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Do I have to take the academy to work for the National Park Service? If you want to become a Seasonal Law Enforcement (LE) Ranger (GS-0025) for the NPS, yes. If you want to work in any other capacity for the NPS you do not have to enroll in this academy. Feel free to call the academy for advice on how to begin a career with the NPS.

I’ve worked as a Law Enforcement officer in the past. Does my training transfer? Your previous training will help you in the long run but the National Park Service mandates that everyone, no matter what, goes through and must pass a FLETC (Federal Law Enforcement Training Center) accredited academy to be eligible for a seasonal park ranger position.

How old do you have to be to become a ranger? According to Federal law, you are not eligible for hire until the age of 21. If you are seeking permanent status you must gain it before the age of 37 (no age requirement for military veterans). You are able to work seasonally as a LE officer past the age of 37.

What’s the difference between seasonal and permanent? When will I get full-time work? There are three types of positions commonly listed under job announcements: Seasonal, Term and Permanent. Seasonal positions are positions that are limited to 1039 hours (roughly six months). Training hours do not count against the 1039 hour limit. After 1039 hours you are laid off, and eligible for unemployment if you haven’t obtained another seasonal position. Term positions are positions that are limited to between one to four years of employment, as needed by the hiring agency. Permanent positions have no foreseeable end date aside from retirement. ALL positions are full-time, 40+ hours per week unless otherwise specified in the job announcement.

Does this academy also transfer over to work for state parks? Some states accept our training outright (WA state), some require you to have Post Certification (CO), and some require you to take a few weeks of state specific training. Each state is different. If you’re interested in a specific state’s park, please contact them to make sure that this training is eligible.

Is the academy financial aid eligible? The academy is financial aid eligible. Please contact Merrie Byers at 970.675.3204 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with questions.

What does it mean “the certificate is good for three years”? Upon successful graduation from the academy you have three years to find employment with the NPS before your certificate is no longer valid. If you find employment within the three years, once your employment ends then you have another three years to find work before your certification expires.

Do you help place students after graduation? We help with your resume and understanding the job application site We cannot “place” students due to the NPS’s hiring process, but we are always available to answer any questions you have regarding the hiring process. Many of our adjunct instructors are also hiring officials at local parks, so there’re numerous opportunities to get your name out to hiring officials. After graduation, we also send out job information for VRA hires and “remote locale” hires.

Are there physical requirements? Yes. You must pass the Physical Efficiency Battery (PEB). The PEB will be administered the first week of training. Its requirements are age and gender adjusted. You can look up the requirements here:


Do I have to live on campus? We HIGHLY recommend it. We have a residence hall dedicated to the NPS academy students (Holland East). Living together fosters a team atmosphere. Also, finding affordable housing in Rangely that doesn’t require a year lease is next to impossible. However, if you have an RV, there are numerous RV campgrounds in Rangely. Contact academy staff for more information. How close is the nearest town if we need to get supplies? The school is located in Rangely, CO. We have stores to pick up the basic necessities in town. The nearest Wal-mart, movie theater, fast-food, full grocery stores, etc. is located in Vernal, UT (approximately 55 miles away).


I’ve heard it’s hard getting a job. Is that true? It depends on your background, and whether or not you’re willing to travel. Veterans get hiring preference. People with EMT certifications or previous NPS or law enforcement experience will be more likely to be hired. If you limit yourself to one particular area (only CO, only New England, etc.) then you’re going to have a harder time finding employment. We provide add-on certifications to help you look more qualified to hiring officials, along with assisting you during and after graduation with resume support. We have had a 98% job placement rate from the graduates from the past two years.

When can I start applying for jobs? Do I have to wait until I graduate? As soon as you get tentatively accepted to academy, start looking for employment. Keep in mind that many announcements state that you have to either currently have a commission to apply or you have to be able to obtain the commission before the start date. Start applying before you get to the academy. On most of the applications is a spot for you to state when you will be graduating from academy.

After graduation, do parks provide housing? Some do, some don’t. The job announcement will specify whether or not they do. If housing is available, the rent for the housing is based upon the local area’s cost of living, and is taken out of your paychecks. You typically rent a room in a two or three bedroom house that you would share with other rangers. Pets and spouses are not allowed in seasonal housing.

How long are people typically seasonal before becoming permanent? It depends on your previous work experience and whether or not you’re a veteran. Permanent positions are hired through the OPM federal process. Sometimes the application process is only open to existing federal employees. Sometimes it’s open to all citizens. However, with seasonal experience your competitiveness rises above most other applicants so your odds are much better getting a permanent job than other government applicants.

Who can I contact for more information?  

Contact Information

Academy Director

Charles D. Huyck
 (970) 675-3336 
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.