With over a dozen state parks across South Dakota, there are some incredible opportunities to work around nature.
If you love being outdoors, working as a park ranger could be an exciting career path.
Getting started may even be easier than you think.
All you have to do is decide if working in a state park is right for you.
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Article Table of Contents
- 1 Popular Programs
- 2 Requirements to Become a Park Ranger in South Dakota
- 3 Park Ranger Duties in South Dakota
- 4 State Parks in South Dakota
- 5 Salary
- 6 Frequently Asked Questions
- 6.1 What is the largest state park in South Dakota?
- 6.2 How many hours a week does the average park ranger work?
- 6.3 Are there any special certifications required to be a park ranger in South Dakota?
- 6.4 Is there a minimum age to work as a park ranger?
- 6.5 How many state parks are there in South Dakota?
Requirements to Become a Park Ranger in South Dakota
The Game, Fish and Parks Agency of South Dakota oversees the state parks and, therefore, determines what the requirements are for park rangers.
A bachelor’s degree is not required, but it is highly desired.
More specifically, the degree should be in an area that will be of particular benefit to working in a state park, such as law enforcement, public administration, natural sciences, or environmental conservation.
Being certified in such areas as a first responder, first aid and CPR, and/or EMT are also beneficial.
Those with law enforcement experience and training are sought out as it will ensure you’re able to carry out investigations in the event that something happens inside of the park.
With sufficient training, you will have the qualifications to make arrests, carry firearms, assist in executing warrants, and investigate crimes.
Beyond park ranger jobs, there are also entry-level and seasonal positions that can provide you with valuable experience.
You will need to submit a resume and provide character references.
The agency looks for individuals who are of good moral character and who have education and/or experience working in parks and around nature.
Additionally, you will need to submit to a medical exam and drug screening prior to a job being offered to you.
Park Ranger Duties in South Dakota
Park rangers in South Dakota are responsible for law enforcement within the state parks as well as preventing threats to guests from animals that may be in the area.
Park rangers may work seasonally or year-round in South Dakota depending on the park itself.
All park rangers will help to oversee the day-to-day activities, focus on public safety, and ensure that the various recreational activities are safe depending on what is going on for the given day.
State Parks in South Dakota
The state parks in South Dakota offer not only important ecosystems for flora and fauna but also countless recreational activities so that you can spend time outdoors.
Each park has something unique to offer.
Explore some of the state parks in South Dakota such as:
Bear Butte State Park: Located in Sturgis, the park is found along the Black Hills.
You’ll find such activities as horseback riding, hiking trails, fishing, and boating.
The park also has an education center to learn about the culture of the Northern Plain Indians as well as the geology of the mountain.
Fisher Grove State Park: Located in Frankfort, the park is home to one of the traditional rock river crossings for American Indians.
There is biking on park roads, canoeing and fishing in the river, golf at the neighboring Fisher Grove Country Club, and much more.
Good Earth State Park: Located in Sioux Falls, the park offers nature playscapes, historic sites, and hiking trails.
There’s also a large calendar of events throughout the year that focus on education, group hikes, and holiday fun.
Lake Herman State Park: Located in Madison, the park is home to a lake that was formed by melting glacial ice thousands of years ago.
Today, it is home to camping, fishing, boating, and even disc golf.
There are also camping cabins that can be reserved.
Sica Hollow State Park: Located in Sisseton, the park has a lot of history from the Sioux Indians.
Geocaching and birdwatching are some of the top activities, though the year-round park also offers hiking and biking trails.
The salary for a park ranger in South Dakota can vary dramatically.
On average, the annual salary is around $36,800.
According to salary.com, the average park ranger in Sioux Falls will earn a salary between $30,473 and $44,606.
The amount that you are capable of earning as a park ranger will depend heavily on the years of experience that you have, any special skills, as well as your education.Annual Salary Range:
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is the largest state park in South Dakota?
The largest state park in South Dakota is Custer State Park.
It is located in the Black Hills and encompasses 71,000 acres.
How many hours a week does the average park ranger work?
Most park rangers work an average of 40 hours a week.
There may be added requirements for weekends and holidays depending on the events going on during a particular time.
Are there any special certifications required to be a park ranger in South Dakota?
While it is not required, it is helpful if you have graduated from the National Park Service Seasonal Law Enforcement Training Program, also known as SLETP.
Is there a minimum age to work as a park ranger?
You will have to be at least 21 years of age whether you want to work for the state or for the federal government in one of the parks located in South Dakota.
How many state parks are there in South Dakota?
There are a total of 13 state parks as well as 43 recreational areas across the state of South Dakota.
Read the full guide: How to Become a Wildlife Conservationist