Without forest rangers, who will be in the front line to protect forests and wildlife habitats? The importance of forest rangers in protecting and maintaining the safety of forests shouldn’t be underestimated; actually, this job deserves more appreciation and attention from everyone. This article will show you exactly all the steps and what you need to prepare to become a professional forest ranger.
The Benefits Of Becoming A Forest Ranger
Even though it’s a relatively harsh job compared to many other jobs, working as a forest ranger still brings a lot of benefits. These benefits are even more obvious for nature lovers or those with majors in botany, zoology, geology, or hydrology.
By becoming a forest ranger, you will spend the vast majority of your time in nature. Daily patrols and constant research are part of the forest rangers’ responsibilities. Those are the opportunities for you to explore the area by yourself and get the chance to collect actual data on whatever aspect you want. The flora and fauna, as well as the geology you work in change greatly by region, so your research work will not be limited.
Not only through research and data, but by becoming a forest ranger, you can actually contribute directly to the protection of nature through action. As a forest ranger, you’re the one who enforces laws related to forest management, ensuring that forests are healthy and sustainable. Besides, you will also be the key force in protecting wildlife, natural resources, and habitats, as well as maintaining public safety in other nearby outdoor areas. If you’re striving to become someone who can make a huge difference to society by protecting nature, then forest ranger is the perfect career for you.
Forest Ranger Requirements
Such a sacred job obviously requires some effort. Here are some requirements that you need to meet in order to open this career door.
- Physical health: Not to mention the harsh weather and working environment, just patrolling every day can take a lot of energy. You will have to do a lot of physical work, so you should start working on your physical health now if you want to work as a forest ranger.
- Fire prevention/fighting skills: One of the main responsibilities of forest rangers is to prevent forest fires and carry out fire fighting when necessary. Therefore, it’s a must for you to have knowledge of fire prevention/fighting as well as how to use fire fighting equipment.
- Communication skill: Of course, you won’t work alone, and in order to do the job effectively, communication is key. You will need to coordinate with coworkers and local communities, and even talk to illegal hunters/exploiters in order to protect and maintain order in the forest and its surroundings.
- Firearm knowledge: Working as a forest ranger is fun, but indeed dangerous at the same time. You may have to face life-threatening situations such as being attacked by wild animals or criminals. Knowing how to use and maintain firearms is a vital skill that every forest ranger needs to master in order to ensure their safety while on duty.
- Survival skills: Forest rangers often need to go on long patrols to remote locations, therefore they have to spend most of their time living in improper living conditions. In these situations, survival skills will be a great help to protect forest rangers against dangers from the outside.
How To Become a Forest Ranger
Between 2020-2030, the demand for forest rangers is projected to increase by about 10%, meaning the career doors are now wide open if you want to work in the field. Depending on the region, the process and requirements for becoming a forest ranger may vary. However, in general, it consists of 3 main steps with different requirements:
Get A Bachelor’s Degree
This career consists of different job duties, and there are indeed some entry-level duties that do not require a bachelor’s degree. However, if you want to be a full-time professional, you need to complete your bachelor’s degree in nature-related subjects such as botany, zoology, animal husbandry, or conservation.
Studying science subjects like veterinary science, environmental science, chemistry, physics, or statistics is also a plus. Knowledge about these subjects also benefits the job of forest rangers. The higher your achievements, the greater your competitive advantage, especially in the competition for a position in the government.
Take A Forest Ranger Exam
Having a bachelor’s degree is a requirement in order to become a professional forest ranger, but it’s not the ultimate ticket. In most countries, candidates also have to take forest ranger exams to be eligible for joining the force.
These examinations may be different by country, but they’re all for the same purpose of screening potential candidates. Candidates will be examined on various topics, from general ones such as history, economic and social development, etc. to specific topics of interest to the candidates.
After the main exam, there’ll usually be an interview where candidates are tested further on skills and abilities related to communication, leadership capacity, etc. These are all important traits that make a good forest ranger.
Complete Required Training Courses
Once you pass the exam/interview, you’re halfway to becoming a forest ranger. Passing the exam doesn’t make you a professional, just yet. Knowledge on paper is far from real-life situations. That’s why you’re required to take special training courses in order to gain more practical experience.
These training courses last about 20 weeks or more depending on the region. Candidates are usually trained in soil conservation, forest management, and wildlife management, and then spend about a year of field training before being promoted and working as an actual forest ranger.
The career is indeed a complex profession, requiring a lot of work. That’s why in order to become a forest ranger, applicants need not only knowledge but also many other characteristics and related skills. If you feel like this job and it is ideal for you, then above is our guide on how to become a forest ranger. Give it a try and become one of those heroes out there who are fighting every day to protect Mother Nature.