NPS Cover image

National Park Ranger Academy (AAS & CERT)


 The service thus established shall promote and regulate the use of the Federal areas known as national parks, monuments, and reservations hereinafter specified by such means and measures as conform to the fundamental purpose of the said parks, monuments, and reservations, which purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations." - Organic Act 1916

Colorado Northwestern is currently one of six accredited academies in the nation that offers academy training approved by the National Park Service and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC). The Ranger Trainee course is a hard-hitting challenging course that will test you mentally, emotionally, and physically. The course builds character, perseverance, mental capacity and decision making, authority and responsibility, physical fitness, defensive tactics skills, driving skills, firearms skills as well as increasing your leadership skills and ability to deal with life’s many challenges. The final outcome is you will learn the necessary basic knowledge and skills required to successfully perform the duties of a law enforcement Ranger in the field.

This is a sixteen week course of study encompassing over 700 hours (33 credit hours) of training. Upon successful completion of the academy, students will receive an accredited NPS/FLETC PRLEA Certification. This certification allows you to be eligible for a type II (seasonal) Law Enforcement position with the NPS. This certification is good for 3 years. Federally you must be 21 to be a law enforcement officer within the National Park Service.

Colorado Northwestern is currently holding two academies per year: spring and fall. Students will be enrolled in the college as well as the academy, but are not required to be part of a degree program. Additional courses and certificates are available to take during and after academy. These courses and certificates are not needed but are recommended. A typical day in the academy starts with physical fitness from 0530-0630, in class by 0750. After lunch, class will go until about 1700. This schedule is approximately 5 days a week. There will be some Saturday, Sunday and night classes.

NOTE: CNCC also now offers an option to receive an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S) in Park Ranger Studies, which combines the NPS Park Ranger Academy certificate with recommended general education courses and electives. If you attend CNCC to get your A.A.S. in Park Ranger Studies, you will be taking courses that have been handpicked to prepare you for success in the academy. Additionally, you can take “add on” courses that will assist in making you a better candidate for a Park Ranger position.  The courses offered at CNCC are Wilderness First Responder and Basic Search & Rescue (NASAR SARTECH II).  Completing these “add on” courses will enhance your ability to successfully apply for and become an NPS Seasonal Law Enforcement Ranger.  If you already have a Bachelor’s degree, you may transfer your B.S. degree to CNCC making you eligible for the A.A.S. degree. If you are interested in this option, please make sure your official transcripts have been received by our Registrar.

Course Schedule:

*Fall - August 17th - December 10th

*Spring - January 11th - May 4th

Applications are accepted up to one month before academy starts, later submissions require approval.

Note: In addition to applying to admission CNCC, applicants must apply for the academy. The supplemental application process cannot be done online, please contact academy staff for application. All recruits are accepted on a conditional basis pending successful background check and drug test.

  • Supplemental Application Packet to include but not limited to:
    • Personal statement
    • Physical by licensed MD
    • Copy of Driver’s License
    • If a veteran: copy of DD214
    • Brief employment history & experience
    • Notarized Record Release form
    • Notarized Open Record form
    • Memorandum of Understanding for application and student handbook

*These schedules are tentative and can change without notice.

This program may have additional requirements necessary to obtain the industry/regulatory certificate as found on the following websites, and students are encouraged to review those requirements prior to enrollment. 

 National Park Ranger Academy, NPS (National Park Service) -


The Academy is eligible for FAFSA!
Please click here for the online application.


Academy Director

Charles D. Huyck
(970) 675-3336
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Academy Coordinator

Kathy Kottenstette
(970) 675-3337
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

About CNCC

Colorado Northwestern is one college in two Colorado communities. Depending on what you want to study, CNCC has the perfect surroundings and facilities to meet your needs. Founded in 1962 as “Rangely College,” CNCC now serves nearly 1,600 students on two campuses, two service centers and online. Our two campuses are located in Craig and Rangely and are 90 miles apart in the mountains and canyons of Northwestern Colorado.