a resume, but NPS has always seemed VERY insular in who they hire, especially laterals for higher grade positions, well past the point of just being parochial about the brand. Kinda like a cult.... how can you be a Thetan Level VIII when you were never a Thetan Level I??!
                    He for years wanted to do NRLE but didn't want to take a pay cut and do some of the other jobs of being a ranger. He ended up working in CA/HI as an NPS 1811. He went to DoI IG probably because of the issues within NPS.
                    I don't answer recruitment messages....

                    Comment

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