School Requirements for a Forest Ranger

School Requirements for a Forest Ranger
Much of what you would commonly think forest rangers do is actually done by an army of foresters and forestry technicians working for the U.S. Forest Service or the National Park Service. To work as one of the Forest Service members, you must meet certain school requirements.

What They Do

Foresters and forestry technicians (and range managers) perform the demanding work of managing and investigating the wilderness. They research in the field to plan and manage the recreational and economic use of public lands.

Starting Qualifications

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 degree and some relevant experience. Even so, these are considered entry level, developmental positions.

Specific Coursework

Prospective forest rangers should take courses in any or all of the following: forestry, agriculture, range conservation/wildlife, watershed management, soil science, outdoor recreation management, civil or forest engineering and wildland fire science.

Many Duties

While some foresters end up in specialized positions, most are generalists, doing whatever the day requires. Duties not only vary from forest to forest, but also from season to season. After all, arboreal tundra in roadless Alaska and open desert a few miles from metropolitan Phoenix both lie within national forests.

Forestry programs

The Society of American Foresters (SAF) has accredited 50 four-year programs in colleges across the United States, ranging in tone and location from Alabama A&M to Yale. The SAF also certifies individual foresters who meet their requirements.

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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