Frequently Asked Questions (Law Enforcement Positions)
Is it dangerous?
As with all jobs involving law enforcement, there are components which could be considered dangerous. NPS rangers are the police force in a park and like any police force in America, deal with similar levels of danger. These jobs are located in areas where illegal and international smuggling activities take place in close proximity to the international border. Because of the location and terrain there are hazards present such as killer bees, snakes, scorpions, plants with stickers, or poison ivy and oak. These hazards and risks are taken into consideration where rangers work; it is not an office job.
What are the Training Opportunities?
A wide variety of training opportunities exist and ongoing regular refresher training is a part of the job. Some expectations include obtaining and maintaining certifications in various program areas, such as EMT, fire, and law enforcement. Each ranger must meet the annual firearms qualification and receive 40 hours of law enforcement training as well as taking the physical efficiency batter (PEB) or fitness test two times a year.
What is the Promotion Potential?The journeyman level for park rangers is currently the GL-09 level. Full performance in a non-supervisory position is also the GL-09 level.
Where are National Parks Located?
There are over 390 National Park Service sites around the nation and in the US territories. Go to nps.gov for more information.
What is FLETC?
Upon appointment, the recruit ranger will receive approximately 24 weeks of intensive training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Brunswick, Georgia. Upon graduation, the recruit ranger will receive on-the-job-training under the guidance of an experienced Field Training Officer. Total training time is 32 weeks.
What Shifts are Available?
Schedules vary depending on your assignment and location. Most rangers work a variety of day and night shifts as well as weekends and holidays. Depending on your assignment, the schedule could be regular and routine or varied and non-routine.
Are Uniforms Required?
Yes. A stipend is provided by the park to cover uniform costs.
Are Firearms Required?
Yes. Carrying a firearm while on duty is required. Weapons are provided by the park.
Is this Job Eligible for 20 Year Retirement?
Yes. Law enforcement positions are covered under 5 U.S.C. 8336(c) as primary law enforcement special retirement positions. Maximum entry and mandatory age separation requirements apply.
Is NPS a Military-style Organization?
National Park Service (NPS) is an organization based loosely on the para-military structure. It is not a strict military organization, but each park has a chief ranger, much like a chief of police.
Did You Know?
The Coati (Chulo in Spanish) is a member of the same family as the raccoon. Rare in the U.S., coatis can be found at Coronado National Memorial in southeastern Arizona. The coati is one of the few communal carnivores in the United States.