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How do I Become a Forest Ranger?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2016
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A forest ranger career may be rewarding for someone who enjoys the outdoors and feels enthusiastic about nature. To become a forest ranger, you may start by assessing your talents, interests, and abilities to make sure this job will be a good fit for you. Then, you may earn a degree in a related field, such as environmental science, biology, or forest management. If you live in a jurisdiction in which licensing is required for this job, you may also have to pass an exam, take a physical fitness tests, or participate in mandatory firearms training. Once you have completed all of the requirements for securing a job as a forest ranger in your jurisdiction, you may apply for a job with a regional or national agency.

Before you begin working to become a forest ranger, you may do well to assess your personality and compare it with the characteristics expected in a forest ranger. Typically, you’ll need to have a genuine love of the outdoors and be comfortable working with animals. You may also need to have problem-solving skills and the ability to deal with challenges while under pressure. Additionally, you’ll likely need to think quickly and stay calm in emergency situations.

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Depending on the jurisdiction in which you will work, you may need a bachelor’s degree to become a forest ranger, or a degree may merely be preferred. Some of the educational majors that may provide good preparation for a career as a forest ranger are those related to biology, forestry, or conservation. Geology and geography may be suitable as well. You may even be qualified to become a forest ranger after pursing a degree in a resource management or animal husbandry major.

Some jurisdictions also have requirements regarding licensing and additional training. In some places, for example, you may be required to pass a civil service exam in order to earn licensing as a forest ranger. You may also be subject to a test of physical fitness in some places. Additionally, you may need firearms training, and some jurisdictions may even require aspiring forest rangers to complete law enforcement training.

After you’ve met the requirements for becoming a forest ranger, you may decide that you are ready to apply for a job. You may land a job as a forest ranger by applying with a regional or national forestry agency. For example, a forestry service or department of land management in your jurisdiction may be a good place to start.

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