The ProRanger Program

The ProRanger Philadelphia Program is an academic and technical skills training and internship program that is cooperatively administered by the National Park Service and Temple University. The program was established to recruit, train and employ law enforcement park rangers for the National Park Service. National Park Service Law Enforcement Rangers are sworn, commissioned law enforcement officers whose duties include detection, investigation and apprehension of persons responsible for criminal activity as well as protecting parks' natural and cultural resources, educating the public and providing public safety services.

After successfully graduating from Temple University and meeting all program requirements and program standards, ProRangers are eligible for non-competitive conversion to a position as a Law Enforcement Ranger within the National Park Service. Students must apply for positions and be selected under the applicable hiring authority. There is no guarantee that a position will be obtained; however, it may be noted that all previous students who have successfully completed the program have obtained employment within the National Park Service.

Selected ProRangers will become part of an experiential learning cohort of 12 to 20 trainees. The program consists of the following elements:

  • "Certificate in National Park Service Management"
  • Consists of 4 courses as part of the ProRangers academic degree program and are taught during the academic year
    • History of the National Park Service [HIST 2214]
    • National Park Service: The Imperiled Promise [Tentative title] [HIST XXXX]
    • Law Enforcement and Federal Lands Management [Tentative title] [CJ XXXX]
    • Leadership and Communications: Critical Competencies for Law Enforcement [Tentative title] [AOD XXXX]
  • Includes an experimental course conducted through distance learning during the first summer internship:
    • Introduction to the National Park Service [PRAN 1577]
  • Completing two summer internships at parks (housing & stipend provided)
  • Attending Temple University's federally accredited seasonal law enforcement training program (tuition & stipend provided).
  • Completion of an indentified conservation project at an eligible national park
  • Participation in monthly programs and activities
  • Wearing provided uniform

* To see a full list of academic requirements for the certificate program, please visit the Undergraduate Bulletin.

While the primary duties of the ProRanger Philadelphia graduate is protecting people and property, ProRanger Philadelphia trainees do not have to be criminal justice majors, and students from any academic major or background may apply. More importantly, a ProRanger Philadelphia trainee will have an aptitude for working with people with diverse backgrounds, have an interest in the outdoors, history and the environment, and have a high standard of ethical behavior.

The National Park Service (NPS)

"On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the act creating the NPS. The "Organic Act" states that the fundamental purpose of the NPS "is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historical objects and the wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."
-Misson Statement

The national park system compromises 405 areas covering more than 84 million acres in every state, the Distric of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. These areas include national parks, monuments, battlefields, military parks, historical parks, historic sites, lakeshores, seashores, recreation areas, scenic rivers and trails, and the White House.

The NPS maintains 909 visitor centers and contact stations. (In 2013, nearly 274 million people visited national parks.) The budget for fiscal year 2010 was $3.2 billion. The NPS employs approximatley 22,000 permanent, temporary, and seasonal workers.

The National Park Ranger

"They are a fine, earnest, intelligent, and public-spirited body of men, these rangers. Though small in number, their influence is large. Many and long are the duties heaped upon their shoulders. If a trail is to be blazed, it is "send a ranger." If an animal is floundering in the snow, a ranger is sent to pull him out; if a bear is in the hotel, if a fire threatens a forest, if someone is to be saved, it is "send a ranger." If a Dude wants to know the why, if a Sagebrusher is puzzled about a road, it is "ask the ranger." Everything the ranger knows, he will tell you, ex-cept about himself." -Stephen Mather, First NPS Director

National Park Rangers are the front line managers and protectors of our cultural and natural heritage. Rangers supervise, manage and perform work in the conservation and use of resources in national parks, monuments, historic sites and other NPS managed areas. Park Rangers carry out various tasks associated with forest or structural fire control; protection of property; gathering and dissemination of natural, historical, or scientific information; development of interpretive material for the natural, historical, or cultural features of an era; demonstration of folk art and crafts; enforcement of laws and regulations; investigation of violations, complaints, trespass/encroachment, and accidents; search and rescue; and management of historical, cultural, and natural resources, such as wildlife, forests, lakeshores, seashores, historic buildings, battlefields, archaeological properties, and recreation areas. They also operate campgrounds, including such tasks as assigning sites, replenishing firewood, performing safety inspections, providing information to visitors, and leading guided tours. Differences in the exact nature of duties depend on the exact position, and the type of site the Ranger is stationed at.

Park Rangers work in urban, suburban, and rural areas. More than half of the Park Rangers work in areas east of the Mississippi River. Much of their work is performed outdoors, but often Rangers must work in offices, especially as they advance and assume more managerial responsibilities. During their careers, most Rangers can expect to be assigned to several different parts of the country.

The Law Enforcement Park Ranger

In many if not most parks, the law enforcement park ranger is the backbone of park operations. They are the people who keep the parks open, close the parks up, and ensure that the resources are protected now and for the future. They are also generally the face of the National Park Service to the visiting public. For many visitors, the only personal contact with employees of the National Park Service will be with a law enforcement park ranger.

You may find rangers behind the wheel of a patrol car, 4-wheel drive vehicle, or ATV, or piloting a boat anywhere in the United States. Their duties vary depending upon which of the many National Parks they are assigned to. A park ranger's typical duty day may require hiking the Appalachian Trail on a rescue mission, flying over Denali National Park in Alaska, or being out on boat patrol in the Florida Everglades.