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  • National Park Service Ranger questions?

    Hello

    I have become interested in the National Park Services Ranger positions. I have done reasearch on them but there is very little information regarding exactly what they do. I know that for law enforcement positions you must get an NPS II certification which can be done at certain community colleges. However I wanted to know some more info on them and wanted to see if anyone could answer a few of my questions.

    1. Is this position considered a law enforcement job? Are they armed? do they have arrest powers?

    2. What does their training consist of?

    3. Do other federal law enforcement or police agencies consider this as "law enforcement experience"? Would I be considered a "lateral" after a few years to other departments? Would this experience qualify me for future 1811 positions wthat have the "experience required" condition?

    Thanks

  • #2
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    Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

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    • #3
      1) Yes the are law enforcement, they carry Sigs and most have AR's and Shotguns in the vehicles, and they have arrest authority.

      2) Training is different in each academy for seasonals and all permanents go through FLETC at some time. look up specific academies to see what training they have. It's the bare bones for law enforcement in the seasonal academy's. Learn the important things, like Defensive Tactics, shooting, Law, driving, traffic stops, arresting perps and other basic stuff. They try to focus it a lot on park specific stuff. Some academies also offer First Responder Training, Wildland Firefighting, and some are also offered alongside POST.

      3) As far as my experience they count this as law enforcement experience but I don't know of any police agency you could lateral too with the seasonal academy. They are pretty lacking some areas in my opinion. Once you are permanent you can lateral to the Forest Service or BLM, but more than likely not with other Federal Agency's(depend on what agency you were looking at)

      PM me if you want more specific information. Great job and perks if you're the type of person that can deal with it. Takes a "special" person. Also you have to start seasonal(so possibly unemployed for up to 6 months at a time) to get your foot in the door and then get to permanent. May work seasonal a long time before you go perm and then may have a really hard time getting a perm job at a park you actually want to work at.

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      • #4
        Just because I've yet to see a good answer.

        Just so you know I am a Seasonal State Park Ranger. I have worked with a lot of current NPS Rangers in past jobs and during trainings. I figured I’d take a swing at your question because I see this question pop up a lot and with all due respect it never seems to get adequately answered so here it goes to the best of my knowledge.

        In short there are many different types to National Park Service (NPS) rangers and not all of them are law enforcement (guides, interpretive rangers, scientist, etc). However, the NPS does have law enforcement rangers and when it comes to them…

        Yes they are armed certified law enforcement officers.
        Yes they have the power to arrest and can enforce regulations on the Federal and often times state and local levels. As for transferring to a local LE department I don’t think that will be a problem because by the time you are a permanent NPS Ranger you will also have a 4-year college degree, 2 LE academies, and various EMS, Fire and Rescue certifications under your belt and that is far more education and training than most local LE departments require. As for lateral transfers to other federal agencies I don't see why that would be a problem considering many of the rangers I know that work for the National parks (as seasonal) are crossed deputized with other federal agencies including the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, ATF and DEA (Parks like Big Bend, Glacier and many Californian National Parks often do this). As for authority outside of the park I don’t know for sure but seeing as how permanent Colorado and California State Park Rangers have authority both on an off the park I would assume the NPS rangers do as well. If you are looking at 1811 (special agent) positions you will need to have 3-4 years of related permanent law enforcement experience at the State or Federal Level with most of the new hires coming out of the NPS.

        If you want one of these jobs you will need to have a 4-year college degree in Natural Resources, Biology, Ecology, Wildlife Biology or something similar and then you’ll need to put yourself through a SLETP academy. These academies are offered at 10 different schools across the country and will certify you as a level II law enforcement officer with the NPS, BLM, U.S. Forest Service or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. As such you will be qualified to obtain a seasonal(TEMP)/TERM (TERM usually says "not to exceed 13 months" but may be extended up to 4 years) position with the NPS. However just so you know they don’t take anyone over the age of 36 for permanent positions and they usually require their TEMP(not to exceed 6 months/1039 hours) law enforcement rangers to be EMTs (emergency medical technicians) or above prior to being hired. Also many of the TEMPs I know either had their Red Card (wildland firefighting) before they got hired or were given the training by the NPS shortly after being hired.

        Next, you should know that these TEMP positions are highly desired so don’t expect to get one without first having worked for the Federal government in other Natural Resources related seasonal positions such as “interpretive ranger” “Forestry or Rangeland Tech (a.k.a. wildland firefighter)”, “Biological Field Technicians” or “backcountry seasonal rangers and guides”. Working for a state or local Park service as a “Seasonal Ranger” also helps. You should also know that obtaining these jobs will likely require you to move around the country a lot. Most permanent Federal Employees in Natural Resources field usually have a long list of places they have lived and worked for seasonal positions and moving up through the ranks will require you to move as well. This is especially true if you are working an 1811 position because instead of working for one park you work for the office in Washington DC meaning that your assignment includes the entire agency although you may be primarily focused on a specific region or group of parks.

        After obtaining a TEMP position you are now eligible, assuming you pass whatever internal screening that have, to get a permanent position. If you get selected to that position the NPS will send you to get FLETC for certification as a Level I law enforcement officer.

        As for your job description as a ranger you will have the following main responsibilities: Public Safety, Resource Protection, Administration and Customer service.

        Public safety:
        It is your job to inform visitors of the dangers of the park. This boils down to keeping the visitors from harming each other, keeping the Park from harming the visitors, and keeping the visitors from harming the Park. This means enforcing all park, federal, state and local regulations. These range from littering and traffic stops to stopping poaching, illegal boarder crossing and drug growing operations. This public safety also includes serving at an EMT level when Medical services are needed and performing search and rescue operations which could include wilderness searches, high angle rock rescues, water rescues, cave rescues and alpine rescues in all types of weather, heat and light conditions.

        Resource Protection:
        This is where that four-year degree comes in. As a ranger it will be your responsibility to carry out and assist with wildlife management, habitat restoration, fire suppression and management (wildland firefighting and sometime structural firefighting), trail maintenance as well as in some cases facility maintenance and up-keep.

        Administration:
        As a ranger at some point in time you will probably be handling park passes and revenue collection from various fees, permits and sales and in some full or partial way be in charge of counting the money collected and depositing it in the bank. As a permanent ranger you will also most likely have seasonal employees, not just seasonal LE rangers, working under your supervision.

        Customer service:
        Parks hire people that are much more customer service oriented than most other LE positions. This is because the rangers are seen as ambassadors of the park and as such they must answer a lot of questions about the park on a daily basis and they must do it in a customer friendly way because they want and need the visitors to come back. Also although many parks have designated “interpretive rangers” “gate attendants” and “visitor center employees” LE rangers are often expected to fill in for these people in a pinch or at smaller parks they often perform these duties as well. This means that they are responsible for educating visitors in the park about the park in an engaging manner as well as operating or at least supervising the operation of the gates and visitor center.


        Some final notes:
        Besides brushing up on the skills mention above if you want to be a good candidate for the NPS:
        You need to brush up on you backcountry navigation with a GPS as well as your ability to navigate solely using a map and compass. You should be experienced in operating many types of vehicles including 4-wheel drive vehicles, ATVs, boats, snowmobiles and motorcycles as well as comfortable patrolling rugged terrain by bicycle, foot, horseback and yes in Alaska they still use dog-sleds.
        I know that most local agencies will accept FLETC certification through their transfer process but I’m not sure about SLEPT. Some SLEPT academies are also POST academies so I wouldn’t be surprised if they do but I still wouldn’t bank on it.
        The best place to look for requirement for seasonal/TEMP LE rangers as well as all other seasonal positions in the field of Natural Resources is USAJOBS.COM If you act like you are applying for jobs even if you have to mark “no experience” in most of the questions it will still let you go through the screening process until the end and as you go through the screening questions you’ll learn what qualifications they are looking for in their rangers.
        Last edited by JoshTE; 03-26-2012, 05:58 PM. Reason: Correcting TERM vs TEMP positions
        “a park ranger is a protector. You protect the land from the people, the people from the land, the people from each other, and the people from themselves. It's what you are trained to do without even thinking, a reflexive and unconditional act. If you're lucky, you get assigned to people who seem worth saving and land and waters whose situation is not hopeless. If not, you save them anyway. And maybe in time, saving them will make them worth it.” -Kurt Caswell

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        • #5
          Thanks for the info!

          Comment


          • #6
            Wow, JoshTE's post has so many errors in it. For someone who admits to having never worked for the NPS, he needs to think before typing
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            • #7
              Originally posted by JoshTE View Post
              Just so you know I am a Seasonal State Park Ranger. I have worked with a lot of current NPS Rangers in past jobs and during trainings. I figured I’d take a swing at your question because I see this question pop up a lot and with all due respect it never seems to get adequately answered so here it goes to the best of my knowledge.

              In short there are many different types to National Park Service (NPS) rangers and not all of them are law enforcement (guides, interpretive rangers, scientist, etc). However, the NPS does have law enforcement rangers and when it comes to them…

              Yes they are armed certified law enforcement officers.
              Yes they have the power to arrest and can enforce regulations on the Federal and often times state and local levels.That's somewhat true, but would require future so as not to confuse As for transferring to a local LE department I don’t think that will be a problem because by the time you are a permanent NPS Ranger you will also have a 4-year college degree, 2 LE academies, and various EMS, Fire and Rescue certifications under your belt and that is far more education and training than most local LE departments requireWRONG, there are several states that do not consider FLETC's LMPT program good for their state, the experiance though would help a dept WANT to hire you. As for lateral transfers to other federal agencies I don't see why that would be a problem considering many of the rangers I know that work for the National parks (as seasonal) are crossed deputized with other federal agencies including the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, ATF and DEA (Parks like Big Bend, Glacier and many Californian National Parks often do this)Very few other feds use LMPT which the NPS does. If you move to DEA/ATF/FBI/CBP, count on visiting FLETC again. Being crossed deputized is WAY different than working for that agency and there are also many policies on seasonal staff being crossed deputized.. As for authority outside of the park I don’t know for sure but seeing as how permanent Colorado and California State Park Rangers have authority both on an off the park I would assume the NPS rangers do as wellIt depends a lot on the state, and how the state code is written as to the powers of feds outside their parks. If you are looking at 1811 (special agent) positions you will need to have 3-4 years of related permanent law enforcement experience at the State or Federal Level with most of the new hires coming out of the NPS.

              If you want one of these jobs you will need to have a 4-year college degree in Natural Resources, Biology, Ecology, Wildlife BiologyWRONG AGAIN, you don't need a degree at all, you need a degree or experience slimier to that of a GS-04 or something similar and then you’ll need to put yourself through a SLETP academy. These academies are offered at 10 different schools across the country and will certify you as a level II law enforcement officer with the NPS, BLM, U.S. Forest Service or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife ServiceWRONG the BLM,USFS,USFWS do not use seasonal staff and don't care about type II commissions from the NPS. As such you will be qualified to obtain a seasonal/TEMP (temporary not to exceed 13 months) position with the NPSSeasonal capped at 1039 hours. However just so you know they don’t take anyone over the age of 36Sesonal staff can be hired at any age because they are not 6C covered, this is only for perm rangers and even than be waived with past federal 6C service. and they usually require their TEMP law enforcement rangers to be EMTs (emergency medical technicians) or above prior to being hiredDepends greatly on the park, the min is CPR/First-Aid, EMT is not needed for the vast majority of parks . Also many of the TEMPs I know either had their Red Card (wildland firefighting) before they got hired or were given the training by the NPS shortly after being hired.

              Next, you should know that these TEMP positions are highly desired so don’t expect to get one without first having worked for the Federal government in other Natural Resources related seasonal positions such as “interpretive ranger” “Forestry or Rangeland Tech (a.k.a. wildland firefighter)”, “Biological Field Technicians” or “backcountry seasonal rangers and guides”. Working for a state or local Park service as a “Seasonal Ranger” also helps. You should also know that obtaining these jobs will likely require you to move around the country a lot. Most permanent Federal Employees in Natural Resources field usually have a long list of places they have lived and worked for seasonal positions Depends on the person a lot, plenty of people I now have stayed in the same 2 or 3 state area and moving up through the ranks will require you to move as well. This is especially true if you are working an 1811 position because instead of working for one park you work for the office in Washington DC meaning that your assignment includes the entire agency although you may be primarily focused on a specific region or group of parks.

              After obtaining a TEMP position you are now eligible, assuming you pass whatever internal screening that have, to get a permanent positionThis is not true, it is possable though rare to get a perm without ever being a seasonal, although the seasonal academy is still required because of the FLETC backlog. If you get selected to that position the NPS will send you to get FLETC for certification as a Level I law enforcement officer.

              As for your job description as a ranger you will have the following main responsibilities: Public Safety, Resource Protection, Administration and Customer service.

              Public safety:
              It is your job to inform visitors of the dangers of the park. This boils down to keeping the visitors from harming each other, keeping the Park from harming the visitors, and keeping the visitors from harming the Park. This means enforcing all park, federal, state and local regulationsWRONG there are several of parks were rangers no power to enforce anything but federal laws. These range from littering and traffic stops to stopping poaching, illegal boarder crossing and drug growing operations. This public safety also includes serving at an EMT level when Medical services are needed and performing search and rescue operations which could include wilderness searches, high angle rock rescues, water rescues, cave rescues and alpine rescues in all types of weather, heat and light conditions.

              Resource Protection:
              This is where that four-year degree comes in. As a ranger it will be your responsibility to carry out and assist with wildlife management, habitat restoration, fire suppression and management (wildland firefighting and sometime structural firefighting), trail maintenance as well as in some cases facility maintenance and up-keep. That's so off base I'm not sure where to start other than to say, that rarely happens unless it's a very small park.

              Administration:
              As a ranger at some point in time you will probably be handling park passes and revenue collection from various fees, permits and sales and in some full or partial way be in charge of counting the money collected and depositing it in the bank. As a permanent ranger you will also most likely have seasonal employees, not just seasonal LE rangers, working under your supervision.

              Customer service:
              Parks hire people that are much more customer service oriented than most other LE positions. This is because the rangers are seen as ambassadors of the park and as such they must answer a lot of questions about the park on a daily basis and they must do it in a customer friendly way because they want and need the visitors to come back. Also although many parks have designated “interpretive rangers” “gate attendants” and “visitor center employees” LE rangers are often expected to fill in for these people in a pinch or at smaller parks they often perform these duties as well. This means that they are responsible for educating visitors in the park about the park in an engaging manner as well as operating or at least supervising the operation of the gates and visitor center.Again this rarely happens unless it's a very small park, you will never see this at Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, etc.


              Some final notes:
              Besides brushing up on the skills mention above if you want to be a good candidate for the NPS:
              You need to brush up on you backcountry navigation with a GPS as well as your ability to navigate solely using a map and compass. You should be experienced in operating many types of vehicles including 4-wheel drive vehicles, ATVs, boats, snowmobiles and motorcycles as well as comfortable patrolling rugged terrain by bicycle, foot, horseback and yes in Alaska they still use dog-sleds.
              I know that most local agencies will accept FLETC certification through their transfer process but I’m not sure about SLEPT. Some SLEPT academies are also POST academies so I wouldn’t be surprised if they do but I still wouldn’t bank on it.
              The best place to look for requirement for seasonal/TEMP LE rangers as well as all other seasonal positions in the field of Natural Resources is USAJOBS.COM If you act like you are applying for jobs even if you have to mark “no experience” in most of the questions it will still let you go through the screening process until the end and as you go through the screening questions you’ll learn what qualifications they are looking for in their rangers.
              It's late and this is just the tip of the errors
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              • #8
                Ahh CACBAND, let’s try this again. I did not realize that my not having worked as an NPS ranger (something I obviously made pretty clear at the beginning of my previous post) was so upstaged by your not have worked as a ranger for anyone and my apologies for outlining the most likely way a person would go about getting a job as an NPS Ranger instead of writing a dissertation (I had real ones to write) on all the various ways you could technically, but probably not, get the job. I don’t apologize for clearly stating that my post was “to the best of my knowledge” and that certain things like the jurisdiction issue “I [didn’t] know for sure” but I knew that both Colorado and California Park Rangers had authority on and off the park and guessed (and made it pretty clear that I was guessing) that the NPS policies would be the similar if not the same to which you ranted about but really didn’t provide any accurate information. But I guess I knew enough because I’m back with a brown arrowhead patch on my left sleeve and a huge “welcome to the park” grin on my face. I was going to fill in the holes and correct my previous information but I guess now I’ll need to correct your misinformation as well so let’s begin the mini-dissertation.

                Jurisdiction and Authority:
                In general a Park Ranger’s Authority depends on the authority given to them by the government they work for so some agencies have authority off the park while others don’t. Now for the U.S. Park ranger specifically their authority is remarkably unspecific so here it goes:

                There are 2 main types of jurisdiction when it comes to Federal agencies. There are territorial jurisdictions and there are offense based Jurisdictions. For territorial jurisdictions an agency has jurisdiction and authority on certain physical area (owned or not) so: the NPS, US Forrest Service, US Army Garrisons, US Army Corp of Engineers and so on all have territorial jurisdictions while offense based agencies have jurisdiction over all offenses within a certain classification of crime throughout the Country and sometimes beyond. These agencies include the FBI (jurisdiction over terrorism throughout the Country and murders on Federal lands), The US Secret Service (jurisdiction over counterfeiting throughout the Country), ICE (Immigration), The EPA (Environmental laws), ATF (Bombs and Firearm Sales), DEA (Drug trafficking), etc. There are some agencies that are blended and have both territorial and offense based jurisdictions. Boarders and Customs is one because they have the boarders and ports of entry as well as authority over things smuggled or trafficked into the US wherever they may be. Another is the US Fish and Wildlife service which has territorial jurisdictions on it’s preserves and reserves and offense based jurisdiction everywhere when it comes to wildlife laws such as violations of the Endangered Species Act, the transport of endangered or exotic animals or animal parts such as rhino horns, eagle feathers, elephant tusks, etc (the Lacey Act). NPS authority on its parks varies and they can have very wide or narrow authority in different areas. If there is a crime (say murder) on NPS territory that an offense based agency (the FBI) would have authority over, the offense based agency would have first dibs however those offense based agencies may or may not travel to a park in the middle of nowhere to investigate a crime when they can also turn it over to the NPS who has territorial jurisdiction.

                There are 4 main types of Territorial Jurisdiction for Federal Agencies and an NPS area can be anyone of these depending on the individual property. There is Exclusive Jurisdiction (often found in parks that are older than the State they are found in like the Alaskan parks and Yellowstone) where the Federal agency has complete control and State and Local agencies have no authority. There is Concurrent Jurisdiction where both the State and the Feds have control and a person can get a ticket for Offense Y as a violation of Federal Law from a Federal Officer and/or a ticket for the same Offense Y as a State violation from a State Officer.
                In Exclusive and Concurrent Jurisdictions the NPS ranger (and any Federal Officer) also has the ability to incorporate non-competing Local and State laws into Federal laws so if there is no law against Crime X on the Federal books but there is a law against Crime X on the State books you can still get a ticket from a Federal officer for Crime X as a Federal violation because they have assimilated all State Laws that don’t contradict Federal Laws into the Federal Code. However, if a Federal Ranger contacts a person for a violation that is against both State and Federal law the person will get a citation for the Federal violation (not the assimilated State violation) regardless of if the State law has a harsher penalty or not, because the Federal law always trumps the State law. But if the offense occurred in a Concurrent Jurisdiction a State officer could cite for the State Violation. Technically, on Concurrent Jurisdiction both a State Officer and a Federal Officer could write a citation for their respective jurisdictions for a single offense and the offender would have two citations for one action.
                The NPS also has Proprietary Jurisdictions where the State and Local agencies are the main law enforcement and have authority and jurisdiction over the park area. The analogy is that in this case the NPS acts like an owner of a business in that just like the owner of a business the NPS can make rules and enforce the rules of use for its business but the Local Law Enforcement has jurisdiction over any violations of Local law that occur in that business (or proprietary NPS area) just like if someone was assaulted in the business that would be in Local Law Enforcement’s jurisdiction. But it gets murky here too because the NPS can assimilate specific types of State and Local laws under 36 CFR into Federal laws assuming they don’t contradict the Federal statutes or regulations already written. Some, but by no means all, of these laws include traffic, boating and wildlife laws.
                Finally there are partial Jurisdictions where the Federal and State government hash it out amongst themselves and the State gets to retain the authority to enforce certain laws while the Fed gets to enforce others.
                In any case the NPS ranger will stop an offender if they are violating any law: Federal, State or Local. If that means they have to detain a person and call in a Local agency then that’s what will happen.

                As for authority of the U.S. Park Ranger that again depends on the park and the local law enforcement agreements. NPS rangers can go off the park (nationwide) in cases of “hot pursuit” or if they have been issued a warrant for a crime that occurred within the park. And speaking of warrants, Violation Notices (aka tickets) from the NPS are Federal Offenses so if someone fails to pay or show up in court after being issued one and a warrant is issued it can be served Nationwide (often by NPS agents or U.S. Marshals). There are also Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) between all Department of the Interior Agencies that gives them authority on each other’s land and then between DOI agencies and the US Forrest Service that gives them authority on each others land. In addition MOUs may also be written on a temporary or permanent bases with local governments. For Example NPS rangers were temporarily deputized as U.S. Marshals who intern were temporarily deputized as Louisiana State Police officers during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, but in Virginia NPS LE personal have the same authority and jurisdiction as a State Peace Officer on a permanent basis.
                Personally, my park is in Concurrent Jurisdiction so both NPS Rangers as well as State and County officers have authority on the park. We have MOUs with the BLM, USFS and surrounding counties and therefore we have authority in these areas as well. Furthermore our Rangers are also deputized as State officers.

                SLETP and FLETC acceptance and Transfers
                As for transfers, you can equate holding a FLETC certification to holding a State law enforcement certification and transferring is the same process. To transfer into any other agency, laterally or not, will mean jumping through the hoops the State you are transferring into (if changing states or changing from Federal agency to a State agency) has set up for their law enforcement certification transfers and then on what policies the particular agency you are transferring into to has for transfers. All States vary and have their own policy on transferring out of state LE certifications. Usually the State will have rules that say something like you have to have worked in the issuing State (or Federal agency) for ___ number of years prior to transferring to their state and take such and such of test and/or update class but sometimes you’ll get lucky as one state will except another cert with no questions asked: Kentucky used to do this for Ohio’s OPOTA but not anymore. If your going into a small agency this State transfer, if transferring to another State, may likely be the only hoop to jump through but most large agencies have their own training programs and have internal policies that require any of their officers to go through their specific training academy whether you hold a current certification from the same State or not. This is true with LAPD (even if you already have a California POST cert), Denver PD (even with a current Colorado POST certification), NYPD (Even with a current NY State LE Cert), Columbus PD (even with a current OPOTA cert), the DEA (even with a current FLETC cert in another section), the FBI (even with a current FLETC cert in another section) and so on and so on. It doesn’t diminish a FLETC certification over any other State certification and for all practical purposes a FLETC cert is the same thing as any other State cert and just as transferable. As for SLETP there is at least one state (WY) that will currently accept it as a transfer for at least a seasonal LE position right out of the academy (one of my fellow SLETP Academy Cadets did it) but I don’t know what other state policies on it are.

                As for CACBAND's technicalities, you can technically get a permanent position without having been a seasonal ranger (good luck, and actually landing something without previous Federal experience or lots of very closely related "Ranger" experience is just about non-existent) but you will still need to put yourself through SLETP or have gone through FLETC before they will even look at you (FLETC backlog my butt—it’s called getting more people than you will actually hire to pay for an academy and on top of that not having to spend the money on training new people that may or may not work out.)
                As for CACBAND’s assertion that the USFS, BLM and USFW don’t have seasonals and don’t use or care about SLETP type II law enforcement certification that’s not really true. The USFWS does accept SLETP certification (http://www.fws.gov/policy/232fw2.html) and although officially the BLM and USFS don’t use it they both take their people largely from other LE agencies, particularly federal agencies. Since the BLM has GS-05 and GS-07 LE rangers and the USFS hires people with previous seasonal LE experience in other agencies or experience as unarmed Forrest Protection Officers to be their permanent rangers where do you think most of those people usually come from? The smart money would go to other federal agencies that have people trained to the GS-05 and GS-07 positions or people that have gone through their training program and that’s the NPS and USFWS Type II certified (a.k.a. SLETP) officers.

                CACBAND is correct, there is no age limit on seasonal (TEMP) positions but for TERM and Permanent Federal LE positions you need to be hired before you turn 37. Yes, if you have qualifying military experience you may be able to get a waver depending on how old you are and how many years you put in the military or if you currently hold a 6C position (permanent federal law enforcement—including corrections, or a permanent federal firefighting position) you can transfer until the mandatory retirement age but you cant move from a State or Local LE department into a Federal 6C position after the age of 36. Also if CACBAND knows someone that has been able to stay in the same area then he knows some of the few. Most of us have lived in many different places and worked for many different agencies before finally landing a permanent job with the NPS and if you’re not in the Northeast section of the country the same 2 to 3 state area (or even the same 1 state area) is still a mighty big place and still requires uprooting one’s life with each move. If you think that’s not a big deal try telling your, significant other who has a stable job they don’t want to loose, or your 8-year old who has a new best friend (after you moved them away from their old best friend), that they will only be in the next state over when they both know very well that the next state over still means 478 miles away. Heck, just going to FLETC usually means traveling to a different State and then you need to go to work at another park other than your original park to complete the FLETC training. Plus, there are some parks where just moving from one side of the park to the other side means going to completely different areas to get necessities. For example if you work at Glen Canyon you have one site that is directly outside of a populated area in Page, Arizona and another that requires a 3 hour drive to Cortez, Colorado or a 5 hour drive to Grand Junction to get groceries and yet another site that requires a boat ride before the 3 to 5 hour drive to get groceries.

                The certifications:
                One could equate the minimum requirements listed in the job descriptions to the general education subject courses one needs to get a degree from a liberal arts college. Both ensure the student (or job applicant) have a certain level of minimum education in a wide variety of fields but if you want the degree (job placement) you’ll need to go well above the minimum standards in at least one of those fields in addition to having the general education (minimum requirements) in all the other fields. If it needs to be any clearer: YOU WILL NOT GET THE JOB IF YOU ONLY HAVE THE MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS. If you look at my profile you’ll see some of the qualifications it took me to get into NPS and while you’re looking remember that none of my co-workers are any less qualified.

                Education vs. Experience:
                In my experience if you count on just experience or education to get you into the field (even for TEMP positions) you’ll need far more than the minimum listed and in reality most people that I know hired by NPS or even many State and Local Rangers have some combination of a degree, experience, and/or Military/Peace Corps service. Although I have met rangers with a criminal justice degree (plus military and previous experience) I strongly recommend a natural resources related degree if your looking to be in the natural resources field (ranger or wildlife officer). I had an NPS Chief Ranger as an instructor in one of my academies tell us flat out that he “would not hire someone without a degree” and “preferably in a natural resources related field.” He stated that this was because the average visitor at his park had a college education and his rangers needed to have that experience to effectively communicate with them. When a student with a criminal justice background but no natural resources experience asked him how to get a job in his park the ranger told him to go take some natural resource classes because “all the criminal justice experience in the world wont get you to know the difference between a pinion, ponderosa and a white pine or a beaver, muskrat and nutria.” This message has been echoed on many of the parks and academies I have been to at various levels not just this one Chief Ranger.

                Another message that is constantly echoed is that in general parks do not have a law enforcement focus like a traditional law enforcement agency. They have a mission of conserving, preserving, and educating the public on cultural, historic, and natural resources and use law enforcement as a tool, and only one of many tools, to achieve this goal. As a Park Ranger you should have that same mindset and be able to use many more tools upstairs than those that involve the use of items on your duty belt. The goal after-all is to be effective Land Managers and although NPS has become more specialize than other park services you still need to be a bit of a generalist to be an effective steward of the land.
                So having said that, although at least 51% of my job is law enforcement related work, I still do minor and help with emergency repairs, and staff various visitor stations when needed, as well as handle money. In the larger parks near the heavily used areas or in urban parks this may not happen as much (CACBAND should know better than to say “never”) but most of our NPS areas (preserves, monuments, memorials, cemeteries, historic sites, lakeshores, seashores, national rivers, national trails, national parkways, national battlefield parks, national recreation areas, etc) are less known than the flagship parks and have less staff and visitors, or like the flagship parks, they have staff stationed in remote areas so the rangers do a wide variety of things especially in the off-seasons. Yes, I also do wildlife management, fire management—including structural and wildland firefighting (this year included a 3 week detail on a wildland hand-crew), and serve as an EMT on a park that has it’s own ambulance staffed by the LE and sometimes other certified Park Rangers. As for customer service and giving informal (and occasionally formal) interpretive talks, these are both daily and constant duties that are individually, specifically and very deliberately written into my performance appraisal.

                TNT
                Last edited by JoshTE; 09-12-2012, 04:47 AM.
                “a park ranger is a protector. You protect the land from the people, the people from the land, the people from each other, and the people from themselves. It's what you are trained to do without even thinking, a reflexive and unconditional act. If you're lucky, you get assigned to people who seem worth saving and land and waters whose situation is not hopeless. If not, you save them anyway. And maybe in time, saving them will make them worth it.” -Kurt Caswell

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by TheTick
                  Check out the big brain on Brett!
                  How’s retirement old-timer?
                  That movie’s almost old enough for the Archeologists to call it “historical” if it hadn’t been labeled “trash” and thrown-out long ago.
                  “a park ranger is a protector. You protect the land from the people, the people from the land, the people from each other, and the people from themselves. It's what you are trained to do without even thinking, a reflexive and unconditional act. If you're lucky, you get assigned to people who seem worth saving and land and waters whose situation is not hopeless. If not, you save them anyway. And maybe in time, saving them will make them worth it.” -Kurt Caswell

                  Comment

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