The U.S. Forest Service employs more than 30,000 people and the National Park Service another 20,000 people. They do everything from implementing multidisciplinary ecological restoration strategies to emptying the garbage. Sometimes, those jobs are done by the same person.
Most full-time permanent employees have college degrees, usually in forestry or a closely related field. This education prepares them for developmental positions. What is really valued is experience in the field.
Forest rangers will have many duties over a career. Some remove troublesome bears to remote areas, while others reason with frustrated senior citizens in crowded gift shops. Only long and direct experience can really prepare someone for this.
Working in the wilds involves change as seasons turn, assignments shift and technology evolves. The Forest Service offers continual training to its employees through formal classroom or Web-based training.
Outside of some specialized research positions, most senior officials have served many years in lower positions. Many of these officials began their careers as seasonal hires.
Article Written By Tony Padegimas
Tony Padegimas is a freelance writer based in Phoenix. His articles on outdoor pursuits, general fitness, sports, theater, the inside guts of buildings, and many other random topics have appeared in numerous local and national magazines. He is the author of Day and Overnight Hikes - Tonto National Forest, published by Menasha Ridge Press.