Posted by: rmorrisey | March 4, 2007

Five Ways to Increase Your Chances of Getting a Park Ranger Job

The National Park Service will provide you with very general employment information but when you read through the vacancy announcements and application instructions on USAJobs, you’ll realize that “general employment information” just doesn’t cut it.

Wading through the federal hiring process isn’t for sissies.  It takes patience, determination and persistence.  But the payoff is pretty darn good . . . better than average pay, fantastic fringe benefits, opportunities for advancement and growth and the chance to live and work in America’s national parks.  Here are five things you can do to increase your chances of getting hired.

1.  Read the entire vacancy announcement and follow the instructions.  If it says that your application package must be sent via snail mail, don’t try to email or fax in your application.  Your ability to read, interpret and comply with regulations and instructions, is indicative of how successful you will be as an employee of the federal government.  Red tape is just par for the course.  Get used to it.

2.  Instead of submitting a resume, fill out the OF-612, Optional Application for Federal Employment.  Why?  (1) This ensures that you are submitting all the information that is required on a federal job application, and (2) the human resources people who will be rating your application are familiar and comfortable with this form.  It makes their job easier.  You should also include the form DI-1935, Applicant Background Survey.  I recommend submitting the DI-1935 even if the vacancy announcement doesn’t specifically request them.  Unless you have flawless penmanship, use a computer or typewriter to complete these forms.

3.  If the vacancy announcement calls for KSAs, then, YES, you must complete them.  Put each KSA on a separate sheet of paper.  Type the KSA at the top of the page and your name, social security number and the job announcement number at the bottom of each page.  For more helpful information about writing your KSAs, consult the Park Ranger Career Handbook

4.  If grammar and spelling don’t come easily to you, find an English major to proofread your application and KSAs.  This is especially important if one of the KSAs happens to be “The ability to communicate effectively in writing.”

5.  Park ranger jobs don’t require a college degree if you have sufficient experience.  Volunteer at a national park to gain the valuable “specialized experience” that is called for in the vacancy announcement.  Find opportunities to polish and demonstrate your public speaking ability.  Joining Toastmasters International is a great way to do this.  Become certified in first aid, CPR, first responder, wilderness survival, etc.

The competition for park ranger jobs can be stiff, but if you’re persistent, professional and willing to travel, you can go far in a National Park Service career.

Good luck!




  1. I am serving in Iraq currently as a U.S. Soldier and am going to be leaving the service in Nov. 2010 and would like any and all info. on how to become a Park Ranger! I would like to live and work in Alaska, is that possible in this career? Thank you.

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