Being passionate about the environment, carrying a strong desire to preserve the American wilderness, and a wholesome enjoyment of the outdoors are excellent traits to possess for becoming a great forest ranger. In obtaining this position, much of the time on the job will be spent alone patrolling the forest park to ensure that all visitors are safe and to prevent any illegal activities. A great level of knowledge, dedication and skill is required to be able to perform the duties of a forest ranger efficiently.
In comparison to police officers who typically work within a city or town, forest rangers are often out alone and work in remote areas with the potential of being miles away from civilization depending on the park. While this can be extremely rewarding because the natural beauty of the wilderness is seen, it is also physically and mentally demanding.
To become a successful forest ranger, being in great physical condition is an important requirement to meet because the challenges of nature such as high and rugged mountains to fast and treacherous rivers can be very compelling. Hitting the gym is a formidable method to growing physical strength and stamina, but getting used nature’s hurdles by taking long hikes and steep climbs can be just as if not more effective.
Physical fitness and vision tests along with a state civil service test need to be passed before the stages of becoming a forest ranger can move forward. This career is not for everyone, which is why heavy prerequisites are required to ensure that all forest rangers are fully capable of performing all job duties.
The study of an environmentally related major and graduating with a bachelor’s degree in that major is required to even be considered for a forest ranger. However, there is one path that can be taken to avoid requiring a bachelor’s degree and that is by obtaining an associate’s degree in forest management, forestry, environmental science, or another highly related degree. While not all states will allow for this exception, doing research and finding the ones that do is very important depending on the desired area of work.
Carrying and being able to operate a firearm is required to become a forest ranger because of the risky job duties that need to be performed when being all alone. Taking firearm training and gun safety classes are essential to precede to the next step in obtaining the forest ranger job title.
Applying to the U.S. Forestry Service or specific state forestry service is the final step to becoming a forest ranger. There may be certain requirements depending on the location of the park and job that is being applied for, but with proper preparation and research there should be no problem meeting the standards. Ultimately, becoming a forest ranger can be extremely rewarding by taking part in preserving and saving the environment, but at the same time the process that it takes to get the job is very difficult and rigorous from the hard work and patience it requires that is endured by going to school for two to four years and then completing several other courses along with being physically demanding.