Connecticut Park Ranger Training and Degree Requirements

The term “park ranger” is used in the state of Connecticut to denote seasonal jobs within state parks; year-round jobs at city parks, and year-round jobs within national parks. Within the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Bureau of Outdoor Recreation, regular, year-round park ranger jobs carry the title Environmental Protection Park and Recreation Supervisor I. All of these jobs carry their own unique qualifications, with some prerequisites common to all job classes.

Joining the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection Bureau of Outdoor Recreation

The qualifications for Seasonal Park Ranger jobs and Environmental Protection Park and Recreation Supervisor Jobs differ greatly.

However, there are some similarities among prerequisites for the two job classes:

Qualifications Applicable to Seasonal and Year-Round Park Ranger Jobs:

  • Age 18 or older
  • Possess a Connecticut driver’s license
  • Familiarity with outdoor recreation
  • Have a high school diploma or GED

Additional Qualifications for Year-Round Park Ranger Jobs, Including Education and Experience:

  • Certification in Standard First Aid and CPR
  • Possess a State Boating Safety Certificate
  • Willingness to work anywhere in the state of Connecticut
  • Satisfy education and experience requirements through one of the following:
    • Five years of experience in operating and maintaining an outdoor recreational facility/public park;

OR

    • Possess a bachelor degree in outdoor recreation, park management, natural resources management, forest recreation, public administration, leisure studies or a related field PLUS one year of related experience

Training for Connecticut Park Ranger Jobs:

New Environmental Protection Park and Recreation Supervisors who are lacking in any of the above-mentioned certifications may have the opportunity to pursue these in a training period before the job begins. As the job typically requires much experience, much training will already have been completed by the time the new Supervisor reaches this job.

The Connecticut Recreation and Parks Association also provides entry-level and continuing education training for park and recreation professionals across the state. It recommends certification from the National Recreation and Park Association. The NRPA’s Certified Park and Recreation Professional (CPRP) certification is becoming a standard among Connecticut state park rangers.

In order to qualify for this certification, an applicant must meet one of the following education or experience qualifications:

  • Have a bachelor degree from a college/university program accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Related Professions, OR
  • Have a bachelor degree from an accredited college/university in leisure services, park resources or recreation AND one year of related full-time work experience, OR
  • Have a bachelor degree in a major other than parks/recreation AND three years of related full-time work experience, OR
  • Have an associate degree in any major AND four years of related full-time work experience, OR
  • Have a high school diploma AND five years of related full-time work experience

The CPRP Examination is given at Pearson Vue testing centers across Connecticut in the following cities:

  • Bristol
  • Plantsville
  • Woodbridge
  • Wallingford
  • Shelton

Exam content includes:

  • Operations
  • Programming
  • Human resources
  • Finance

City Park Ranger Jobs in Connecticut:

Park ranger jobs at city parks in Connecticut carry their own specifications. Typically, they include:

  • Minimum education of a high school diploma or GED
  • Age 18 or older
  • Six months of experience
  • Possession of Connecticut driver’s license
  • Possession of (or ability to obtain) Connecticut Wildlife Custodian Permit

Park ranger jobs at Connecticut’s city parks may be on a full-time or part-time basis. They are a great career stepping stone and a way for aspiring state and national park rangers in Connecticut to obtain valuable experience.

Becoming a Park Ranger with the National Park Service in Connecticut

There are four areas in Connecticut operated by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s National Park Service:

  • Weir Farm National Historic Site in Ridgefield and Wiilton
  • Washington-Rochambeau National Historic Trail
  • Quinebaug & Shetucket Rivers Valley National Heritage Corridor in Putnam
  • Appalachian National Scenic Trail

National park rangers in Connecticut must meet these requirements:

  • Age 21 or older
  • Possess a Connecticut driver’s license
  • U.S. citizen
  • Pass a Physical Efficiency Battery test
  • Pass a background  investigation
  • Pass a medical exam and drug screen
  • Be able to work nights, weekends and holidays
  • Be able to travel as needed for the job
  • Fulfill education and experience qualifications for GS-5 park ranger jobs through:
    • Possessing one year of specialized experience in one of these areas:
      • Parks/recreation management
      • Law enforcement
      • Fish and wildlife management
      • Technical, scientific or administrative work

OR

    • Possess a bachelor degree with 24 semester hours of job-related course work

OR

    • Possess an equivalent combination of experience and education

Connecticut Park Ranger Salaries

The Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, more commonly known as DEEP, reports that park ranger jobs in Connecticut are typically seasonal. Some of the parks in the state which employ seasonal park rangers include Black Rock State Park in Watertown, Harkness Memorial State Park in Waterford, Penwood State Park in Bloomfield, and Salmon River State Forest in Marlborough.

Connecticut park ranger salaries generally vary based on location and, of course, experience. For example, park rangers working for the National Park Service but employed in Ridgefield receive an hourly wage of $17.09, which is roughly an annual salary of $35,547. In addition, park ranger positions with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Middlebury, Thomaston, and North Grosvenor Dale pay between $27,753 and $36,076.

Additional entry-level salary data is shown in the tables below. This includes various titles that park rangers in various roles are recognized:

Recreation Workers Salaries in Connecticut

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk CT
1620
28240
Danbury CT
150
30370
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford CT
2010
31200
New Haven CT
1010
26910
Norwich-New London CT-RI
480
31030
Springfield MA-CT
550
25730
Waterbury CT
210
Estimate Not Released
Worcester MA-CT
620
26470
Northwestern Connecticut nonmetropolitan area
180
32580
Eastern Connecticut nonmetropolitan area
40
26320

Tour Guides and Escorts Salaries in Connecticut

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford CT
150
21170
Springfield MA-CT
90
20640

Recreational Protective Service Workers Salaries in Connecticut

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk CT
Estimate Not Released
25350
Danbury CT
Estimate Not Released
18700
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford CT
500
22280
New Haven CT
270
22470
Norwich-New London CT-RI
40
20430
Springfield MA-CT
250
22160
Waterbury CT
50
21790
Worcester MA-CT
310
21970
Northwestern Connecticut nonmetropolitan area
Estimate Not Released
21550

Hammonasset Beach State Park

Hammonasset Beach State Park has two miles of shoreline, making it the largest shoreline park in all of Connecticut. Located on the shore of Long Island Sound in Madison, this park houses one of the state’s most popular beaches. Park rangers at Hammonasset Beach State Park must help to keep visitors safe as they swim, fish, picnic, camp and walk on the park’s ¾-mile boardwalk and trails. They also help to interpret the natural wonders and historical significance of the park from the educational Meigs Point Nature Center located on the park’s grounds.

Named after an Indian word that means, “where we dig holes in the ground,” Hammonasset Beach State Park opened to the public in 1920, drawing more than 75,000 visitors in its first year of operation.  Today, the park receives over a million visitors each year, from all over the world. The park was originally used as a rifle-testing site for the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. Hammonasset Beach State Park closed to the public during World War II as it was used for an army reservation and aircraft range.  In 1955, a stone breakwater was built at the end of the park containing the Meigs Point Nature Center.

Programs that park rangers conduct at the Meigs Point Nature Center focus on educating visitors of all ages about the natural beauty and wildlife of the park. Some programs cater to Connecticut school curriculum, while others help Boy and Girl Scouts to fulfill badge requirements. Topics have included oceanography, Native American experiences, fresh water quality, marine water quality, shells, reptiles, tracks of wildlife, ethno botany, seaweed secrets and spider food web.

Groups Working with Hammonasset Beach State Park Rangers

While park rangers at Hammonasset Beach State Park work for the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Bureau of Outdoor Recreation, they may also work with a variety of conservation groups in their efforts to educate the public and protect nature. Some of the groups currently working with park rangers at Hammonasset Beach State Park include:

  • A Place Called Hope – this rehabilitation and education center for birds of prey works within Hammonasset Beach State Park to rescue injured, ill or orphaned birds, rehabilitate them, and return them to their natural environment when they are well. Birds with which they work that are found within the park include hawks, eagles, falcons, osprey, owls, vultures, harriers, ravens and crows.
  • Friends of Hammonasset – this nonprofit volunteer organization supports Hammonasset Beach State Park’s environmental education programs, while also helping to advocate for the park and to protect its natural resources
  • Connecticut Outdoor and Environmental Education Association – This group serves as a network of environmental educators, teachers, naturalists and students who promote understanding of the environment. They work with Hammonasset Beach State Park Rangers on producing and presenting environmental education programs on sustainability, protecting natural resources and more.
  • Menunkatuck Audubon Society – This local chapter of the National Audubon Society works to preserve natural ecosystems within Hammonasset Beach State Park. It also joins with park rangers to promote conservation and educational activities.
  • Volunteers who become trained as docents to function as greeters at Meigs Point Nature Center, lead educational programs within the park or help park rangers in cleaning up the marshes and other parts of the park

Weir Farm National Historic Site

Weir Farm National Historic Site is the only national park in the United States dedicated to the history of painting in the U.S.  Featured in Ken Burns’ film, “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea,” Weir Farm National Historic Site in Wilton and Ridgefield has been home to artists including Sperry Andrews, Mahonri Young, and Julian Alden Weir.

Park rangers working for the National Park Service at Weir Farm help, through interpretation and education, to bring the history of American painting to life for visitors.

Serving as a Park Ranger at the Weir Farm National Historic Site in Connecticut

Weir Farm National Historic Site’s park rangers conduct tours of the 60-acre farm, host informational sessions on artists and painting, and help to immerse the visitor in the history of the site. Other duties of park rangers at Weir Farm National Historic Site include operating the visitor center and museum store, and assisting visitors as necessary.

Although the Weir Studio, Weir House and Young Studio are currently under restoration and are closed to the public, park rangers at Weir Farm may still lead visitors through the Burlingham House Visitor Center and the park grounds. Restoration of the Weir Studio, Weir House and Young Studio is expected to be completed by late May 2014.

Educational programs that park rangers at Weir Farm National Historic Site have presented in the past focused on subjects such as the Connecticut Impressionist Movement, 19th-century American art, and the three artists who called the park home at various times in its history (Weir, Young and Andrews). Many visitors to Weir Farm National Historic Site are from the city and urban areas and are not used to the natural beauty of the park, so park rangers help to explain and interpret its beauty to them.

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