Forest Ranger Qualifications

Forest Ranger Qualifications
What most people think "forest rangers" do is often done by foresters, who manage the wild places for the U.S. Forest Service of the National Park Service.

Forester Duties

Foresters (and range managers) do all the dirty work in the forest, from recreational facility upkeep to resource management to field research. The job requires a GPS and a good pair of boots.

Education Requirements

Most permanent, full-time forestry positions require a four-year degree in forestry or an equivalent discipline. Some forestry technician positions require only an associate's degree and some relevant experience such as trail maintenance or firefighting.

Previous Experience

The Forest Service values previous experience such as working at campgrounds or similar state or local parks. What it really values, though, is previous Forest Service experience. There are many opportunities for seasonal employment, and the Forest Service always welcomes volunteers.


The most essential requirements are perseverance and flexibility. Foresters can be put to work anywhere in the 200 million acres of national lands, from desert to mountain peaks, and from uncharted wilderness to office cubicles. Duties not only vary from forest to forest but from season to season and even day to day.

Government Job

All federal jobs come with a lot of regulation and paperwork. Job descriptions and pay grade are set according to a standardized process. By law, the Forest Service is equal opportunity and required to make reasonable accommodations to those with disabilities.

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.

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