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Career and Education Opportunities for Park Rangers in Seattle, Washington

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for park rangers in the Seattle, Washington area. There are currently 940 working park rangers in Washington; this should grow by 9% to 1,020 working park rangers in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for park rangers are expected to grow by about 11.9%. 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 earn about $29 per hour or $60,510 per year on average in Washington and about $28 hourly or $58,720 annually on average nationally. Compared with people working in the overall category of Life Sciences, people working as park rangers in Washington earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Life Sciences nationally. People working as park rangers can fill a number of jobs, such as: environmental educator, park naturalist, and park warden.

The Seattle area is home to sixty-five schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Seattle where you can get a degree as a park ranger. Park rangers usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so it will take about four years to learn to be a park ranger if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Park Ranger

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 Seattle include:

  • Biologist. Research or study basic principles of plant and animal life, such as origin, relationship, and functions.
  • Epidemiologist. Investigate and describe the determinants and distribution of disease, disability, and other health outcomes and develop the means for prevention and control.
  • 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.
  • 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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Park Ranger Training

University of Washington-Seattle Campus - Seattle, WA

University of Washington-Seattle Campus, 1400 NE Campus Parkway, Seattle, WA 98195-4550. University of Washington-Seattle Campus is a large university located in Seattle, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 39,675 students and an admission rate of 61%. University of Washington-Seattle Campus has 4 areas of study related to Park Ranger. They are:

  • Forestry, master's degree and doctor's degree which graduated thirty and thirteen students respectively in 2008.
  • Forest Management/Forest Resources Management, master's degree which graduated 2 students in 2008.
  • Forestry, Other Specialties, master's degree which graduated 2 students in 2008.
  • Wildlife and Wildlands Science and Management, bachelor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.

Green River Community College - Auburn, WA

Green River Community College, 12401 SE 320th St, Auburn, WA 98092-3622. Green River Community College is a medium sized college located in Auburn, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,544 students. Green River Community College has an associate's degree program in Water, Wetlands, and Marine Resources Management which graduated two students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

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.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington
Seattle, Washington photo by Dschwen

Seattle is located in King County, Washington. It has a population of over 598,541, which has grown by 6.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Seattle, 126, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Seattle are valued at $206,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, five hundred ninety-five new homes were built in Seattle, down from seven hundred seventy-five the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Seattle are health care, professional, scientific, and technical services, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 47.2% of Seattle residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Seattle is 7.8%, which is less than Washington's average of 8.7%.

The percentage of Seattle residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Seattle is home to the Berth 5 and the Akli Point Lighthouse as well as Lincoln Park and Myrtle Edwards Park. Shopping centers in the area include Lake City Shopping Center, Westwood Village Shopping Center and Oak Tree Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Seattle can choose from A-1 Motel, Arlington Suites and Marriott Sea-Tac Airport for temporary stays in the area.