How to Become a Park Ranger in Alaska

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How to Become a Park Ranger in Alaska

With over 3.3 million acres of untamed wilderness, Alaska’s expansive state park system holds stunning landscapes and animals ranging from mountain goats and Dall sheep to wolves and black bears.

The third largest state park in the world at half of a million acres, Chugach State Park, is located in Alaska.

That means park rangers have a monumental task to maintain and conserve the area.

If you want to become involved in protecting Alaska’s extensive park system, keep reading to learn more!

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Requirements to Become a Park Ranger in Alaska

Given the importance of the park ranger position in a wildlife-friendly state, rangers have extensive requirements.

First, they must earn a four-year degree from an accredited university, have two years of professional experience in the field, or hold a two-year degree with one year of experience.

Once complete, rangers must earn training and certifications, including a commissioned peace officer, park ranger training and certification, and be authorized by the Department of Fish and Game Commissioner to start the job.

Other requirements include being a U.S. citizen, possessing a valid driver’s license, passing a background check and drug screening, and being in good health.

Park Ranger Duties in Alaska

Since Alaska is the largest state in the U.S. and has an endless amount of untouched territory, the state parks are top-notch.

As a result, the rangers must be trained in many areas to ensure they can fulfill all responsibilities, which include:

  • Assisting injured visitors
  • Checking in and tracking visitors to the area
  • Conducting law enforcement duties to help keep visitors and the environment safe
  • Finding missing hikers, which is a significant problem in the state
  • Leading school trips and educating tourists
  • Performing park tours
  • Preserving nature and the natural resources
  • Gathering data on local animals and plants
  • Gathering information on local rock formations and glaciers
  • Providing advice to visitors
  • Socializing with guests

State Parks in Alaska

With so much natural space and so many parks, everywhere in Alaska is beautiful.

However, some of the most popular parks include:

Chugach State Park

Chugach State Park is the third largest in the U.S. at almost 500,000 acres.

Created in 1970 to protect the Chugach Mountains and other distinguishing features, Chugach State Park is a diversity of immense ice fields and glaciers to bountiful lakes and extensive shorelines.

The park also boasts fields of berries and wildflowers and extensive wildlife, including lynxes, wolves, brown bears, and moose.

Denali National Park

Denali National Park and Preserve boasts over 6 million acres of land, including Mount McKinley, North America’s tallest peak.

The park boasts a plethora of beauty, including the taiga forest, winding rivers, glacial valleys, glaciers, alpine tundra, and hills.

One-third of the park comprises the Denali Wilderness, which surrounds the Alaskan Mountain Range.

The park receives over 400,000 visitors every year who want to enjoy the picturesque natural scenery of this national treasure.

Glacier Bay National Park

With over 3.3 million acres of terrain, Glacier Bay National Park boasts everything from snow-capped mountains to ocean shorelines to temperate rainforests and tidewater glaciers.

Also, the park is a major part of the Biosphere Reserve, the largest international protected area and World Heritage Site.

Approximately 80% of Glacier Bay visitors arrive on cruise ships to enjoy the stunning icefields and glaciers while catching a glimpse of different wildlife.


With an average annual salary of $45,700 and a pay range of $37,700 to $55,200, Alaska park rangers make slightly more than the national average of $34,000 per year.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Anchorage $45,674
Juneau $45,267
Fairbanks $45,485
Sitka $44,651
Ketchikan $44,651
Kenai $45,058
Kodiak $45,058
Bethel $45,058
Wasilla $45,058
Barrow $44,869

Regional Salary in Alaska

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Anchorage, AK170$82,070$39.46$133,490$50,230
Fairbanks, AK60$81,790$39.32$122,750$50,020
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Conservation Scientists, OCC Code 19-1031, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does an Alaska forest ranger differ from a park ranger?

Forest or forestry rangers are different from park rangers in the duties that they must perform.

While many responsibilities are similar, a park ranger is responsible for every detail inside a park’s boundaries, which includes forest and other natural areas.

On the other hand, a forest ranger is responsible for a much smaller area, including woodlands and other tree-inhabited areas.

What activities are Alaska park rangers accountable for monitoring?

Locations that fall under park ranger’s wings include adventure and ecological tours, glacier cruising, wildlife viewing, four-wheeling, dog sledding, ice climbing and hiking, RV and campground parks, and river adventures.

What are the desired skills of an Alaska park ranger?

Some of the most beneficial skills to be successful include the handling of firearms and defensive equipment, basic law enforcement skills, search and rescue skills, knowledge, and background of the state, environment, and parks, and oral communication.

What are the educational requirements to become an Alaska park ranger?

Those interested in becoming an Alaska state park ranger must have a valid driver’s license and a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university.

Alternatively, candidates can hold two years of experience in natural resource management, including agronomist, park specialist, archaeologist, forester, geologist, or environmental specialist.

Another option is to hold two years of college education with one year of natural resource management technical training.

What are some of the best degrees to become an Alaska park ranger?

Those pursuing a park ranger-related degree should consider parks and recreation, natural resources management, natural science, forest management, and forestry.

Getting an advanced degree in these fields helps make candidates more competitive, knowledgeable, and attractive to specific park hiring leaders.

USA Park Ranger by State

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