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BLM. USFS and NPS Rangers


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  • BLM. USFS and NPS Rangers

    Can any of these rangers give any insight on how to go about working for their agencies. I have worked for BLM and USFS as a wildland firefighter and now making the switch to LE and just wondering on how to get into, either now or later on down the road.
    I'd rather be judged by 12 rather carried by 6.

    It should be noted that any and all post that are made are based on my own thought and opinions. And are not related or implied to represent the department I work for.

  • #2
    These may help if you haven't seen them yet.


    • #3
      I can tell you that a lot of NPS Rangers, Start out as seasonal employess, they do the seasonal NPS LE academy on their own dime, work for at least several seasons if not several years as seasonal people until they get a permanent opening to open up... once that happens and a Supt./Chief Ranger, whom you have developed a relationship with and worked P/T for years with sees your application s/he may hire you.

      Very few people go directly into perm. positions ESPECIALLY in the bigger parks, if you want to a a perm. postion, some parks to look at are The Arch in St. Louis, Independence Hall in Philly, and some other less known parks.

      if you are already a "status candidate"... you might get hired faster then a new hire.


      • #4
        To add on to what 2971511 said, a lot of NPS units that hire permanent Rangers require the applicant to already hold a commission or be immediately eligible for a commission as a special selective factor. (In other words, no commission, no consideration, regardless how how wonderful your resume is otherwise.)

        In most cases where folks are trying to land their first permanent NPS LE gig, that means they hold or are eligible for a Type 2 (aka seasonal) commission, by virtue of having completed an NPS-approved seasonal law enforcement training program.

        There are the occasional announcements that don't require the commission, and I'd wager that most of those vacancies are filled by people with veteran's preference.


        • #5
          Correct Squirrel, the problem or situation as I understand it is this. If you have a Commission, even a level 2, they can hire you, have you qual, and put you to work immediately. then within 1 (maybe 2) years send you at their leisure to a FLETC LMTP class, when one opens up, and usually during the parks less busy season.... If you do not hold a commission, you are basically a paperweight until FLETC, which could take a year. Another issue is that many if not all parks pay for ALL LE training and the new Rangers salary out of their budget.... so why pay for the cow (as it were), the new rangers salary for 4-6 months, plus the cost of travel, plus LMTP training, when..... you have someone already qualified, and trained, and can basically give them an orientation, gun quals, and put them to work... If you were a Park Super, with an already TIGHT budget, and maintenence backlog, From a business, standpoint, which makes more sense???... hire a new guy, pay $22K for his salary to send him to training (assuming 6 months).. Plus pay whatever FLETC charges for a seat in the class, or just hire the guy/gal, that is READY TO GO. ... It sucks for prospective candidates, but these are the FACTS of NPS and many DOI LE Agencies.


          • #6
            Originally posted by 2971511 View Post
            Another issue is that many if not all parks pay for ALL LE training and the new Rangers salary out of their budget.... so why pay for the cow (as it were), the new rangers salary for 4-6 months, plus the cost of travel, plus LMTP training, when..... you have someone already qualified, and trained, and can basically give them an orientation, gun quals, and put them to work...
            Yep. The "home park" is on the hook for the salary while at FLETC and during FTEP also (and you probably won't do field training at your home park). Nobody wants to pay the salary of someone who's not there for upwards of 8 or 9 months!

            Places like St. Louis, Boston and Philly are not your "typical" National Park, and many Rangers want to get out into the woods. Rangers let these urban "intake" parks put them through FLETC and FTEP, and by the end of it all, they've got some experience and a commission and can lateral to a more desirable park. Those more desirable parks have no problems picking up trained laterals, because there are always people looking to get out of the above-mentioned urban areas.

            Same kind of thing happens a lot with BLM and USFS. All but one USFS LEO I've met is a former permanent NPS LE. BLM, FWS, USFS can pick up someone who already has FLETC under their belt, plus some experience, and just send them to their agency-specific training (e.g., FWS Refuge Officer Basic).

            So, to the OP, your best bet if you want to venture into NPS LE is going to be putting yourself through a seasonal academy, and doing some time as a seasonal. It sucks, unless you enjoy being broke and relocating frequently, but it's pretty much the accepted way to get your foot in the door. (Unless of course you qualify for 5- or 10-point veteran's preference...)


            • #7
              Yeah but you know,,,, if you are young and single, travelling to country working at some of the most beautiful parks in the country, and working summers in Yosemite and winters in like Everglades or Hawaii aint too bad.. if you like to travel... If I were doing things over, id have done that years ago.... I know of dozens of LE rangers, and A few BLM Rangers, All are prior commissioned NPS, some were even USPP Officers before going to the "green" side.


              • #8
                True. The experience itself isn't all bad. You make lots of contacts, because everyone is so mobile in the NPS. That can help you (or hurt you!) later on in your career.

                Plus, it gives you the opportunity to "try before you buy" in areas of the country you've never been, and at parks you may want to work at.

                One thing about the NPS is that the parks are their own little kingdoms, where the Superintendent is king. Some places are very pro-LE, with TASERs and in-car cameras, being proactive doing anti-poaching patrols and such. In others, God help you if you actually cite someone, because we can't be ruining the visitors' vacations.

                In a roundabout way, the variety is also one of the nice things about the NPS. There's something for everyone, and you only apply where YOU want to go. Don't like water? Don't apply to a National Seashore. Hate heights? Don't apply for a rock-climbing Ranger job! There are high-speed, low-drag LE oriented parks, and snoozeville parks. You decide!

                It's not all bad. But, some things about seasonal life DO suck: Driving 2500 miles for a four-month season when gas is $4.20 a gallon... sucks. Not getting a winter season... sucks. Not getting credit towards 6c retirement... sucks. Not having health benefits... sucks. Being a rookie every season you go to a new park... sucks.

                I guess the best way to say it is, your season is what you make of it. I wouldn't want to stay seasonal forever, but if you're young and single, doing a few years as a seasonal before you get hired permanently isn't all that bad.


                • #9
                  I may be the exception but I got on as a seasonal then permanent with the Corps of Engineers before I finally got picked up with BLM. USACE frowns on enforcement and sees it as a necessary evil. It is an agency decision that we are not armed and only can enforcement minor infractions related to 36 CFR 327. It has taken me 8 years to jump ship so it's not probably the recommended route but others have gone that route as well. However, BLM is also full of former USBP. Gives you status and coverage but you have to go through Artesia and then LMPT is you jump to a land manager. Something to think about.


                  • #10
                    If you don't already have a degree there's the STEP and SCEP program. With the SCEP program you can work for the park service while your going to school and then you may be elidgeble for a permanent position after you complete your degree and meet work requirements. Even without this program you'll be more likely to get hired than other people if you have some type of natural resource degree, and EMT certification also helps.


                    • #11
                      So, would Park Police transfer to BLM or Park Ranger (without the temp. status)? Thanks.


                      • #12

                        Originally posted by flyfrog View Post
                        So, would Park Police transfer to BLM or Park Ranger (without the temp. status)? Thanks.
                        What do you mean ? can you go from USPP to a Ranger job ???

                        Yes, But it can be hard, some of the park managers do not like USPP officers because they feel we are not well rounded, as in other cert's besides LE, (EMS, SAR, Wildland FF, Biology, etc) and yet I know of others who went to parks and did GREAT. so it all depends.


                        • #13
                          2971511, thanks for the info. Yes, that is what I mean. I currently live in MD, but would like to move west once my family is older.

                          How is advancement within USPP? How long on before a recruit is eligible for special details, etc? How is the issued gear (firearm/holster/etc)? How about the shifts/ stations/ patrols/ etc?
                          Last edited by flyfrog; 02-22-2009, 06:45 AM.


                          • #14
                            Advancement, you can apply to specialized assignements after 3 years on, special details whenever they come up, but not often.

                            Issued gear is GREAT. all you need to bring is socks, underwear and flashlights, they issue basically EVERYTHING else.

                            Shifts are 3 12 hrs. 4 days off, 3 12+ 1 8 and 3 days off.

                            Look on this forum under USPP FAQ's I've answered all this and more many times before....


                            • #15
                              Eligible for Sergeant after 4 years on ... and passing test then 1 year in lower grade to be eligible for LT, Capt. etc.


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