How to Become a Law Enforcement Park Ranger

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Park rangers are much like police officers when it comes to the qualifications they need for the position. As a matter of fact, park rangers go to the police academy. Like all law enforcement employees, they do not know their assignment until after they graduate from the police academy and respond to canvas letters. Read on to learn the process to becoming a park ranger on Long Island.

Things You'll Need

  • Patience
  • A physically fit body
  • A psychologically sound mind
  • Decide whether or not you are ready for a job in law enforcement. Park Rangers work very closely with towns, as their jurisdiction is primarily the parks owned by these towns (The towns in Suffolk County that have Park Rangers are Smithtown, Islip and South Hampton). Their secondary jurisdiction is the town itself, which means that park rangers can write summonses to people for trespassing in parks as well as for speeding on the main road in the town. With great power comes great responsibility. Can you handle it?

  • Once you decide that this is something that you would like to do, you have to register for the test through civil service. You must fill out the registration form and submit your test fee by the deadline date. If you miss the deadline, you will not be permitted to take the test.

  • On your exam day, arrive early with at least two sharpened pencils. Bring all identification and other paperwork necessary as noted in your registration packet. Good luck taking your test!

  • After about six months, the Civil Service list with your test results will come out. In order to pass, you must score at least a 70. You will receive a letter letting you know what you scored on the test. The list will also be made available to the hiring agencies as well as published online.

  • Once the hiring agencies receive the list, they will send out canvas letters. The first 30 people on the list are usually the ones that receive these letters. These canvas letters let the recipient know that a position is available, and that they would like an interview with them. Respond to the canvas letter by checking off that you are interested and sending it back in.

  • The hiring agency will then interview all of the candidates that expressed interest in the position. Arrive to your interview on time and dressed appropriately. Wearing a suit is recommended, whether you are male or female.

  • After your interview, you must take your physical agility test. This test includes sit ups, push ups and a mile-and-a-half run. If you fail the agility test, you can come back in 30 days to try again. If you fail that one, you are off the civil service list for park rangers, until they administer the park ranger civil service exam again.

  • Once you pass the physical agility test, you must complete a medical exam. The medical exam includes a drug test, eyes and ear exam, and a regular physical. If you fail the physical exam, you can appeal it before a board of three doctors. If you lose your appeal, you are off the list until they administer the exam again.

  • After passing the medical exam, you must take the psychological exam. The psychological exam is the MMPI2 (Minnesota Multi-Faceted Personality Inventory 2), which is a standard psychological test. The first part of the psychological exam is a written exam composed of about 1,500 questions. The second part is the oral, where you actually sit down with a psychiatrist. If you fail the psychological exam, you can appeal it before a board of three psychologists. If you lose your appeal, you are off the Civil Service list for Park Ranger for the length of that list, until they administer the Park Ranger Civil Service Exam again.

  • Once you pass all of your tests, your name is sent back to the hiring agency to give approval that they may hire you. The agency must hire out of the top three people that made it through the Civil Service process, according to the written test score.

  • After being hired, you must attend the academy. The hiring agency can send you wherever there is an active police academy in the state. Once you graduate, you are able to work as a park ranger.

Tips & Warnings

  • Study for your test! The higher you score, the more likely you are to be hired.
  • There are only three towns that employ park rangers in Suffolk County. Don't get your hopes up!

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