How Do I Become a Tennessee State Park Ranger?


There are two main requirements to become a Park Ranger, Interpretive Specialist, or Park Manager.

1.) You must be 21 years of age.

2.) You must hold a bachelor's degree (4 year).

Once these two requirements are met. You can apply for a position on the Tennessee Department of Human Resources website.

You must create an account and you can then begin to fill out your application. Click on the link below to get started.

Department of Human Resources Website

You can see what positions are open by checking these next two links. If you have already filled out your application you can click on "Apply" to apply for any opening you qualify for.
  • Current Openings - A listing of Career Service jobs open to all qualified applicants.
  • Promotional Openings - A listing of promotional opportunities open only to a specified group of Career Service employees.

You can also set up your account to receive emails when positions come open.

These lists are for all state positions.  You will have to search to find the park ranger/interpretive specialist/park manager positions.  There may or may not be park positions open at the time you do your search. If you do not find any, try again at a later date.

If you are not familiar with the duties or benefits of being a park ranger/park manager you can follow these two links to review them:

Park Ranger

Park Manager

Your application will be evaluated to determine whether you meet the minimum qualifications (e.g., education, experience) required for the job. If you meet the qualifications, your application will be added to that specific position pool of applicants.  When the position is ready to be filled, the hiring park manager or regional manager will review the applications and send out notifications as to who will get to interview. 

Tips:

1. Every point counts. Fill out the application with anything and everything you can think of that pertains to your experience. Some times a point or two decides who gets an interview and who does not. Be thorough but be honest.

2. There is no better experience then working in a Tennessee State Park. If you have the opportunity become a seasonal employee or volunteer at a state park.  Spend some time in a park. Get to know us. Let us have a chance to get to know you.  Most seasonal employees are hired in the spring.  If you are interested in becoming a seasonal please contact one of our Regional Interpretive Specialists.  West Tennessee, David Haggard ( david.haggard@tn.gov ), Middle Tennessee, John Froeschauer ( john.froeschauer@tn.gov ), or East Tennessee, Steve Smith (  steve1.smith@tn.gov ).

3. Be patient. There are only around 210 park ranger positions in the state. Positions don't come open that often. Currently, more than 30 percent of our rangers are within 1-5 years of retirement. There will be some turn over soon!

4. Keep in mind what you are applying for. This is a STATE position not a National Park position. 

5. You cannot replace the bachelors degree with any amount of experience. If you do not meet the minimum requirements, the Department of Human Resources will not accept your application.   This includes military experience as well. If you do not have the degree, they will not accept the application.

6. We get asked a lot, which degree should I go for to become a Park Ranger.  Currently, any bachelor degree is ok but you must be able to sell it. How will the degree that you have help you be a top notch Park Ranger?  There are preferred degrees, as they tend to point people in the right direction of the common duties of a Park Ranger.

Some of the preferred degrees are: 

Natural Resource Management

Parks and Recreation

Natural Science based degrees:  Forestry, Wildlife, Geology

History Based degrees: Archeology, Anthropology  

 

7. Please feel free to ask any question or make any comment you feel necessary in our CONTACT US section. The Tennessee Park Rangers Association does not get to choose who is hired. We do try our best to point people in the right direction and assist in any way we can in helping them achieve their goals.

Thank you and Good Luck!