Occasionally I get questions from readers in relation to park rangering. I thought I would share some of these with you since these questions may be of some interest.
I have previous experience in the NPS as a seasonal park ranger (interpretation) for 6 years. I now work as a law enforcement ranger in State government. If I were to transfer to the NPS, is there a way to transfer my experience in law enforcement with me into the NPS ? I know the cut off age is 37, I only 40, how do they work this out if someone has already been through a State LE academy with a commission, and transfers over to NPS. Do they still attend FLETC ? or can they take a few FLETC courses on top of their State commission to qualify for working NPS LE ?
I checked with a friend at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center and he gave me the following updated information.
At present the National Park Service has a shortened Law Enforcement training program (called a Bridge) at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center for those transferring into the NPS from non-land management Federal Agencies. State law enforcement academies do not qualify for this Bridge program so if a person is hired from a state park to a national park they will have to complete the full FLETC training academy.
The good news is that the experience and training a person would get in a state park system would make them very attractive to someone doing the hiring for a National Park Ranger position.
The second issue in this question deals with the age limits for law enforcement and fire fighter positions within the National Park Service. A new employee must be 37 years of age our younger to enter on duty for these jobs. This is due to retirement being mandatory at the age of 57. There are rumors that this age limit may be increased to accommodate long serving military veterans to enter into Federal law enforcement professions. There is no guarantee that this will happen.
Note that this age requirement and additional fitness and health standards do not apply to other positions within the National Park Service. Interpretative, Resource Management, Administrative, Maintenance and other positions do not have any such standards to meet upon hiring.