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.
Federal Park Ranger Salary Expectations
Salaries for park rangers working with the National Park Service are on a General Schedule (GS) pay scale, but within the General Schedule pay scale there are levels at which the rangers are classified by, each with their own different pay range.
- Park rangers with the National Park Service will more than likely be hired on at the GS-5 level, which means you will need to have at least a four-year degree, a minimum of 24 semester hours of related coursework, or one year of specialized experience that could be seen as an equivalent to the GS-4 level.
- Park rangers can qualify to be employed at the GS-7 level with one year of graduate education or specialized training that is equal to the GS-5 level.
- Rangers who qualify to be employed at the GS-9 level 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 GS-7 level can be used as well.
- Lastly, rangers can be employed at the GS-11 level 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 GS-9 level can be used also.
The salary range for each level can be found here:
- 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 GS pay scale is just a general pay scale for park rangers. When it comes to final salary numbers, location and other influences might affect the final 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
In addition to possessing a POST basic certificate (except for park ranger cadets) and at least two years (60 semester units) of study from an accredited college or university, which includes at least 21 semester credits that meet general education curriculum standards, park rangers in California must possess:
- Park Ranger A and B: A minimum of three years of experience with the Department of Parks and Recreation and the completion of park ranger cadet training program
- Park Ranger Supervisor: Must have either two years of experience performing the duties of a State park ranger or a minimum of three years of experience in the management, administration, or visitor service of a historical area, public recreational area, or park.
For more information regarding the salary expectations in your state, please visit the corresponding state page on Park-Ranger.org.