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Career and Education Opportunities for Park Rangers in Columbia, Missouri

Park rangers can find many career and educational opportunities in the Columbia, Missouri area. The national trend for park rangers sees this job pool growing by about 11.9% over the next eight years. Park rangers generally plan, develop, and conduct programs to inform public of historical, natural, and scientific features of national, state, or local park.

Income for park rangers is about $22 per hour or $47,000 annually on average in Missouri. Nationally, their income is about $28 per hour or $58,720 annually. Park rangers earn less than people working in the category of Life Sciences generally in Missouri and less than people in the Life Sciences category nationally. People working as park rangers can fill a number of jobs, such as: park activities coordinator, park interpretive specialist, and program manager.

There are thirteen schools of higher education in the Columbia area, including one within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can get a degree to start your career as a park ranger. The most common level of education for park rangers is a Bachelor's degree. It will take about four years to learn to be a park ranger if you already have a high school diploma.


In general, park rangers plan, develop, and conduct programs to inform public of historical, natural, and scientific features of national, state, or local park.

Park rangers conduct field trips to point out scientific and natural features of parks, forests, historic sites or other attractions. They also ready and present illustrated lectures about park features. Equally important, park rangers have to furnish visitor services by explaining regulations; answering visitor requests, needs and complaints; and providing data related to a park and surrounding areas. They are often called upon to assist with operations of general facilities. They are expected to compile and maintain official park photographic and data files. Finally, park rangers research stories regarding an area's natural history or environment.

Every day, park rangers are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they speak clearly.

It is important for park rangers to interview specialists in desired fields to obtain and design data for park data programs. They are often called upon to perform routine maintenance on park structures. They also perform emergency duties to safeguard human life and natural features of park. They are sometimes expected to formulate and design audiovisual devices for public programs. Somewhat less frequently, park rangers are also expected to ready brochures and write newspaper articles.

Park rangers sometimes are asked to talk with park staff to establish subjects and schedules for park programs. They also have to be able to take photographs and motion pictures for use in lectures and publications and to evolve displays and research stories regarding an area's natural history or environment. And finally, they sometimes have to ready and present illustrated lectures about park features.

Like many other jobs, park rangers must believe in an agile approach to problem solving and deal with change and believe in cooperation and coordination.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Columbia include:

  • Archaeologist. Conduct research to reconstruct record of past human life and culture from human remains, artifacts, and structures recovered through excavation, underwater recovery, or other means of discovery.
  • Biologist. Research or study basic principles of plant and animal life, such as origin, relationship, and functions.
  • Food Technologist. Use chemistry, microbiology, and other sciences to study the principles underlying the processing and deterioration of foods; analyze food content to determine levels of vitamins, fat, and protein; discover new food sources; research ways to make processed foods safe, palatable, and healthful; and apply food science knowledge to determine best ways to process, package, and distribute food.
  • Forester. Manage forested lands for economic, recreational, and conservation purposes. May inventory the type, amount, and location of standing timber, appraise the timber's worth, negotiate the purchase, and draw up contracts for procurement. May determine how to conserve wildlife habitats, creek beds, and soil stability, and how best to comply with environmental regulations. May devise plans for planting and growing new trees, monitor trees for healthy growth, and determine the best time for harvesting. Develop forest management plans for public and privately-owned forested lands.
  • Historian. Research, analyze, and interpret the past as recorded in sources, such as government and institutional records, newspapers and other periodicals, photographs, and unpublished manuscripts, such as personal diaries and letters.
  • Medical Scientist. Conduct research dealing with the understanding of human diseases and the improvement of human health. Engage in clinical investigation or other research, production, or related activities.
  • Microbiologist. Investigate the growth, structure, and other characteristics of microscopic organisms, such as bacteria, algae, or fungi. Includes medical microbiologists who study the relationship between organisms and disease or the effects of antibiotics on microorganisms.
  • Natural Resource Manager. Research or study range land management practices to provide sustained production of forage, livestock, and wildlife.
  • Scientist. Study the chemical composition and physical principles of living cells and organisms, their electrical and mechanical energy, and related phenomena. May conduct research to further understanding of the complex chemical combinations and reactions involved in metabolism, reproduction, and heredity. May determine the effects of foods, drugs, and other substances on tissues and vital processes of living organisms.
  • Soil Conservation Technician. Plan and develop coordinated practices for soil erosion control, soil and water conservation, and sound land use.
  • Soil Scientist. Conduct research in breeding, physiology, and management of crops and agricultural plants, their growth in soils, and control of pests; or study the chemical, physical, and mineralogical composition of soils as they relate to plant or crop growth. May classify and map soils and investigate effects of alternative practices on soil and crop productivity.
  • Zoologist. Study the origins, behavior, and life processes of animals and wildlife. May specialize in wildlife research and management, including the collection and analysis of biological data to determine the environmental effects of present and potential use of land and water areas.


University of Missouri-Columbia - Columbia, MO

University of Missouri-Columbia, 105 Jesse Hall, Columbia, MO 65211. University of Missouri-Columbia is a large university located in Columbia, Missouri. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 30,130 students and an admission rate of 85%. University of Missouri-Columbia has 2 areas of study related to Park Ranger. They are:

  • Natural Resources/Conservation, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated thirty-nine, five, and five students respectively in 2008.
  • Forestry, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated thirty-one, three, and two students respectively in 2008.


Accredited Agricultural Consultant: The Accredited Agricultural Consultant (AAC) designation was developed and first offered by the ASFMRA in 1997.

For more information, see the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers website.

Arborist / Municipal Specialist: This credential was developed by the ISA and the Society of Municipal Arboriculture for those involved in managing the complex aspect of trees in an urban environment.

For more information, see the International Society of Arboriculture website.

Erosion and Sediment Control Certification: This certification program was designed for engineering technicians engaged in all phases of erosion and sediment control work.

For more information, see the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies website.


Columbia, Missouri
Columbia, Missouri photo by Grey_Wanderer

Columbia is situated in Boone County, Missouri. It has a population of over 100,733, which has grown by 19.2% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Columbia, 85, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Columbia are valued at $171,800 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, three hundred thirty-five new homes were constructed in Columbia, down from six hundred fifty-three the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is educational services, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 15 minutes. More than 50.5% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 24.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Columbia is 6.8%, which is less than Missouri's average of 8.9%.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 40.9%, is less than both the national and state average. Sugar Grove Church, Fairview Church and Emmanuel Church are among the churches located in Columbia. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

Columbia is home to the Columbia Country Club and the Columbia Plaza as well as Nickell Park and Stephens Park. Shopping centers in the area include Whitegate Shopping Center, North County Shopping Center and Biscayne Mall. Visitors to Columbia can choose from Churchill's, Columbia Super 8 Motel and Arrow Head Motel LLC for temporary stays in the area.