How to become a Park Ranger

Park rangers control, supervise and manage national parks, scenic areas, historic sites, nature reserves and other recreational areas.

Personal requirements of a Park Ranger

  • Able to make accurate observations and recordings
  • Good communication skills
  • Able to organise and supervise work
  • Enjoy dealing with people
  • Able to handle animals with confidence and patience
  • Interested in land management and natural conservation
  • Enjoy science
  • Enjoy working outdoors in all weather conditions
  • Able to endure isolation and limited social contact
  • Mechanical aptitude
  • Willing to fly in light aircraft
  • Willing to be involved in incident management duties
  • A full unrestricted manual vehicle drivers licence

Education & Training for a Park Ranger

You can work as a park ranger without formal qualifications. You will probably get some informal training on the job. Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have qualifications and/or work experience. You may like to consider a VET qualification in conservation and land management or lands, parks and wildlife. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. You can also become a park ranger through a traineeship in Conservation and Land Management or Lands, Parks and Wildlife. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10. For more details, see Section 2. Ask your career adviser about the possibility of starting some of this training in school. Alternatively, you can become a park ranger by completing a degree at university in a relevant discipline such as botany, environmental science, environmental management or geography. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics, chemistry and physics are normally required. Most universities in Australia offer degrees in these areas. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.

Duties & Tasks of a Park Ranger

Park rangers may perform the following tasks:

  • assist with guided tours and promote an understanding and appreciation of the natural and cultural features of the park
  • supervise public visits and inform visitors about park facilities, advising of park rules and regulations, and enforcing these when necessary
  • direct parking, control traffic and collect fees from campers and visitors
  • patrol waterways, roads and tracks to observe and report on the park environment, including the condition of animals and plants
  • ensure endangered animals and plants are protected, and assist with related research projects
  • ensure parks, park facilities and equipment are clean and properly maintained
  • assist with the development of visitor facilities
  • assist with wildlife management projects, including surveys and monitoring of wildlife
  • participate in search and rescue operations
  • supervise and coordinate fire management, weed eradication and pest-control programs
  • investigate and report to supervisors on matters relating to park management
  • support local communities in protecting their cultural heritage and in developing sustainable land management practices
  • conduct research into the protection and recording of Indigenous and historical sites
  • supervise and train park staff and volunteers, and oversee crews of general maintenance workers and contractors
  • undertake administrative and clerical duties
  • prepare, review and implement reports, submissions, management plans, development proposals and environmental impact assessments.

Working conditions for a Park Ranger

Park rangers work in many environments, such as snow fields, rainforests, coastal regions and semi-arid areas. They may be required to work in remote areas and move from park to park. All rangers have contact with the public. Park rangers often work on weekends and public holidays.

Employment Opportunities for a Park Ranger

Park rangers are mainly employed by government agencies. Competition for positions is strong, and employers usually require applicants to have some park or nature-orientated experience. Some park rangers move between states and into forest officer, fisheries officer or land protection officer positions. Opportunities may also be available to work as conservation officers with local councils. With experience, and sometimes further training, park rangers may progress to professional science positions or general management.

Specialisations:


Indigenous Park Ranger

An indigenous park ranger manages areas of parkland and their usage through their knowledge of Indigenous culture and heritage, often working with Indigenous communities to identify and protect sites of special significance.

Additional Information
Once employed, rangers often receive training in wildlife handling, fire management, weed eradication, pest control and enforcement.
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