How to Become a Park Ranger in Wisconsin

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How to Become a Park Ranger in Wisconsin

Wisconsin is pretty far north by American standards.

The Badger State borders Canada, two Great Lakes, and three other states.

That’s some pretty unique geography.

With 66 state parks stretching across 61,000 acres, Wisconsin is always in need of someone to watch over the wildlife and land.

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Of course, informing inquiring visitors about the parks is helpful, too.

If that sounds interesting, perhaps outdoor life is calling your name.

Follow along to learn more about how to become a park ranger in Wisconsin.

Requirements to Become a Park Ranger in Wisconsin

To start a career as a Wisconsin park ranger, applicants must be at least 18 and have an active driver’s license.

Prospective park rangers must also have a minimum of an associate’s degree with working experience in a related field for five years.

Any felonies or charges of domestic violence should not be on record.

Along with the basic requirements, an unwritten necessity to ensure success as a park ranger would be to have a love for the outdoors, in any weather.

A love for connecting with people and being available for anything in the park doesn’t hurt, either.

Park Ranger Duties in Wisconsin

There are 66 recreation and wildlife areas in Wisconsin that cover more than 61,000 acres.

Park rangers are responsible for protecting the state and national parks.

Their duty is to preserve the natural resources, ecosystems, and wildlife within the parks.

Part of that includes sharing information and history with the people who visit.

Rangers serve as law enforcement, environmental experts, and historians.

These responsibilities can include patrolling the park grounds, instructing guests on safety regulations, answering questions, giving tours, helping with a search and rescue mission, as well as working in the visitors’ center.

State Parks in Wisconsin

  • Amnicon Falls State Park
  • Aztalan State Park
  • Big Bay State Park
  • Big Foot Beach State Park
  • Blue Mound State Park
  • Brunet Island State Park
  • Buckhorn State Park
  • Copper Culture Mounds State Park
  • Copper Falls State Park
  • Council Grounds State Park
  • Devils Lake State Park
  • Governor Dodge State Park
  • Governor Nelson State Park
  • Hartman Creek State Park
  • High Cliff State Park
  • Interstate State Park
  • Kinnickinnic State Park
  • Lake Kegonsa State Park
  • Lake Wissota State Park
  • Lizard Mound State Park
  • Merrick State Park
  • Mill Bluff State Park
  • Mirror Lake State Park
  • Natural Bridge State Park
  • Nelson Dewey State Park
  • New Glarus Woods State Park
  • Newport State Park
  • Old Wade House State Park
  • Pattison State Park
  • Peninsula State Park
  • Perrot State Park
  • Pike Lake State Park
  • Potawatomi State Park
  • Rib Mountain State Park
  • Roche a Cri State Park
  • Rock Island State Park
  • Rocky Arbor State Park
  • Terry Andrae State Park
  • Tower Hill State Park
  • Wildcat Mountain State Park
  • Willow River State Park
  • Wyalusing State Park


If you want to be a park ranger in Wisconsin, you can expect to make about $40,238.

Depending on experience and where in Wisconsin the park is, applicants should plan for a salary range that starts at $33,000 and goes up to $49,000.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Milwaukee $40,643
Madison $40,238
Green Bay $39,395
Kenosha $40,343
Racine $40,343
Appleton $39,403
Waukesha $40,489
Oshkosh $39,148
Eau Claire $38,288
La Crosse $37,501

Regional Salary in Wisconsin

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Green Bay, WI30$68,460$32.91$95,180$44,720
Madison, WI240$72,340$34.78$94,850$38,880
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI100$59,170$28.45$84,990$34,630
* 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

Do all park rangers carry guns?

They are required to use protective equipment which includes various types of firearms, batons, pepper spray, and handcuffs.

Park rangers are regularly trained and tested in physical defensive tactics.

Unfortunately, they need to be prepared for anyone who comes to the park planning to partake in criminal activities.

For the safety of the park staff and visitors, park rangers are equipped to handle all situations.

What's the most popular park in Wisconsin?

Copper Falls State Park.

This park is as interesting as it is beautiful.

It was created by lava flows that created deep gorges across 3,000 acres.

Not only are there miles of trails and waterfalls, but tourists can also stay overnight in a log cabin.

As many as 250,000 people make it to Copper Falls each year.

Do park rangers have more authority than others?

Park rangers actually do have a little more authority than normal law enforcement.

They have to search and investigate campsites because most of their job is dealing with the public.

Rangers check for hunting permits or fishing licenses as well as collect fees.

They also have to check campfire safety, control any littering, and enforce leash laws.

What are the disadvantages of being a park ranger?

Not everyone that goes to the parks is part of a peaceful family of campers.

Criminals often go to state parks to run from the police, sell drugs, or commit other crimes.

Rangers may face assault when they attempt to arrest someone, check out a suspicious vehicle, or do something as simple as asking a camper to turn down their radio.

What skills do you need to be a ranger?

Well, first off, you need to enjoy being outdoors.

You need to be able to handle animals with confidence, connect with people, have good observation skills, and be interested in conservation.

It also helps to have an interest in science.

Another quality to aid in success is having strong observation and reporting skills.

Of course, that’s part of the scientific method.

Lastly, supervisory and organizational skills are a must.

USA Park Ranger by State

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