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Old 09-17-2013, 10:19 AM   #1
HappyHiker
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Becoming a Ranger

My 17 year old son and I spent 5 days in the high peaks. We talked to a ranger or Asst Ranger every night. He does not want to work in a office. He wants a job outdoors. He would love to have a job as a ranger. He had stars in his eyes when he was talking to Sean at Lake Colden.

Are these jobs available for people downstate or do the go to father and son or people in the know or local people?

You know what I mean. Like it is impossible to become a Maine lobsterman unless you get the job from your dad.

Just wondering...
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Old 09-17-2013, 10:52 AM   #2
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Ranger

http://www.cs.ny.gov/examannouncements/types/oc/

Hope this helps
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Old 09-17-2013, 11:11 AM   #3
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Just wondering...
Did he ask this same question of the Rangers he talked to? How did they get the job? That would be the best imaginable source for information. Just wondering.

Here is the realism from what I have heard...
I do understand that (especially these days), becoming a ranger is an extremely competitive and difficult process. It would have nothing to do with "who you are", but does have to do with understanding the application and education prerequisites, working hard, and having an aptitude and intelligence and skills to do well in studies and training.

A couple of years ago a ranger told me that the normal number of rangers in the state is 104, but they were down to about 80 at that point, with no indication that more were in the pipeline. Two years ago due to budget cuts the DEC suspended the Assistant Ranger program completely, but brought it back a year later.

It has been a while since the DEC has had a class. But I understand that there is a ranger academy class currently underway, or maybe just completed by now. Just like with new troopers, new rangers can expect their first assignment to be in less than glamorous locations, likely downstate. The most coveted positions in wilderness areas can take a long time to get, and go by senority.
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Old 09-17-2013, 11:25 AM   #4
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Not to discourage your son's plans but there are also many other jobs in conservation besides enforcement (which is what rangers do).

Technicians, foresters, ecologists all may have jobs that involve field work.
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Old 09-17-2013, 12:55 PM   #5
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Not to discourage your son's plans but there are also many other jobs in conservation besides enforcement (which is what rangers do).

Technicians, foresters, ecologists all may have jobs that involve field work.
We are going to have to look into these too. He just wants to work outside in the woods. He loves science and ecology.
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Old 09-17-2013, 01:01 PM   #6
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food for thought..

http://www.adirondackalmanack.com/20...tml#more-38466
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Old 09-17-2013, 01:04 PM   #7
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We can accept the normal competitive process. That is fine and just! It is those other processes in life that can be hard to deal with.

Thanks for the info that people have posted. I will have to start reading up. I think it is good to have a goal for a kid. Gives them focus.

I told him we are going to have to start hiking in the winter. He asked why and I replied that if someone needs to be rescued when it is 10 degrees you can not wait for it to warm up before going out to find them. He is now up for hiking this winter. Harriman park here we come in January.
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Old 09-17-2013, 01:08 PM   #8
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Thats perfect I was looking for something just like that.
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Old 09-17-2013, 01:09 PM   #9
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This is a good thing. He may wind up enjoying being out in winter more than summer. I know I do. No bugs. No mud. Easier to see. Easier to regulate your temperature. It has it's advantages.
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Old 09-17-2013, 01:17 PM   #10
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As a career choice, I've always suspected that being a ranger is less glamorous than it appears. Many of the AFRs that you see in the Adirondacks are seasonal DEC employees, for instance. They need to seek alternate employment over the winter. The full-time DEC rangers are more administrators than trail patrollers, called out when there is an emergency, but not necessarily on the trail on a daily basis.

Last year I spent time at a national park where I had a chance to listen to the Park Service rangers talking off-the-cuff to each other, which was interesting. Usually when you talk to a park ranger you get their public persona, but listening them talk to each other I heard civil servants discussing the problems of being a civil servant. This particular national park (Isle Royale) closed down completely for the winter, so all of the younger rangers were simply bouncing around from assignment to assignment, looking at the NPS job postings and hoping to get something good for the winter. One guy was from Colorado, found Michigan to be only mildly interesting, dreamed of working in Denali, but feared getting stuck behind a desk at a visitor center somewhere because it was the only position available.

Remember, the majority of the rangers that you will ever meet across the country are NOT out hiking and camping as a full-time job. They are sitting behind a desk handing out Leave No Trace brochures to people applying for permits, waiting for that dream opportunity to come along.
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Old 09-17-2013, 01:22 PM   #11
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I went through the process 20 + years ago. My test score placed me 26th on the list and I was canvas in the first round. The process from there took about 6 months. I had to go to the DEC office closest to my home for a length interview with 3 or 4 DEC official, had a background investigation. They interview my wife and family. At the same time I had to hit the gym to prepare for the agility test, running, lifting and such. Then it was off to Albany I made at least two trips, once to the NYS. Police Academy and once to the DOC Academy on New Scotland Rd for the Physical portion. Once you pass this the last hurdle will be the medical exam. We were called back and told the class had been funded and once we past our medical exam we would be receiving our notice and would be starting in a month or so. I was in, a dream job that I had wanted since I was a kid. Than came the eye exam, I failed and that was that. All that time and effort by both myself and the state had been a waste. I was lucky I was soon offered a position as a Federal LEO, which does not have an eye requirement. I make more money, have better benefits and hours, and have been to places in this country that I never would have gotten to otherwise. But still given the chance I would trade that in a heartbeat to take the ECO job.

So tell your son to put himself in the best position possible, do well in college, take the appropriate corse work and when the chance comes jump. These are Civil Service jobs and he has as good a chance has anybody else. I wish him luck it can be a rewarding career.

Last edited by WBB; 09-17-2013 at 01:25 PM.. Reason: typo
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Old 09-17-2013, 01:23 PM   #12
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He should get very familiar with the complete set of NYSDEC web pages. Click here for employment info page. Consider an internship job, and look into applying for an assistant ranger position - at least to get familiar with the process, regardless if he gets accepted. Volunteer for whatever he can that associates him with the DEC and outdoors. He needs to get beyond even the questioning of going out in tough conditions (such as hiking in winter), and to embrace such things.

If you are close (or not) to a volunteer SAR team, when he is 18 he can join them. One makes a lot of ranger contacts as an active SAR member, and are eligible for a number of very relevant training courses taught by rangers and EMS, most for free.
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Old 09-17-2013, 01:26 PM   #13
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Bill you bring up a good point, and I don't ever want to discourage a young person from pursuing their dreams but...

If I have learned one thing in my life is that try not to let your hobby become your job... it works for some people maybe but eventually it just becomes a job and some of the fun leaves. Sometimes it is due to extra BS you have to deal with in the job, sometimes it is just the fact that you can't do it when YOU want, and you have to do it based on someone else's schedule.

I'm not saying don't love what you do, but for I'd rank it down a bit...
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Old 09-17-2013, 02:20 PM   #14
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We are currently trying to figure out what would be best for him to volunteer for here.

Things are kind of limited in Seaford, New York on Long Island. There is the fire department for the EMT thing. There is a junior police thing which I am not even sure what it is. All the kids that want to be cops do it.

I may join the NY NJ trail conference and so we can do some trail work for that experience.

There maybe park ranger stuff at Jones beach. We will look into that too.
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Old 09-17-2013, 02:28 PM   #15
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Things are kind of limited in Seaford, New York on Long Island.... We are currently trying to figure out what would be best for him to volunteer for here.
http://www.longislandsearchandrescue...dinjoining.htm
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Old 09-17-2013, 03:18 PM   #16
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I am in complete shock. I mean real shock. I never dreamed Long Island would have SAR. I would bet most of the work is in suffolk.

It cracks me up that the featured product is a tick key!
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Old 09-17-2013, 03:39 PM   #17
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If he's interested in working and being in the woods have him check out The Ranger School for his college.
http://www.esf.edu/rangerschool/
It's a great school and great experience going there. If you or him have any questions I'll do my best to help, I'm sure things have changed since I went there in 2001.

Tank
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Old 09-17-2013, 04:30 PM   #18
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If he's interested in working and being in the woods have him check out The Ranger School for his college.
http://www.esf.edu/rangerschool/
It's a great school and great experience going there. If you or him have any questions I'll do my best to help, I'm sure things have changed since I went there in 2001.

Tank
We found that. He will be going to community college when he graduates. But that is something to keep our eye on. We need to find out what courses he would need to go there.
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Old 09-17-2013, 07:19 PM   #19
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My nephew graduated in 2009 from the Ranger School at Wanakena. He decided not to pursue the ranger career path as the job is so office oriented and there is relatively little time spent outdoors.

His future wife graduated from the same school in 2009. Both now work outdoors; he as a forest tech for NiMo and she as a forest surveyor. They do live in the Adirondacks.

Look very hard at what being a Ranger entails. When you are outside the majority of your work is people oriented. If you need solitude in the woods, it might not be for you. My nephew wanted to be with trees and alone.

Last edited by yellowcanoe; 09-18-2013 at 11:18 AM..
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Old 09-18-2013, 10:25 AM   #20
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Other N.Y.S. Careers

FYI, there are other career paths within N.Y.S. also. Most require a 2 year (technician level), or 4 year (entry-professional level) college degree. If you look at the New York State Civil Service announcements for: Ranger, Forest Technician, Forester, Biologist, Park Manager, Park Supervisor,etc... you will see a list of college courses that are required in order to take the examination.

Also, there are other N.Y.S. Agencies besides the DEC that offer environmental careers. For example, the N.Y.S. Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has positions at State Parks and Historic Sites.
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