Login

Park Naturalists: Job Duties & Career Requirements

Park naturalists help the public understand the historic, natural and scientific significance of parks. They determine how best to plan, organize and direct programs whether through verbal presentations, practical demonstrations or interactive programs. Read on to learn more about this profession.

View popular schools

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Cultural Studies
  • Ethnic and Gender Studies
  • Geography and Cartography
  • Human and Consumer Sciences
  • Human and Social Services
  • Liberal Arts, Humanities, and General Studies
  • Military Studies
  • Parks, Recreation and Leisure Studies
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Religious Studies
  • Social Science and Studies
  • Social Studies and History
  • Theological, Religious, and Ministerial Studies

Career Definition for Park Naturalist

The goal of a park naturalist is to generate interest in the environment and natural world. Park naturalists do this by highlighting historical, ecological or scientific features of outdoor surroundings by organizing nature walks, camping trips, crafts or outdoor skills. Many visit local classrooms to introduce children to the outdoors and teach them of its importance.

Required Education Bachelor's in environmental education or wildlife biology
Job Skills Ability to communicate with diverse audiences, experience teaching, and passion for environmental issues
Median Salary (2015)* $61,110 (conservation scientists)
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 7% (foresters and conservation scientists)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Knowledge of the principles of natural history is required to be an informed park naturalist. Most positions require a bachelor's degree in environmental education or wildlife biology and include coursework such as environmental science, ecology, vegetation and earth science. Typically those hired on a full-time basis begin as a volunteer or seasonal worker according to the Department of Natural Resources.

Skills Required

A love for the environment and the ability to share that passion and knowledge with the public is the main skill required for a career as a park naturalist. It's crucial to feel comfortable making presentations, giving lectures and leading tours. Key to success as a park naturalist is an ability to identify and describe points of interests to groups in a way that will hold their interest, which is why teaching experience is also recommended.

Career and Economic Outlook

Jobs in this field are highly coveted despite their relatively low wages due to the flexibility, diversity, outdoor work environment and constant challenges and rewards. Those holding the position should be prepared to work weekends, evenings and holidays. Most park naturalists pursue this line of work for the love of nature, not money. The job outlook and pay will largely depend on the level of specialized training in environmental science, forestry, or conservation techniques.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that, as of May 2015, trained foresters brought in a median annual income of $58,230, while conservation scientists earned $61,110. There is average job growth of 7% expected for foresters and conservation scientists over the 2014-2024 decade. Much job growth is expected to be centered in state and local government-owned forest lands.

Alternate Career Options

Forest and Conservation Worker

With a high school diploma or its equivalent, in addition to on-the-job training, these workers are supervised by foresters and technicians and work towards maintaining, developing and protecting forests. Slower than average job growth of 4% was predicted by the BLS from 2014-2024, and an annual median salary of $26,190 was reported in 2015.

Firefighter

Those interested in a career as a firefighter should earn a high school diploma and emergency medical technician (EMT) certification. Some locations offer apprenticeships, and extensive on-the-job training is required for all firefighters. Other certifications may also be available, and some individuals start out as volunteer firefighters. In 2015, the BLS revealed a median annual wage of $46,870 for firefighters, but predicted average job growth of 5% from 2014-2024.

Next: View Schools

What is your highest level of education?

Some College
Complete your degree or find the graduate program that's right for you.
High School Diploma
Explore schools that offer bachelor and associate degrees.
Still in High School
Earn your diploma of GED. Plan your undergraduate education.

Schools you may like:

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

  • What is your highest level of education?

  • What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Master of Liberal Arts

    What is your highest level of education?

  • What is your highest level of education completed?

    • M.Ed in Curriculum & Instruction - Social Studies

    What is your highest level of education?

    • M.B.A. with an Emphasis in Sports Business
    • BS in Sports Management
    • Bachelor of Arts in History for Secondary Education (ITL)

    What is your highest level of education?

    • B.S. General Studies - Liberal Arts
    • B.S. General Studies - History
    • A.S. General Studies - Liberal Arts
    • A.S. General Studies - History
    • Undergraduate Certificate - General Studies

    What is your highest level of education?

    • Bachelor of Arts in English - History
    • Bachelor of Arts in History
    • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies
    • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies - History
    • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies - Interdisciplinary Studies

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Associate of Arts

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Bachelor of Arts - Political Science

    What is your highest level of education?

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?