This month we are jumping right back into our spotlight series! As previously covered in an earlier blog, searching the USAjobs website can get confusing. There are hundreds of jobs out there and their job titles might not sound anything like what the position actually entails. Even though you now know how to search for jobs according to their series and grade, you might be thrown off by the jobs that your search comes up with. I am going to be spotlighting specific starter positions within our public lands that you might not necessarily think to apply to. However, these are jobs that you should be applying to, as they offer an excellent foot into the door in the forestry field. This month’s spotlight is on the ever-famous Interpretive Park Ranger job. These are the people you see giving ranger programs and in the visitor centers. You will see these positions listed as Interp, Park Ranger Interp or Park Ranger (I) on USAjobs. It is similar to the education ranger, but there are some differences (NEVER confuse the two, you are likely to deeply offend the ranger). Special thanks to Rangers Ben and Darcy from Zion National Park for helping us out with this month’s spotlight!
The Job: Interpretive Park Ranger
The Location: Pretty much every public land will have this job, although sometimes in limited capacities.
The Schedule: The schedules rotate and hours vary from early in the morning to late at night. You do work holidays and weekends. It is a 5/4/9 schedule similar to that we covered in the Visitor Use Assistant Blog.
Experience Required: The experience required can really vary, but it is mostly working with people. They have use for people with many different types of degrees from history to natural sciences, geology, etc..
The Duties: Developing and presenting ranger programs, patio talks, guided hikes, shuttle tours, cave tours etc… Staffing visitor center desks and helping visitors plan their trips. Answering general information phones and emails etc.. Creating interpretive products such as signs and guides. All of this has the bigger goal of connecting people to the parks and the world around them, so they work towards making the world a better place and they realize they are a part of something bigger than themselves.
This job is for you if: You like people. You like being outside. If you care about your park, animals, environment etc… and can/want to communicate that passion. If you don’t mind bringing work home with you.
This job is not for you if: You don’t like public speaking or if you don’t enjoy interacting with others. Introverts should approach this job with caution.
The most frustrating part of the job: Working hard on a ranger program and having people who show up who just don’t care. Seeing people willfully disconnect from the resource.
The most rewarding part of the job: When you are talking to people about the resource and you see the light go off and they just get it. When you see people connecting to it. The view from the office ain’t bad. Swearing in Junior Rangers can be fun as well.