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Park Naturalist

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What Do Park Naturalist Do?

Career Description Plan, develop, and conduct programs to inform public of historical, natural, and scientific features of national, state, or local park.

Park Naturalist Responsibilities

  • Develop environmental educational programs and curricula for schools.
  • Plan, organize and direct activities of seasonal staff members.
  • Research stories regarding the area’s natural history or environment.
  • Compile and maintain official park photographic and information files.
  • Survey park to determine forest conditions and distribution and abundance of fauna and flora.
  • Assist with operations of general facilities, such as visitor centers.

What Skills Do You Need to Work as a Park Naturalist?

These are the skills Park Naturalists say are the most useful in their careers:

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Types of Park Naturalist

  • Education Specialist
  • Park Interpretive Specialist
  • Environmental Education Specialist
  • Ranger
  • Naturalist

Park Naturalist Job Outlook

In the United States, there were 22,300 jobs for Park Naturalist in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 6.3% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 1,400 new jobs for Park Naturalist by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 2,000 job openings in this field each year.

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The states with the most job growth for Park Naturalist are Colorado, New Hampshire, and Utah. Watch out if you plan on working in Rhode Island, New Mexico, or Maryland. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Park Naturalist Average Salary

The typical yearly salary for Park Naturalists is somewhere between $34,020 and $98,450.

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Park Naturalists who work in Connecticut, Alaska, or New Jersey, make the highest salaries.

How much do Park Naturalists make in different U.S. states?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $59,310
Alaska $93,390
Arizona $71,190
Arkansas $70,630
California $75,980
Colorado $71,170
Connecticut $87,710
Delaware $55,300
Florida $40,620
Georgia $69,390
Hawaii $68,360
Idaho $66,510
Illinois $63,840
Indiana $63,320
Iowa $56,820
Kansas $68,910
Kentucky $67,440
Louisiana $61,430
Maine $61,970
Maryland $79,070
Massachusetts $72,200
Michigan $63,460
Minnesota $72,650
Mississippi $54,870
Missouri $57,580
Montana $64,480
Nebraska $65,300
Nevada $61,670
New Hampshire $72,160
New Jersey $85,360
New Mexico $68,710
North Carolina $61,780
North Dakota $64,900
Ohio $55,550
Oklahoma $64,330
Oregon $76,790
Pennsylvania $55,200
South Carolina $56,220
South Dakota $62,390
Tennessee $68,440
Texas $57,990
Utah $63,720
Vermont $55,150
Virginia $75,370
Washington $65,120
West Virginia $50,210
Wisconsin $65,610
Wyoming $71,180

What Tools do Park Naturalists Use?

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Park Naturalists may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Web browser software
  • Data entry software
  • Email software
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat
  • Point of sale POS software
  • Mapping software
  • Adobe Systems Adobe PageMaker

Becoming a Park Naturalist

Education needed to be a Park Naturalist:

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How Long Does it Take to Become a Park Naturalist?

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Park Naturalists Sector

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The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.

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References:

Image Credit: Lynn Betts via Photo by Lynn Betts, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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