How to Become a Park Ranger in New Mexico

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How to Become a Park Ranger in New Mexico

There are 38 state parks in New Mexico with names like City of Rocks, Hyde Memorial, and Bottomless Lakes.

Getting a job as a park ranger in New Mexico is easy to do, allowing you to visit and work at any one of these state parks.

Find out how to get employed as a park ranger in NM and what steps are involved with working as a state park ranger.

Then see what you can expect to earn when you become a New Mexico park ranger for the state parks office.

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Requirements to Become a Park Ranger in New Mexico

Anyone who wishes to be a park ranger in New Mexico can easily follow a step-by-step process.

This occupation is a part of the New Mexico State Personnel Office.

As a result, you have to apply to this office in order to be considered for employment as a park ranger.

This office is part of the New Mexico Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department or EMNRD.

The State Parks System of New Mexico is overseen by this department.

To be eligible for a New Mexico State Park Ranger position, you need a high school diploma.

Additionally, you must have a minimum of two years of administrative work experience with an administration.

To apply for a job as a park ranger, send your high school transcript and job application to the NM State Personnel Office (SPO) or the SPO Career Services Bureau.

The phone number for the office is 505-476-7759.

Park Ranger Duties in New Mexico

As a paid park ranger for the state of New Mexico, your job involves helping visitors at the park where you are stationed.

You are also responsible for patrolling the park grounds and enforcing rules and regulations.

New Mexico State Park Rangers must also work with park ground crews on landscaping and on maintenance of the facilities and equipment.

State Parks in New Mexico

Bluewater Lake State Park

At Bluewater Lake State Park, visitors enjoy a peaceful lake with camping, hiking, boating, and fishing.

The park is next to the Zuni Mountains and offers excellent views, as well as near proximity to Grants, NM.

Cimarron Canyon State Park

Cimarron Canyon State Park supports three campgrounds and is busy all year round.

Only three miles from the Colin Neblett Wildlife Area, this park is next to Ute Park and Tolby Creek with cliffs of the Palisades Sill overlooking its namesake, the Cimarron River.

Eagle Nest Lake State Park

At more than 8,200 feet in elevation, visitors get a bird’s eye view at Eagle Nest Lake State Park.

This New Mexico State Park is busier in the summer when fishing and boating take center stage.

The park is a welcome retreat for hikers interested in seeing local wildlife, as well.

Rockhound State Park

As the name suggests, Rockhound State Park outside of Deming, New Mexico is a great place to find rocks.

If you are a rockhound, you would love to work at this state park as a park ranger.

There is a wealth of perlite, jasper, and quartz crystal that are waiting to be unearthed.


When you are hired by the EMNRD in NM as a park ranger, you can anticipate earning somewhere around $35,000 a year.

This is based on the national salary range for a park ranger, which starts at $33,946 and goes up to $49,689 annually.

In the city of Roswell, NM, the average salary for a park ranger is $36,015 for comparison.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Albuquerque $38,446
Las Cruces $34,906
Santa Fe $38,807
Rio Rancho $38,323
Roswell $36,015
Farmington $38,011
Alamogordo $36,631
Clovis $36,994
Hobbs $36,660
Carlsbad $36,015

Regional Salary in New Mexico

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Albuquerque, NM70$82,960$39.88$134,890$51,900
Santa Fe, NM30$60,600$29.13$69,260$52,190
* 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

Can I work as a mounted park ranger in New Mexico?

You can be a volunteer on the New Mexico Mounted Patrol, but this is not the same department as the NM State Park Ranger post.

The NMMP rides on horseback, and they serve as a volunteer law enforcement officer and a peace officer.

What is the weather like seasonally in New Mexico?

In the arid climate of New Mexico, the summers are dry and hot with temperatures often reaching 100 degrees F.

By the winter, the weather cools down to 25 degrees for the low with surprising snow on occasion.

Expect to have harsh temperatures throughout the year, as well as mostly clear skies free of clouds.

What wild animals are most common in state parks in NM?

There are many wild animal species unique to New Mexico and the state’s parks.

These include wild horses and burros, as well as black bears, whitetail deer, and coati, which is a member of the raccoon family.

Will I get to live on site as a park ranger in New Mexico?

Yes, when you are working as a park ranger in NM, you will be assigned to a state park.

This post will provide you with a place for lodgings, such as a ranger’s cabin or house on the premises.

Do I have to get a certificate, diploma, or degree to work as a NM State Park Ranger?

No, you do not have to attend a class or receive a certificate in order to be eligible for employment as a New Mexico State Park Ranger.

But you will be expected to attend the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy within one year of getting hired.

This academy provides law enforcement and authorized training that is required by park rangers in the state.

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