In the United States, park rangers take home an average, yearly salary of $38,660, with the top 10 percent taking home roughly $84,980 each year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Salaries for park rangers will vary depending on the state and wildlife department in which they work.
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Federal Park Ranger Salary Expectations
Federal park ranger salaries for those working with the National Park Service are on a General Schedule (GS) pay scale, but within the General Schedule pay scale there are levels that classify rangers, each with their own pay range.
- Park rangers with the National Park Service will more than likely be hired on at the level of GS-5, requiring at least a four-year degree, a minimum of related coursework of 24 semester hours, or one year of focused experience that could be seen as an equivalent to the level of GS-4.
- Park rangers can qualify to be employed at the level of GS-7 with graduate education of one year or specialized training that is equal to the level of GS-5.
- Rangers who qualify to be employed at the level of GS-9 will need to have at least two years of graduate education and/or a master’s degree in a related field. One year of specialized training equivalent to the level of GS-7 can be used, as well.
- Lastly, rangers can be employed at the level of GS-11 if they have a minimum of three years of graduate study or a doctoral degree in a field related to the occupation. Like other levels, one year of specialized training equal to the level of GS-9 can be used, as well.
The salary range for each level can be found as follows:
- GS-5: $27,705 – $36,021
- GS-7: $34,319 – $44,615
- GS-9: $41,979 – $54,570
- GS-11: $50,790 – $66,027
It should be noted that the pay scale of GS is just a general pay scale for park rangers. When it comes to final salary numbers, location and other influences might affect the ultimate salary ranges. For example, here is a list of recently listed park ranger positions and their salaries:
- Park Ranger Law Enforcement, Virginia: $30,821 – $42,862 a year.
- Park Ranger I, Huntington, Oregon: $34,488 – $47,316 a year.
- Park Ranger I (Park Operations Trainee), Bastrop, Texas: $32,832 a year.
- Park Ranger, City of Aurora, Colorado: $35,880 – $38,480 a year.
- Park Ranger I, Sonoma, California: $47,503 – $57,771 a year
State Park Ranger Salary Expectations
When it comes to determining the salary of a state park ranger there are a lot of factors to consider. Salaries of state park rangers will depend on the education and experience of the candidate, their responsibilities on duty, and where they have chosen to work.
Two of the largest states in the country, Texas and California, will serve as great examples for the variations of salaries among state park rangers:
Texas – As of 2014, state park rangers in Texas used this pay scale to determine the salaries of its rangers:
- Park Ranger I (B14): $20,533 – $46,996
- Park Ranger II (B16): $34,233 – $52,730
- Park Ranger III (B18): $38,746 – $61,644
- Park Ranger IV (B20): $44,273 – $70,577
- Park Ranger V (B22): $50,602 – $80,803
- Park Superintendent I (B20): $44,273 – $70,577
- Park Superintendent II (B21): $47,331 – $75,517
- Park Superintendent III (B22): $50,602 – $80,803
- Park Superintendent IV (B23): $54,102 – $86,459
- Park Superintendent V (B24): $57,847 – $92,511
In order to be eligible in Texas for the minimum salary range, you must possess a four year degree with a major in a field relating to the park ranger profession. However, the experience of each candidate will be different, which will result in a different start salary as reflected above.
California – As of 2014, state park rangers in California used this pay scale to determine the salaries of its rangers:
- Park ranger cadet: $38,532 – $51,756.
- Park Ranger (A): $40,128 – $53,604
- Park Ranger (B): $47,772 – $64,440
- Park Ranger Supervisor: $55,080 – $75,120
In addition to basic POST certificate training
Beyond holding a basic certificate for POST (except for park ranger cadets) and minimum of 2 years (60 semester units) of study through an accredited university or college, (including a minimum of 21 semester credits that adhere to general education standards for curriculum), park rangers in California must have the following:
- Park Ranger A and B: A minimum of experience of 3 years with the Department of Parks and Recreation and the completion of park ranger cadet training program.
- Park Ranger Supervisor: Must have either experience of 2 years functioning within the duties of State park ranger or a minimum of 3 years of experience in the administration, visitor service, or management of a park, public recreational area, or historical area.
For more information regarding the salary expectations in your state, please visit the corresponding state page on Park-Ranger.org.
Park Ranger Programs and Educational Opportunities
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Choose your area of study and receive free information about programs you are interested in. Park rangers are responsible for protecting our parks and wilderness areas as well as guiding and educating the public. These duties are the same across the local, state, and national levels. Park rangers pursue degrees related to parks and recreation, environmental science, as well as law enforcement and criminal justice.