Live the Dream: National Park Service Ranger

Classic dream jobs and the new rules for landing them

Sep 17, 2012
Outside
Outside Magazine
National Park Service Ranger Sh

National Park Service Ranger Shutterstock.    Photo: William Silver

WHY IT'S GREAT: Your office is Yellowstone, Yosemite, Glacier....

FIRST KNOW THIS: It’s essentially a hybrid law-enforcement and visitor-services job that requires long hours and constant public interaction—i.e., saving tourists from themselves.

GET THE GIG: According to National Park Service communications director Kathy Kupper, people usually start off as seasonal volunteers—or working concessions, pumping gas, or cleaning park bathrooms—while simultaneously loading up on EMT, whitewater-rescue, and fire-management courses. It may take upwards of five years to secure a permanent position at a smaller park. Before landing your dream job at Yosemite, you’ll need to take recertification classes and expand your skill set to include things like helicopter and rappelling rescues.

START HERE: Seasonal and permanent NPS jobs are posted at usajobs.gov, and volunteer opportunities are listed at volunteer.gov.

SALARY: $41,000–$54,000.

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