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Old 03-24-2012, 05:50 PM
29 posts, read 51,054 times
Reputation: 17


Hello, I'm moving to CO(most likely Denver) in early June after I receive my associates in liberal arts.

I would love to get a job as a park ranger, though I don't exactly fit the qualifications being I don't have a bachelors degree nor any official parks experience. I have informal parks experience you could say, but I'm not sure how I could put that down on a resume. Does anyone have any insight on how to get a job in park and recreation? I would hope to start a career in the parks services, so even if there's positions at the bottom of the ladder, I'm open to suggestions.

Also, I'm confused on whether you have to be a CO resident at the time of applying...one of the qualifications of being a park ranger said you had to possess a CO license, and another job listing said the same except it didn't specify a state. Unfortunately, I will have a NY drivers license at the time I apply.

I'm also trying to think of other jobs I could work, where I could explore the state...I was even considering trucking or something like that. But idk, it doesn't seem like there's much future potential driving truck, but it would be an awesome way of exploring the lands while getting paid! Anyways, I would appreciate any advice on how to get a job in the parks services, or other jobs where I can thrive and explore CO. Thanks in advance!
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Old 03-24-2012, 07:07 PM
Location: Na'alehu Hawaii/Buena Vista Colorado
4,624 posts, read 9,112,537 times
Reputation: 4502
What are you really looking for? You mention both the "park and recreation" field and being a "park ranger". There are tons of Recreation Districts (both city and county) in Denver and the surrounding suburbs. See the current related link "Towns with Rec Centers". Each one of the Park and Rec Districts listed have various different jobs, and even cities that don't have rec districts have grounds crews. So if you are looking at positions at the bottom of the ladder, there are probably plenty of them available, especially with summer coming up. Unfortunately I don't know of any central place to look for jobs. I would imagine that the different Rec Districts have their own requirements for hire.

Park rangers are a totally different field. There are National and state parks in Colorado that hire park rangers as well as BLM and probably others that I can't think of right now. Obviously the requirements for these kinds of jobs would be totally different than work in a parks and rec district. My daughter had a pretty menial job in a National park, and she had a Bachelor's Degree in Forestry.
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Old 03-24-2012, 08:15 PM
Location: SE Portland, OR
1,167 posts, read 2,141,866 times
Reputation: 620
Hawaii is right, if you're looking for a job in Rocky or as with the Forest service, you're probably going to be at the very end of a LONG line of people. CSU pumps out quite a few Forestry majors every year, and the vast majority of them want to stay in Colorado.

There are also others with specific recreation degrees. Western State is actually one of the bigger schools in the country for this. So again, you'll have A LOT of competition.

There are so many people with aspirations of working for the NPs or Forest service, it's just going to be a huge uphill battle. Good luck.
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Old 03-25-2012, 10:48 AM
726 posts, read 1,813,425 times
Reputation: 413
To get a job with the state you must be a resident. There are seasonal parks jobs that are always available, do not pay much but do offer valuable experience. You should look into some of the local programs for parks, forestry (or whatever it is you would want to do). I don't know much about the national parks and their employment situation but I assume most of their open positions are probably filled by college students doing internships.
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Old 03-25-2012, 11:11 AM
Location: Bend, OR
3,296 posts, read 8,198,863 times
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As others have already stated, if you are looking for a "park ranger" type job with the National Park Service or Forest Service, you are a bit late in the game for seasonal work. I am one of those CSU Forestry Grads, and although I'm no longer with the USFS, I would start hiring my seasonals (bottom of the ladder positions) in January and early February to start work in April. Also, with the number of college kids out there with actual Bachelor's degrees in the field, it's going to be really hard for you to get a job. Not impossible, but competition is pretty fierce.

The state parks hire law enforcement type rangers, as well as cashiers, etc. but you do have to be a resident to be hired with the state.

If I were you, I look at getting any job when you move to the state and explore on your days off. It's going to be pretty hard to find a job that will allow you to explore while on the clock.
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Old 03-28-2012, 11:51 AM
244 posts, read 480,660 times
Reputation: 201
Your best luck would be with a city, county or special districts. Many have part-time seasonal jobs and it is a good way to get your foot in the door. Many cities also have park rangers, but they are more the law enforcement type. It also maybe worth your time to get a bachelors degree in park and recreation or leisure studies. There are also professional organizations such as the National Park and Recreation Association and the Colorado Parks and Recreation Association to check out.

If your heart is set on a career with the NPS or the Forest Service, you may want to try and get a position on a hot shot crew or a engine crew.
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Old 03-28-2012, 12:00 PM
2,542 posts, read 5,821,348 times
Reputation: 2595
You need a fire science degree (two year at the very most, probably one year) and a red card (you should have the classroom portion during your degree, plus a pack test) to work fire for the national agencies.

A Natural Resource B.S. will probably be the best degree for working in the Forest Service, Parks and Rec with law enforcement I'm guessing for the Park Service, although Natural Resources will probably work for Park Service as well. Also, there is the Army Corp of Engineers and National Fish and Wildlife.

You can get in as a GS 3 or 4 with your two year degree, but start now. Some districts are late-starters: look on USA Jobs. (We are talking seasonal work here.) Also, you can't go into any of the outdoor federal agencies and expect to work in one state. You apply everywhere and see where the wind takes you. I can't stress that enough. If you refuse to work anywhere but Colorado, you probably won't succeed. It can be a fun and exciting career. You can try to get in as a GS 3 or 4 seasonal and see how you like it, then go for your BS later.

However, USA Jobs and applying for the federal jobs can be daunting--go back to your school and see if there is anyone there that can help you through it.

Last edited by crazyme4878; 03-28-2012 at 12:08 PM..
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