Department of Environmental Conservation

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Forest Ranger 1

Job Description

DEC forest ranger fighting fire

Forest rangers are sworn police officers, who work within an assigned geographic area, and enforce provisions of the Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) in order to protect and enhance the State's lands and natural resources and the well-being of the public who use these resources. Incumbents of these positions organize and conduct search and rescue operations; educate the public in wilderness safety and natural resource care; and administer the State's wildland fire-management program, including wildfire suppression and prescribed fire activities.

These positions are only classified at the Department of Environmental Conservation in the Division of Forest Protection. These positions are assigned to each of the Department's nine regions.

Job Qualifications

In order to qualify for a Forest Ranger 1 position, the candidate must either possess a bachelor's or higher level degree including or supplemented by 30 semester credit hours in environmental science*;


An associate's or higher level degree in environmental engineering, forest engineering, forest management, forest recreation, forest technology, forestry, or natural resource management;


An associate's or higher level degree including or supplemented by 18 semester credit hours in environmental science*;

and one of the following:

two years of qualifying technical/professional work experience in the natural resources management field**;


two years of active United States military service with an honorable discharge.


*For the purpose of this examination, environmental science includes: forestry, forest management, forest recreation, forest resources technology, forest fire management, forest engineering, environmental engineering, environmental education, fish or wildlife biology, fish or wildlife management, and natural resource management.

Environmental science for the purpose of this exam does NOT include but is not limited to: animal science, anthropology, archeology, astronomy, chemistry, climatology, earth science, engineering (except environmental or forest), geology, human biology, limnology, mathematics, medical biology, physics, social sciences, space science, or zoology.

**Examples of experience that will NOT qualify as natural resource management experience are: lawn mowing, landscaping, tree and brush trimming, pesticide application, sawing firewood, farm hand and other types of experience that are categorized as laborer or maintenance work in a garden shop, park, or forestry setting.

DEC forest ranger at trail head

Additional Requirements

  • Physical/Medical - Candidates must be physically strong and active. Candidates must be able to pass a qualifying medical examination and a physical ability test prior to consideration for appointment.
  • Character - Because of the duties of this position, a thorough character background investigation and psychological evaluation will be made of successful candidates.
  • License Requirement - Candidates must possess a valid license to operate a motor vehicle in New York State at the time of appointment.
  • Age Requirement - At appointment, you must be a resident of New York State and at least 21 years old.
  • Residency - Forest Rangers work in assigned Ranger Districts. Upon appointment, the candidates will be required to reside within the position's district.


The current hiring rate is $59,448.

These positions exist in the Department of Environmental Conservation at numerous locations throughout the State.

Promotional Opportunities

Forest Ranger 1 is the entry level job title in the Forest Ranger series. Promotional opportunities are available through competitive examination and satisfactory service.

Application Procedures

The position of Forest Ranger 1 is filled through the use of eligible lists resulting from a written examination administered by the Department of Civil Service. For additional information on Civil Service Examinations, see the links leaving DEC's website to "Civil Service Exam Announcements," "Civil Service Exam Notification," and "Civil Service FAQ's" on the right side of this page.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Is An Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action Employer