Frequently Asked Questions

Unique Characteristics and Benefits of NAU’s PRTP

·         50% of all seasonal and 25% of all permanent law enforcement rangers in the National Park Service are NAU Park Ranger Training Program (PRTP) graduates.

·         NAU’s program and location provides an excellent opportunity to visit several large national park sites.  NAU PRTP students have the opportunity to meet with the selecting officials at these parks to obtain information about the parks and job opportunities.    

·         In addition to the required NPS curriculum, all students complete optional training in rifle and electronic control devices.  The program adds an enhanced resource protection curriculum with a field trip to examine the application of resource protection theory and practices.

·         More than 20 highly-experienced instructors present the program’s courses.  These instructors are active or retired agents or from agencies that include the following: National Park Service, USDA-Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Arizona Game and Fish, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Agency, Arizona Department of Public Safety, Coconino County Sheriff’s Office, and Northern Arizona University Police Department. All are highly qualified in the subject area they teach.

·         The PRTP is an offering of NAU’s Park and Recreation Management program, one of the few that are nationally-accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism, and Related Professions.  The PRTP is accredited by the Federal Law Enforcement Training Accreditation Board and is approved by the National Park Service to provide the SLETP curriculum.

·         The PRTP is conducted with college credit and non-credit options to best meet the academic and financial needs of the students. 

·         NAU’s location cannot be beat as a year-round recreation destination.


Application Process

How do I apply for the program?

·         Download the application from the web site at

·         Complete the application, and attach your picture and resume. 

·         Have it notarized, include the application fee, and send it to the director.

When should I apply for the program?

·         Apply as soon as possible.  Some consideration in the ranking process is given for the date the application is received.

·         We have 26 positions in each class and we receive approximately 75 applications for each class.  A wait of six month to one year to get into the program is not unusual.

·         Applications are received on a continual basis with the selection for each class beginning approximately six months prior to the start of each session. 

What happens next?

·         Your application will be ranked on factors that consider NAU student status, quality of your written responses, quality of your resume, your education and experience, and your certifications (e.g., EMT, wildland fire).

·         The selection process begins approximately six months prior to each session.  Applicants are contacted by phone in the order of their ranking to check on their availability and to be interviewed.

·         Phone interviews are conducted and preliminary acceptance to the program is offered. 

·         Acceptance to the program is confirmed by completion of the medical examination and payment of program fees.

·         The remaining applications are kept on a wait list until they are placed into a subsequent class or are voluntarily withdrawn. 

How can I enhance my application?

·         While the ranking factors are not “hard and fast” prerequisites for the program, they help to select candidates that are best prepared for employment immediately following completion of the PRTP.  Consider obtaining experience and emergency services certifications prior to applying for the PRTP.

·         Carefully consider your written responses on the application and be sure to proofread both your application and resume.

·         Provide a cover letter explaining any extenuating circumstances that may positively influence our selection.

Credit or Non-Credit

NAU’s PRTP is offered as a credit and as a non-credit program.  What is best for me?

·         Credit Option

o   Perfect for those working toward an undergraduate degree

o   12 credit hours toward graduation

o   Requires admission to NAU (student admission) and payment of tuition (link to bursar’s office site)

·         Non-Credit Option

o   Great for those that already have an undergraduate degree

o   In many cases, this is a less expensive alternative

o   Admission to the university is not required, only an application directly to the program


Program Cost and Financial Aid

How much does the program cost?

·         Credit Option

o   The cost of the credit option includes your full-time tuition (credit tuition) and approximately $1,800 in additional course fees.  Tuition varies based on your state of residency.

·         Non-Credit Option

o   The non-credit option costs $8,500, regardless of residency.

What do the tuition and fees cover?

·         Course costs include all textbooks, equipment, and ammunition required for the program.

What do uniforms cost?

·         The uniform consists of a PRTP polo shirt and NPS pants and boots.  Approximate cost for these items is $300.

Is financial aid available for the PRTP?

·         Financial aid is available for the college credit option.

Will the GI Bill cover the program expenses?

·         Yes.  The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs regional office has approved the PRTP for GI Bill coverage.



Housing for the PRTP is by personal choice and is not included in the program cost.  Upon acceptance into the program, students will be given a list of housing options.  This list includes individuals that rent rooms in their homes exclusively to PRTP students and a few other locations that are optimal for the program.  Housing generally starts at $400 per month.

·         A detailed listing of housing options are on our Housing Information tab at Link to Housing page


Fall or Spring Semester?

The PRTP is offered in a condensed semester format with the program lasting approximately 16 weeks. 

·         Both semesters offer the same number of contact hours and same content.

·         Both include fitness classes three days per week.

·         Both generally meet Monday through Friday, 8:00 am-5:00 pm

·         The fall semester starts after the peak work season (late August) and concludes around Thanksgiving. The class meets on approximately 2/3's of the weekends.

·         The spring semester starts in mid-January and concludes by the end of April, prior to the peak work season. The class meets on approximately 2/3's of the weekends.

Job Placement and Outlook

The PRTP provides the training required to become eligible to apply for seasonal law enforcement positions in the National Park Service.  While we cannot guarantee employment, a very high percentage of students that have sought a job upon completion of the program have received at least a seasonal position.

·         The PRTP conducts application workshops and application/resume reviews to enhance students’ employment opportunities.

·         The PRTP works directly with parks to promote both the PRTP and its students.

·         The reality of the government’s economic condition may result in higher rates of hire for seasonal positions due to lower direct expense to parks than permanent positions.

·         Many students have been hired by a variety of federal and state land management agencies as a result of their PRTP training.