Forest or wildlife rangers protect and conserve wildlife in the forest. They also give information to visitors and lead guided walks. In Forestry and Land Scotland they are called wildlife rangers.
You could be:
looking after habitats in the forest to protect existing birds and animals and encourage others to settle
identifying tree diseases and areas of damage caused by pests
controlling pests which might damage habitats, possibly using pesticides
controlling numbers of animals, such as deer, possibly using a gun
working with the police to catch poachers or anyone disturbing or killing wildlife or stealing birds’ eggs
checking footpaths, gates, stiles or signposts for damage and arranging any repair work
assisting with environmental surveys, such as habitat monitoring or plant disease
raising awareness of conservation and the environment through events and activities.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
Salaries for assistant rangers are around £17,000 a year.
The Forestry and Land Scotland salary for Forest or Wildlife Rangers on pay band 6a is around £24,500 to £26,000 a year.
With a local authority you might earn around £23,000 to £28,000 a year.
Although you would work from an office or visitor centre, most of your time would be outdoors.
The conditions would often be wet, muddy, cold or windy.
You would usually work a 44-hour flexible five-day week.
Shifts may be worked over a 24-hour period and you may have to work evenings and weekends.
Many jobs are based in country areas, away from major towns, and some may be in remote locations.
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Entry can be competitive and some forest or wildlife rangers start as forest workers. Trainee posts are sometimes available. A good general education is useful, and it can also be helpful to have some subjects at National 4 or 5.
You could take a full time course leading to NC/NQ (SCQF Levels 4-6), HNC (SCQF Level 7) or HND (SCQF Level 8) before applying for a job. Entry requirements for NC vary from no formal qualifications to 5 subjects at National 4 or 5. For an HNC or HND it is usually 1-2 Highers or an NC.
West Highland College offers an NQ in Countryside skills with Ranger Training.
Previous experience, usually as a forest worker, is necessary. You could do relevant voluntary work to get experience, for example with
Forestry and Land Scotland, the National Trust for Scotland or The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) Scotland. For wildlife ranger posts a qualification in wildlife management or gamekeeping may be helpful.
You usually need a full, clean driving licence.
You should be fit as there is a lot of active outdoor work, usually over rough ground.
You will require a satisfactory criminal record check from Disclosure Scotland to show that you are suitable for this type of work. Contact
Disclosure Scotland for details on the type you would need. You would need to obtain the necessary licence in order to use a shotgun.
You would work for Forestry and Land Scotland, a forestry company or private estate, a local authority, a government agency or a conservation organisation.
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You should be:
interested in wildlife and the environment
willing to work outdoors in all weathers
practical and good with your hands
aware of health and safety issues
aware of laws and regulations relating to wildlife management and conservation
able to work alone and as part of a team
willing to carry out tasks necessary for controlling pests and animal numbers
good at communicating.
Training is normally on the job through an employer’s training scheme.
You may also do various short courses, for example on the law regarding wildlife.
With experience you may be able to become a head forest or wildlife ranger in a large forest or on a big estate.
You may move into other related jobs in the environmental and conservation fields.
Forestry and Land Scotland is the biggest employer of forest or wildlife rangers in Scotland. Vacancies are posted on the
Civil Service Jobs website and on the Forestry and Land Scotland website. Video
The following organisations may be able to provide further information.
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