Combine your Love of Nature with your Desire to Educate the Public as a Park Ranger
It is important to protect whatever nature we have left, since too many areas are being paved over and transformed into extensions of the city. It’s also important for people to be educated about the natural plants and wildlife we have growing and living in our country, so it’s the job of a park ranger to see to both of these things. We all like to take a break from the stress of the city and enjoy the country once in a while, but without the protection of park rangers, things like getting lost, animal attacks and bad plant reactions could dissuade you. A park ranger plays an important role in allowing people to enjoy nature safely and making sure that our natural areas remain undisturbed and safe.
Education is critical in the role of a park ranger, because the higher the degree you get, the better the salary outlook. An associate’s criminal justice degree is the bare minimum, and it can be taken in fields like business, law enforcement, criminal justice, public administration, park and recreation management, biology or environmental sciences. It can also be done online at places like Ashford University or Liberty University Online. A 4 year bachelor’s degree in any of those fields is becoming more and more in demand though, so be sure of the exact requirements when you apply. It is even becoming more common for people to earn their masters degrees to ensure better chances of being promoted and earning more money, because without higher degrees, the average salary is about $24,000-$37,000 which is low compared to other careers in criminal justice. It is also a field that will probably not grow too much in the coming years and is largely dependant on the condition of the environment, so obtaining advanced degrees puts you at the top of the competition.
A park ranger must be able to work independently and be prepared for any type of crisis or emergency, but they may also be placed in a team situation or be required to take on a leadership role, so the ability to adapt easily is key. Depending on where a ranger is located, whether it be in a park or in rural, wilderness areas, the duties could change. In general they are in charge of the overall well-being and safety of the people visiting the area, as well as responsible for the respect and care of the natural area. They could be called in on urgent cases like fires, lost hikers, animal attacks or injuries, or they could work on developing conservation projects, giving tours and educating the public. They will also work in an environmentalist capacity by studying the natural wildlife behavior and the quality of the air and water. A park ranger wears many hats, but overall they are concerned with the conservation and longevity of the country’s natural regions.