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Parks Services & Protection ATA Degree


Welcome to Parks Services & Protection

Associate in Technical Arts Degree Program

Have you always wanted to work in the great outdoors, providing care and stewardship to your region's treatures - its parks and recreation areas? Enroll in SVC's Parks Services and Protection program and begin your career! This degree prepares you for rewarding careers in visitor and resources operation and protection at all levels of government, tribal agencies and private industry.

Program Options

Whether you are new to park and recreation operations or protection, or a working professional in the field, SVC's program is designed to meet your needs. The department has many options for study.

  • Associate in Technical Arts degree in Parks Services and Protection
  • Parks Law Enforcement Academy Certificate. SVC is one of only ten academies in the United States that are approved by the National Park Service and Federal Law Enforcement Training Center to train persons for law enforcement protection duties. The certificate is also approved by Washington State Parks and other regional agencies. If you want to specialize in parks law enforcement, this is your program!

Program Learning Outcomes

Graduates of the Criminal Justice-Park Services and Protection Emphasis program will

  • Apply their knowledge and skill toward successful completion of a job application, resume and preparation for civil service testing procedures in local, state and federal land management professions which emphasize visitor and resources protection.
  • Communicate effectively in writing in order to document the condition of facilities and operations, or the actions of criminals, investigators, witnesses, victims, and members of the courtroom work group, and meet the requirements of the American court system.
  • Using critical thinking skills to understand and analyze verbal, non-verbal and cultural communications, effectively communicate with the public and respond to various problems, many of which may not be criminal in nature, and some of which may be adversarial.
  • Develop an understanding of the basic precepts of criminal law, authority and jurisdiction as it applies in the state of Washington between local, state, sovereign nations and the federal land management-based agencies.
  • Articulate the functions of park operations, management and protection in the United States in terms of its historical roots, structure, and contemporary issues.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the purpose, function, and historical evolution of the American Criminal Justice System in terms of the three major branches of criminal justice: police, courts, and corrections, and their relationships, similarities and differences.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the purpose, function, and historical evolution of the American park system, in terms of private, local, state, and federal agencies and their service priorities.
  • Utilizing critical thinking, information and technical literacy, and effective communications, discuss and demonstrate basic procedures related to the fields of maintenance, interpretation, and land management-based law enforcement, including investigative techniques, patrol procedures, interactive community policing and courtroom testimony.
  • Discuss ethics and professional conduct as related to law enforcement and corrections, including ethical dilemmas and paradoxes faced by criminal justice professionals.
  • Meet Social Science, Humanities, Physical Science, Written Communication, and Quantitative Reasoning distribution area outcomes.

Why Skagit Valley College?

  • Provides "hands-on" approach taught by experienced professionals in park settings.
  • Degree curriculum matches industry requirements for entry-level employment.
  • National Park Service and Federal Law Enforcement Training Center approved*
  • Highly qualified instructors with broad experience in recreational resources, park management and protection strategies.
  • Field training in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, including North Cascades National Park, Mount Baker National Forest, local States Parks and city and county park units.

Career Opportunities

SVC's graduates have been highly successful in securing employment with the National Park Service, Washington State Parks, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Everett City Parks and other agencies. Your career choices are varied and growing.

Graduates with a Parks Law Enforcement Academy Certificate will gain a competitive edge in seeking jobs with the various agencies in the law enforcement community.

  • Park Ranger
  • Forest Protection Officer
  • Park Manager
  • Forest Protection Officer
  • Seasonal Park Aide
  • Parks Interpretive Specialist
  • Park Technician
  • Grounds Maintenance Specialist
  • Landscape Technician
  • Construction & Maintenance Specialist
  • US Fish and Wildlife Agent