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Park Ranger Recruitment Information

Park Ranger applicant must meet the following qualifications to be considered for Park Ranger (full-time).
  • At least 21 years old at the time of appointment.
  • A valid United States driver's license and the ability to obtain a valid California Class C Drivers License by date of hire.
  • U.S. high school diploma or general education diploma (GED). Waived, if you have a college degree, from an accredited college within the U.S.
  • Two (2) years of undergraduate course work from an accredited college or university. This is equivalent to at least 60 semester units or 90 quarter units. Veterans and active military personnel may substitute this requirement if they:
    • Have served in the Air Force, Army, Marines, Navy, or Coast Guard AND
    • Have completed four (4) years of active military duty AND
    • Have received an honorable discharge from the United States Military.

U.S. Citizenship or permanent resident

No felony, domestic violence, misdemeanor assault convictions or currently on probation or parole.


Candidates who successfully complete the application screening process will be invited to a pre-background screening meeting with a background investigator, oral board exam and writing sample exercise. The pre-screening consists of a series of questions on criminal history and unlawful drug use to determine your suitability.

The oral board exam is a panel interview which an applicant will be asked five to eight questions, covering all the key areas of the generalist park ranger such as resource management, interpretation, law enforcement, emergency medical care and public service.

The writing practical will require the candidate to read and interpret a situation and prepare a written response within a set time period. The sample may be based on any park related situation; content, spelling and grammar are evaluated.

Applicants who successfully complete the Pre-Screening/ Oral Board Exam/Writing Sample will be placed on an eligibility list or invited to a second interview prior to starting the Background Investigation Process. Candidates selected to proceed to the Background Investigation Process will be notified approximately two to three weeks after the last oral board exam of the testing cycle.

The background investigation process begins upon successful passing of the testing process. Candidates will be given instructions to complete the Personal History Statement (PHS) (otherwise known as the background packet) and instructions on making an appointment for Live Scan fingerprinting. Upon completion and submission of the PHS, candidates will be assigned to a Background Investigator. (The San Jose Park Ranger Program does not accept a PHS from other agencies).

The San Jose Department of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services is committed to providing our community with the highest quality Park Rangers. Our goal is to employ a work force comprised of individuals who are committed to excellence and have the highest standard of ethics.

It is imperative that all information an applicant provides is truthful and accurate; omission of facts is considered to be untruthful. Any measurement short of this falls below our standard and can be grounds for disqualification.
A background inquiry can include but is not limited to the following:
  • Driving history
  • Landlords
  • Education transcripts
  • Roommates
  • Friends and family references
  • Other acquaintances
  • Current and past employers
  • Immigration / Nationalization
  • Credit
  • Military
  • Past relationships
  • Polygraph Interview
  • Criminal history both adult and juvenile

During the course of the background inquiry it will be also be necessary to for candidates to complete a polygraph assessment to determine suitability to work as a peace officer. Once the background inquiry is complete, the results will be reviewed by the hiring board for conditional job offers.

Candidates who successfully complete the background process will receive a offer of employment conditional upon successful completion of a pre-employment medical exam and a psychological assessment for suitability to work as a Peace Officer Park Ranger.

Following completion of the pre-employment medical exam and the psychological assessment, a final review will be conducted by the hiring board for employee selection. Candidates selected will be given notice of their start day and new employee orientation and be scheduled for the Park Ranger Academy.

Newly hired Park Rangers must attend the Santa Rosa Park Ranger Academy. Park Rangers are considered City of San Jose employees while in the Academy and will earn $27.35 an hour. The Academy is an 18-week program located in Windsor, California. The City provides academy uniforms, housing, and a stipend for meals during the training period. The training is conducted 5 days per week from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm with some training conducted after hours and on weekends. Park Rangers in training will be required to provide their own daily transportation with mileage reimbursement for Academy related travel. Click here for more information about the Santa Rosa Park Ranger Academy. Upon graduating from the Santa Rosa Park Ranger Academy, Park Rangers will then enter the Field Training Program.

The Field Training Officer (FTO) program is the “street” training for Park Rangers who have just graduated from the academy. This is a period where newly graduated Park Ranger will take what they learned in the academy and apply it to the park environment. For lateral Park Rangers, this is a period of preparation, training, transition, and integration into the San Jose Park Ranger Program. New Park Rangers in the FTO program will be assigned to experienced San Jose Park Ranger Field Training Officers for a 12-week training period. Daily evaluations are given to document progress through this training period. Our FTO program structure is made up of two phases:

  • Phase One - The first six weeks will be with the primary FTO, where new Park Rangers begin working towards being a solo patrol ranger. FTO's will train and evaluate their performance in the field. FTO’s will provide daily evaluations as well as cumulative evaluations at regular intervals.
  • Phase Two- The new Park Ranger will be assigned to a second FTO for an additional six week period in a new assignment. New Park Rangers will continue working as a patrol Rangers for four weeks while their FTO continues to train and evaluate their performance in the field. During the final two weeks of Phase Two the new Park Ranger will function as the lead member of the patrol team and be evaluated by their FTO.

Upon successful completion of the Field Training Program a new Park Ranger will be sent to their first field assignment to complete their probationary period. At the end of the one-year probationary period a final evaluation will be completed to determine if the new Park Ranger will be retained as a permanent employee.