Park rangers work in national and state parks, and are responsible for protecting these areas and enforcing park rules and regulations. Those enrolled in park ranger educational and training programs learn about wildlife and botany, first aid and law enforcement. Applicants to a park ranger program also must be in good physical condition and prepared for fitness classes and tests.
Slippery Rock University
Slippery Rock University is located in Pennsylvania and offers an eight-month certificate training program for prospective park rangers. Applicants must be at least 20 years old and U.S. citizens. Additional requirements include a clear criminal history and drug-free status for at least three years. The program trains students in the use of firearms, driving patrol vehicles and handling disturbances. Students in the program also become certified in CPR and first aid. For students to graduate, they must complete a physical fitness test that involves running, agility, flexibility, body fat and bench press.
Located in Nelsonville, Ohio, Hocking University offers a park ranger training program through its National Ranger Training Institute (NRTI). The program requires students to complete 630 hours of academic coursework with field training, and graduates earn an occupational in ranger academy certificate. Topics covered in the curriculum include patrol operations, firearms, national park service, defense tactics, arrest techniques and search and seizure.
Northern Arizona University
Northern Arizona University offers a certificate of completion for prospective park rangers twice per year. Students in the program take courses in park protection, natural resources protection, and fitness and conditioning. In the courses, students learn about law enforcement, self-defense techniques, natural resource laws, native species and historical and archeology terms. The physical fitness course involves conditioning and weight training.
Red Rock Community College
Red Rock Community College is located in Arvada, Colorado and offers a park ranger technology (PRT) program. Students in the program learn how to protect parks, educate the public, use firearms, perform emergency rescue operations and advocate for wild lands. In addition to courses in natural resource management, outdoor leadership and law enforcement training, students also need to complete a park ranger internship program. Graduates of the program earn a PRT certificate of completion.
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