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Career and Education Opportunities for Park Rangers in Vancouver, Washington

Park ranger career and educational opportunities abound in Vancouver, Washington. Currently, 940 people work as park rangers in Washington. This is expected to grow 9% to 1,020 people 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 hourly or $60,510 per year on average in Washington and about $28 hourly or $58,720 yearly on average nationally. Park rangers earn less than people working in the category of Life Sciences generally in Washington and less than people in the Life Sciences category nationally. People working as park rangers can fill a number of jobs, such as: interpretive naturalist, parks and recreation manager, and park naturalist.

The Vancouver area is home to forty-eight schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Vancouver where you can get a degree as a park ranger. The most common level of education for park rangers is a Bachelor's degree. You can expect to spend about four years studying 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 Vancouver include:

  • Biologist. Research or study basic principles of plant and animal life, such as origin, relationship, and functions.
  • 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.
  • 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.


Mt Hood Community College - Gresham, OR

Mt Hood Community College, 26000 SE Stark St, Gresham, OR 97030. Mt Hood Community College is a medium sized college located in Gresham, Oregon. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,251 students. Mt Hood Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Natural Resources/Conservation which graduated zero and six students respectively in 2008.

Portland State University - Portland, OR

Portland State University, 724 SW Harrison, Portland, OR 97201. Portland State University is a large university located in Portland, Oregon. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 25,959 students and an admission rate of 80%. Portland State University has a master's degree program in Natural Resources/Conservation which graduated two students 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.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Vancouver, Washington

Vancouver, Washington
Vancouver, Washington photo by Matthiasb

Vancouver is located in Clark County, Washington. It has a population of over 163,186, which has grown by 13.7% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Vancouver, 98, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Vancouver are priced at $95,700 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, two hundred eighty new homes were built in Vancouver, down from four hundred twenty the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Vancouver are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, computer and electronic products, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 21.7% of Vancouver residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.4%, is lower than the state average.

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

The percentage of Vancouver residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 27.9%, is less than both the national and state average. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Vancouver is home to the Vancouver Square and the Vancouver Plaza as well as Leverich Park and Wintler Park. Shopping malls in the area include Arbours Shopping Center, Millport Shopping Center and Vancouver Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Vancouver can choose from Comfort Suites Vancouver, Homewood Suites Portland-Vancouver and Best Western Hotel and Suites Vacouver Mall Dr for temporary stays in the area.