How to Become a Park Ranger in Iowa

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How to Become a Park Ranger in Iowa

If you love nature and want to work outside, why not try to become a Park Ranger in Iowa?

It takes two to four years usually, sometimes less time.

Requirements to Become a Park Ranger in Iowa

Some Iowa employers prefer that a Park Ranger has Certified Peace Officer Training.

This can happen by way of the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy.

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If you complete your academy training, you will be required to carry a handgun.

Education to become a Park Ranger can take about two to four years.

Recommended Education

Besides taking law enforcement academy courses, you may want to consider wildlife rehabilitation classes.

In addition, you might also benefit from business management, sociology, museum science, or biology classes.

Perhaps you also have an interest in forensics.

It may come in handy if you connect with local police in an effort to solve sensitive crimes if they were to occur in an Iowa State Park.

Park Ranger Duties in Iowa

When working as a Park Ranger, you may have an assortment of responsibilities.

For instance, you might involve yourself in prairie rehabilitation.

Your job role might also require you to know the proper way to handle hazardous materials and pesticides.

Sometimes, a Park Ranger will also schedule prescribed burns.

In addition, you could improve timber stands and manage fishery habitats.

Reforestation may also be one of your priorities, such as preventing people from cutting down trees where they are not supposed to.

If the state park you work at has a pool, you might also spend time operating it.

This includes maintaining it and helping with setup and teardown.

You will also prepare it for annual inspections and assist with conducting state water tests.

You also will have your hand in testing beach water conditions.

The information you collect about the water and its surroundings will determine swimming and watersports safety.

Another part of your job involves hunting regulations.

You will verify that people have a hunting license and have a hand in stopping people from hunting off-season.

Part of your job when you complete your Park Ranger academy training also involves helping local police enforce their laws.

This includes making sure people leave the park before closing and not vandalize or trash the place.

State Parks in Iowa

Iowa has a multitude of green spaces.

That means job security for you if you want to become a Park Ranger.

Below is just a small list of the state parks it has.

Palisades-Kepler State Park

The Palisades-Kepler State Park is near Mount Vernon in Linn County.

It sits on 840 acres of land and features bluffs and ravines.

It also includes forests on the Cedar River bank.

People have reported hiking there with their dogs and have brought their children here.

Backbone State Park

The Backbone State Park in the Maquoketa River first became established in 1919, the year that officials dedicated it.

You will find Strawberry Point three miles north of this park.

It features hiking, snowmobiling, boating, fishing, camping and rock climbing.

Lake Macbride State Park

2,180 acres of land makes up Lake MacBride State Park.

Solon is one of the nearest cities, and it has two parts that sit on either side of Macbride lake.

The lake that divides this park into sections measures 900 acres.

Lacey-Keosauqua State Park

Keosauqua is northeast of Lacey-Keosauqua State Park.

This state park in Van Buren county had its dedication day in 1920, and it’s the largest by land area in Iowa.

It lines the Des Moines River.

It has a campground on site and features swimming, fishing, hiking, boating and more.

Lewis and Clark State Park

Lewis and Clark State Park has 176 acres of land next to a 250-acre lake (Blue Lake).

This Monona County natural area offers boating, swimming, fishing, camping and picnic areas.

Ledges State Park

Boone is about four miles from Ledges.

It has a sandstone gorge and a Des Moines River tributary.

This enormous gorge reaches 100 feet deep in some spots.

It’s probably one of the most fascinating spots in Iowa.


A park ranger makes an average income of $39,300 per year as of September 2022.

They may make a range of $32,486-$47,553.

With increased training and experience, you might make more money than that.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Des Moines $39,658
Cedar Rapids $38,963
Davenport $39,082
Sioux City $34,951
Waterloo $37,259
Iowa City $38,643
Council Bluffs $38,963
Dubuque $38,653
Ames $39,289
West Des Moines $39,658

Regional Salary in Iowa

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Cedar Rapids, IA40$59,950$28.82$79,740$40,440
Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL40$66,270$31.86$96,370$35,190
Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA100$64,500$31.01$86,300$48,340
Sioux City, IA-NE-SD40$57,940$27.86$82,750$31,890
Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA30$59,880$28.79$75,670$49,750
* 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

What does a Park Ranger do all day?

A Park Ranger might chase a bunch of high schoolers out of a cave who may be smoking weed.

However, they also ensure that people stay safe and obey hazard signs.

In addition, they educate people on hunting and safety regulations.

What’s more, they help local law enforcement teams maintain order.

Does an Iowa Park Ranger usually work on weekends?

They often have to work weekends.

They also might work holidays.

There are times when they may have to stay on the call and respond when there’s an emergency too.

How many hours does an Iowa Park Ranger usually work?

They usually put in about 40 hours a week.

You might start out part-time while in college though.

Some internships or seasonal positions may also be part-time, or you might have the chance to work part-time shifts if you already have another job.

Where does a Park Ranger usually work?

They might work in a state park near them.

However, a Park Ranger might first secure employment as a seasonal park and recreational worker run by their local municipality.

How long does it take to become a Park Ranger?

It takes about an average of two years.

You might decide to take additional college courses if you decide to take on administrative or management roles.

USA Park Ranger by State

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