Become A Law Enforcement Ranger

Rangers Rosileen Ferioli and Heather Hamilton, Trainee Nathan Edgerton, and Ranger Brandon Higgins
Rangers Rosileen Ferioli and Heather Hamilton, Trainee Nathan Edgerton, and Ranger Brandon Higgins

Protect people, parks, and our shared heritage.

Law enforcement is a rewarding profession. Combine it with some of America's most amazing views, historically significant places and rich cultures and you have a fulfilling and noble career. The National Park Service (NPS) is looking for its next generation of law enforcement rangers – those trusted to protect the country's most precious resources.

We're proud that our law enforcement rangers come from all walks of life and cultures. Whether you're a veteran, a student, bilingual, or just looking for a meaningful career, there's a path to employment for you.

Learn about our training and employment process

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Series of posters for law enforcement recruitment showing profiles of of people in park scenes and ranger hats

The National Park Service is actively recruiting for new law enforcement rangers to join our team! Prior attendance of a Park Ranger Law Enforcement Academy (PRLEA, also known as “Seasonal Academy”) is not a prerequisite for consideration. Prior NPS experience is not required. Jobs will be posted approximately 3 times each year, for multiple locations across the service.

Are you or someone you know:

If so, you could be a good candidate for this opportunity! We also advertise announcements open to the public, and U.S. military veterans receive preference. Learn more about Veteran’s Preference in federal hiring.

Frequently Asked Questions About Changes to NPS Law Enforcement Hiring Initiative

One of tour goals is to prioritize recruitment of applicants who are underrepresented in our law enforcement workforce, including women and diverse candidates. “Diversity” in this context is used to describe individuals from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds, as well as gender, sexual orientation, and those with certain disabilities.

Learn more about the policies which support this effort. We are doing focused outreach in an effort to encourage highly qualified, diverse candidates to apply for these positions. Hiring decisions will not be made on the basis of any protected class.
Yes, candidates who successfully complete training will be fully commissioned federal law enforcement officers in the National Park Service. They will be required to carry a gun, make arrests, conduct investigations, and perform all the other duties incumbent upon the job.
Learn more about the benefits of working for the federal government. Starting salary is dependent on what grade level you are hired at (GL-5, 7, or 9). The full performance level of these positions is a GL-9. Exact rates may vary by location. View law enforcement pay tables.
Any park with a law enforcement vacancy can participate in the group advertisement. Applicants can select the locations they are interested in working at during the application process.
The National Park Service advertises these positions through multiple competitive authorities, including postings for current federal employees, current students and recent graduates (within 2 years), Land-Management Workforce Flexibility Act eligibles, and all US citizens. Veteran’s Preference will be utilized as applicable. All postings will be searchable on
Resume review teams and interview panels will be comprised of subject-matter experts, including current National Park Service law enforcement specialists, field rangers, and supervisors.

The hiring team will work with candidates and parks on placement to ensure the best possible fit for both.
Selected candidates will attend training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, Georgia. Completion of Ranger-Specific Basic Training (RSBT) and Land Management Police Training (LMPT) are expected to take 17 weeks. Completion of the Field Training and Evaluation Program (FTEP) is a mandatory next step and takes approximately 11 weeks, not including travel time. FTEP may or may not occur at the candidate’s employing park.

Training occurs on site at FLETC and students are housed in dormitories or hotels at no cost to the trainee. Students are employed and paid by their park while attending training.
For the purposes of this initiative, if you are eligible for an existing hiring flexibility (such as Veterans Recruitment Authority or Schedule A) the National Park Service may elect to non-competitively place you in one of the available law enforcement positions.

NOTE: Land Management Workforce Flexibility Act and most Pathways applicants are still required to compete, and will need to apply through USAjobs.
If you are applying to a USAjobs announcement, requirements for consideration will be thoroughly detailed in the job postings. Be sure to read through them carefully and ensure that your application package contains any necessary supporting materials.

Applicants being considered during the final interview stage will be required to complete pre-employment screening, including a background investigation, physical fitness test, drug screen, and medical evaluation. Applicants may be required to complete psychological testing. If you are unable to pass one of these requirements you will not receive further employment consideration.
Being a US law enforcement park ranger is a physically demanding job that requires a high level of fitness and other physical performance requirements. Additionally, it can be mentally, emotionally, and psychologically challenging. A non-disqualifying disability is one that still allows you to perform the essential functions of the job with little to no assistance. Prospective rangers must be able to pass a fitness test and medical exam prior to employment.

Learn more about the Physical Efficiency Battery (PEB) (PEB).

Prior to employment you will be required to pass the PEB with a score of 25% or higher in the Bench Press, 1.5 Mile Run, and the Illinois Agility Run. You will be required to participate in the Body Composition and Sit and Reach tests.

Look up required scores for your age and gender.

Learn more about the Medical Standards Program.

Learn more about FLETC Physical Performance Requirements (PPRs).

Reference Ranger-Specific Basic Training and Land Management Police Training.
Yes, current and previous NPS seasonal employees and those who have attended a PRLEA are strongly encouraged to apply.
This is a primary position covered by enhanced retirement provisions which stipulate mandatory retirement at age 57 after 20 years of service. Applicants must be at least 21 years of age, and must not have reached their 37th birthday upon appointment to this position. Two exceptions are allowed:

An applicant has prior Federal service in a primary covered position sufficient to complete 20 years of service on or before the mandatory retirement age of 57;

An applicant is a qualified veterans' preference eligible, in which case the MEA is waived and their corresponding retirement age may be higher than 57 after completing 20 years of service.

Find Opportunities Designed for Veterans

John's career with the NPS started after nine years as a Marine. He grew up going to the parks with his parents and continued his love for the outdoors into adulthood, when he served as a climbing instructor and rafting guide. Learn about opportunities for veterans.

Become a Part of a Workforce that Values Diversity

Just as each park is unique, so are the different backgrounds and cultures that make up our law enforcement rangers. Our rangers serve in parks across the country, including parks in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The NPS embraces the diversity of America's people and is committed to building and maintaining a workforce that draws from all segments of our society. Learn about efforts to encourage diversity

Start Learning in a Seasonal Training Program

If you ask an NPS law enforcement ranger what he or she likes best about their career, you will most likely hear that every day is different, which makes going to work exciting and challenging. Learn about seasonal training programs.

Last updated: July 1, 2022