Do you enjoy working outside? Do you want your work to make a difference? Are you looking for a professional adventure?
Working for Florida’s state parks might just be the right opportunity for you. Park rangers explore and protect the best of Florida’s natural places, from sparkling springs to our world-famous beaches, towering pine forests to vast golden prairies.
Managing prescribed fires, planting trees, overseeing campgrounds and educating the public are just a few of the duties our rangers do on a daily basis. Sound fun? We’re always hiring!
Did you know?
There are 175 Florida state parks, trails and historic sites encompassing nearly 800,000 acres of our state’s lands. Locations range from Pensacola to Jacksonville and south to Naples and Key West, meaning that no matter where you live, you’re within an hour of a state park. Our parks are as diverse as the people who live here, offering a wide range of experiences to suit the needs of every Floridian.
More than 1,000 people work in full-time positions at our state parks, while thousands more work seasonally. We have both part-time and full-time positions, meaning even those with a tight schedule can work at a state park.
Park rangers often move on to other positions in the environmental profession, and your experiences in the field provide a vital foundation as you move both within and outside the Florida Park Service. And what could be better than spending your day in …the Real Florida?
About the job
Park rangers work in all areas of what we call the “big five” – maintenance, administration, visitor services, protection and resource management. One day you might be helping repair the park’s picnic pavilion, while the next you’re out deep in the forest, removing invasive plants that threaten our native species.
You might give a program for kids on why alligators are important or help collect fees at the park’s entrance station. No two days are the same at a state park.
How you’ll get around varies, too. Airboats, golf carts, trucks and mowers – our rangers drive a wide range of vehicles. Depending on the job, you might use chainsaws to fell dying trees or drip torches to light a prescribed fire. You’ll have hands-on experience protecting our natural places and using the tools and techniques to build a career in natural resources.
Sammy Alba (pictured left) - 30 Years of Service, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
Sammy Alba has come to Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park and cleaned the Park’s 8 fishing platforms and performed other maintenance tasks each week for 30 years. Over that time, he became friends with one of our other 30-year nominees, Rubin Orta, and has continued to keep the tradition alive today. He’s also one for spinning fishing tales to visitors (with the occasional tip) and we thank him for his many years of inspirational service and hope to hear more of his tales in the future.
A crew member wearing appropriate personal protective equipment.
What are the benefits?
Working at a state park means not only getting to explore a slice of Florida, but all of them. Every state park employee gets free admission into our state parks. On-the-job training will help you acquire the needed skills to excel in both the park service and a lifetime of resource management. Park rangers go through an intensive weeklong training called Ranger Academy, where you’ll be oriented to both the park service as a whole and what will be expected of you in your position.
Some positions in the Florida Park Service are classified as career service, which includes attractive benefits:
- Paid vacation, sick leave and holidays.
- Comprehensive health insurance and life insurance.
- Supplemental dental, vision, life, disability and hospitalization insurance.
- Promotional opportunities.
- Tuition-free college courses.
- 457 Tax Deferred Retirement Plan.
How to find job opportunities?
To find opportunities with the state of Florida, visit https://Jobs.MyFlorida.com.
- In the “Search by Keyword” box at the top, enter “park ranger.”
- Further narrow the search by putting “Environmental Protection” in the “Agency” box.
- Click “Filter.”
Now you have a list of all the available jobs at Florida State Parks.
You can also narrow the list by your location. Just add a city and click “Filter” to see jobs nearby.
Positions vary from park ranger and administrative assistant to environmental specialist and resident park manager. Positions are part time, seasonal or full time.
Each job description for park ranger will include duties within the “big five,” as well as any additional required knowledge, skills and abilities. But don’t worry: A good attitude and a willingness to learn are the most important skills a ranger can have.
When you find a position that might be a good fit, submit your application. At the top of the job announcement, there is an “Apply Now” button. Create an account and complete the application.
Would you like to try it out first?
Want to dip in your toes before diving in? Why not try it out first? Volunteering with your local park is an excellent way to see if you enjoy the work our park rangers do, while simultaneously giving back to your community. Look for opportunities or visit your local state park and talk to a staff member.
Whether you’re looking for your first job or a change of scenery, we hope you’ll consider working with us at Florida State Parks!
This article was published in the Real Florida ℠ Connection, the Florida State Parks e-newsletter. Sign-up to get updates and stories from your state parks the first week of every month.