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How Do I Become a Park Superintendent?

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  • Written By: Dan Harkins
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2016
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Depending on the size of a park system and its supervising authority, a park superintendent could have a wide or narrow range of responsibilities. To become a park superintendent, many receive an associate's or even bachelor's degree in management, while others attempt to stand out by accruing experience in the job. Perhaps a combination of education and experience is the best approach to obtaining the park superintendent job you desire.

Many park superintendents have a blend of duties that combine the skills of a manager, activities director, maintenance supervisor and public relations manager. This person holding this position supervises all park staff members, from maintenance crews to any wardens employed by the supervising authority. Those who become a park superintendent must be prepared to arrange schedules, organize individual responsibilities, and perform regular performance reviews.

In some cases, as with state or federal park superintendents, a system of parks within a certain region will need to be managed. This includes ensuring that safety and cleanliness are observed as well as the integrity of each park's natural resources. At this level, a small group of park rangers will be just under a park supervisor in the system's hierarchy, each being responsible for a different park or section of a park. A park superintendent may have to oversee several rangers and parks over a broad geographical area. Others oversee just one park, like Yosemite National Forest with its dozens of park rangers and maintenance workers.

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To become a park superintendent at a more local level, such as for a city or county government, entails similar duties. The parks in the system, however, are more likely to be more concentrated geographically. A city park supervisor will oversee the upkeep and employees at the parks within that city's borders. The same goes for a county parks superintendent, who may have a similar number of parks to oversee, but spread out across an entire county.

Obtaining an advanced degree in wildlife management, recreation management or even public administration will help anyone's chances of becoming a park superintendent. Others, however, work their way up through the ranks of a particular park system until attrition and hard work pay off. No matter how you become a park superintendent, you will need to have the wherewithal to manage and train workers with a range of abilities. One day you may be teaching a young worker how to operate a backhoe or riding mower, then hiring and training a community pool manager. The next day you could be corralling volunteers for a cultural performance, then checking in with construction workers handling a new park renovation.

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