For the United States Park Service:This very much depends on what division you work for, what type of park you work at, as well as what location you work in that park if it is a large park.In the old days park rangers were generalist and did everything: this included, acting as historians, environmental researchers, public educators, doing maintenance on facilities, enforcing park rules/laws and acting in emergencies such as fire, search & rescue, and medical emergencies. Many State and local Park Services still have generalist rangers that are expected to do all of these as part of their job but the National Park Service has since divided up its “Rangers” or employees into 5 broad divisions. There are still some small National park Units (e.g. Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot National Monuments) or remote areas inside larger parks (e.g. Dog Canyon in Guadalupe Mountain National Park) where an NPS ranger is expected to do all of these things but they are very rare. So the groups are:Administration:These people are the office workers that work behind the scenes. They include accountants, lawyers, IT professionals, Administrative Assistants (secretaries), Human Resource people and everyone else that all large companies and agencies have that members of the public rarely see. In large parks some of these people are found at the headquarters area in the park (e.g. Mammoth, in Yellowstone) other places they are found in an office building in the nearest city by the park and still others are found in the Regional (Atlanta, Anchorage, Denver, Omaha, Philadelphia, Washington DC) or National offices (Denver or Washington DC).These are permanent positions and work would be like any other white collar job. They may or may not have to wear the uniform on a daily basis if they are not in the public eye. In general these workers are not offered government housing (unless they work in a large remote park without services near by) and live in the local commuting area in a self provided house.Maintenance:This division has both skilled (plumbers, electricians, carpenters, mansions, mechanics, etc) and unskilled (law mowing, janitors) labor workers that keep the facilities running. They can be seasonal or permanent workers and usually work something similar to a regular 9-5 Monday-Friday shift. The exceptions are usually seasonal maintenance workers that are tasked with janitorial and grounds keeping work on the weekends. In large remote parks the seasonal maintenance workers are usually provided on park housing while the permanent staff live off park in self provided housing. Remote park locations usually have one or two permanent maintenance staff that are required to live on park in park housing in case of a maintenance related emergency.In the summer time some large remote parks hire seasonal Trail-crew workers. These workers work in teams to repair old, and build new, hiking trails. These workers usually are provided park housing when not on the trail. However, depending on the park they may only take day trips to fix trails, or they may be on the trail for weeks at a time and thus required to camp on site with the trail crew for extended periods.Resource Management:This branch includes most of the park academics and the Wildland Firefighters. Most wildland firefighters are seasonal hires and like most seasonal NPS workers are provided seasonal housing on the park that they are working at. Their bosses are usually permanent employees and most of them live off park with possible exceptions of those in very remote large parks. Wild-land fire fighters schedules can very greatly depending on location. Some spend most days doing maintenance or working-out on their shift. Other times they do controlled burns of rangeland to prevent larger fires. Most of them are hoping for the big one to rage. Usually they respond to wildfires on their home park but during wildfire season they can be shipped to anywhere across the country where a large wildfire is burning and must be responding (in travel) within 24 hours. Once on a fire they will usually live in whatever accommodations are provided, usually a tent city, and be sent out to work for days at a time working on fire lines, manning helicopter equipment, or doing whatever job position they are assigned to fill. They get hazard pay while working on a fire so they come back with a sizable pay check.The rest of the Resource Management Division are mostly academics like geologist, biologist, historians, archaeologist etc. They usually consist of a permanent staff of highly degreed people (Masters or PhD types) and a seasonal staff consisting of those with Bachelor's degrees or above in various subjects. This is the job category that requires the most formal education. Their work hours can vary depending on what project they are working on and they may spend only a few hours in the field or have to take overnight camping trips for weeks at a time depending on the requirements of the job. These are the people that produce scientific peer reviewed papers on all the research or discoveries of the park. As for housing permanent workers usually prtheir own off park (unless in an extremely remote area) and seasonal workers usually have government housing on the park (unless working at a small urban park). These workers mostly work in the field behind the scenes and are not usually required to wear the uniform unless they are in the public eye.Resource management also employs workers (usually seasonal) to check for and eradicate invasive species. This can mean jobs such as checking boats for zebra mussels, hunting pigs, or spraying herbicide on invasive plants. Closely related are technicians that try to limit the interactions with dangerous wildlife such as bears in parks with campers and heavy bear populations. Usually these employees are back at home at the end of the day.Interpretation/Education/ Visitor Assistance:For the most part these workers are the public face of the National Park Service. There are both permanent and seasonal positions and they are responsible for operating the entrance stations, campgrounds, visitor centers, creating and providing educational programs to all ages, and guiding visitors on hikes. They are also responsible for creating educational signs and exhibits around the park. These Rangers usually work a normal shift and then go home at the end of the day. As usual seasonal rangers get park housing (except in urban parks) and permanent rangers live off park (except in very remote areas of large parks). Experience in Natural resources, history, education, presenting to large and small groups and the ability to speak foreign languages are sought after in these jobs. Some parks have “Environmental Education” positions that generally do the same educational type of thing geared towards school children and do outreach to schools.Visitor and Resource Protection:These Rangers are commonly called “Law Enforcement” or “Protection” Rangers. They are the rangers that carry guns and handguffs like a police officer and are responsible for enforcing the law. The extent of the laws that they enforce gets complicated and changes depending on the park and the type of jurisdiction it has. In general these rangers are park police officers at a minimum. After that they may or may not be responsible for other things. In inner city parks they usually only enforce park rules. In remote parks they may also be required to enforce state laws and may be responsible for Emergency Medical Care, Structural Firefighting, and Search and Rescues.Protection Rangers can be classified as front-country or back-country. Backcountry rangers are the most like traditional rangers and may hike, canoe, or ride a horse into the backcountry and be stationed out there for weeks to months at a time depending on the schedule set by the management.Front-country rangers are much more like park police they work shifts and are home everyday at the end of the shift. In urban parks that’s the end of the story--go to work do your shift and you’re done. You then get to go to your own home and forget about work until tomorrow. In rural/wilderness parks Protection rangers, both seasonal and permanent, are usually required to live on the park. This is so they can respond to call-outs that can occur at all times of the day and night regardless of if they are “on-duty” or not. In this way the park service keeps rangers always available without them actually having to be paid to be “on-call” like a professional fire fighter sitting in a station would be.Law enforcement rangers at minimum need to have taken and passed, within 3 years, an NPS Seasonal ranger academy but may also be required to have many other Emergency Medical and Search and Rescue certifications depending on the job.***All permanent Firefighting and Law Enforcement officers (wildland fire and LE rangers) in the federal government have 6C retirement which means a mandatory retirement at 57 and you have to be originally hired into a permanent 6c covered position before your 37th birthday unless you get a voucher for completing military service.That is the basics. But as stated earlier the job can vary a great deal from park to park. In some parks Law Enforcement is the only staff that does all emergency services. In other parks Search and Rescue, EMS, and Fire Fighting may be partly or mostly staffed with Interpretation Rangers, Scientist, or Maintenance staff. In some parks the divisions get along great in others they never talk to each other out of inter-departmental spite.There are some positions that are found in some places and not others like:-Rangers specifically employed to do Search and Rescue (PSAR in Shenandoah, Rock climbers in Yosemite)-Unarmed rangers that do back-country patrols (Sequoia, Shenandoah)-Animal Packers and caretakers (Yellowstone, Yosemite, Sequoia, Grand Canyon (horses/mules) Denali (dogs), etc)*************************************************************************************Lifestyle and Living situations:-Job Security:Legally seasonal positions can only last a maximum of 6 months. In reality the positions usually only last for 4 months. This means Seasonal workers are constantly looking ahead, planning, and applying for jobs. There are a lot of seasonal park ranger jobs in the summer but few in the winter so that leads to a lot of unemployed or alternatively employed park rangers in the winter season. Seasonal workers do not get the benefits (health insurance, retirement, etc) that a permanent worker gets.In terms of job security for workers with permanent positions‡ like most fully employed Federal Employees—they have a job throughout the year that caries over until you quit, retire, or get fired. That job comes with some relatively good protections (thanks to the 4th Amendment) and decent benefits (retirement, Health Insurance, etc) as long as you make it through your first 1–2 years which is considered a “probationary period.” Within a probationary period you can be fired at the drop of a hat unless your work area has some sort of Union protection. Unionization is on a park by park basis and sometimes only applies to certain departments. Most parks don’t have them but some do.Permanent Law enforcement rangers also don't really have job security until they have completed the LMPT training at FLETC and then Field Training after that. This usually happens 2–3 years into your permanent job and long after the ranger has already been through at least the original seasonal academy (which teaches the same stuff as FLETC) and years of seasonal law enforcement work (which is really the same job as permanent law enforcement work). In Field training a field trainer that doesn't like you can fail you for anything or nothing. If you think you’ll only be failed out of field training because of poor skill performance and not personal grudges, retaliation, or because your field trainer just doesn’t like something about you, you’re living in a fantasy. If you are failed out of Field Training (which may take place on your home park or a park you’ve never been to before) you will be banned from ever working as a law enforcement ranger in any capacity (seasonal or permanent) for life despite having already been a solid seasonal and permanent ranger for years by that time.-HOUSING:For staff that live off park the job is like any other job in that you do work for 8 hours a day 5 days (or some other version of 40 hours) a week and go home at the end of the day to have your own life like any other 9–5 job.For workers that live on the park it is an entirely different story (especially for permanent employees):Staff that live on the park are issued “apartments.” These “apartments” are sometimes stand alone houses, sometimes historic quarters, sometimes trailer homes, sometimes RVs, and often times townhouses (usually single story). Seasonal employees may get their own “apartment” but usually end up having at least a housemate if not a roommate.Permanent employees usually end up getting their own “apartment” and can live there with a family if they have one. The rent for apartments is deducted from your paycheck (for both seasonal and permanent staff) and the government does some funky math to base the rental rates off the rental rates of the “surrounding area” not the market value of your particular apartment (as the apartment is not on the market) or how well it is kept up. So, you may be assigned to live in run down trailer near a resort town. If so you’ll likely be paying a lot for your cramped junk pile. On the other hand if you get assigned to live in a new building (VERY RARE with the current budget) or a historical building that is required to be well kept up at a park near a lower income area of the country you could pay relatively little on rent for a pretty nice place.-Work/home Life:If you are living on the park your work and home life WILL BLEND MORE THAN NOT. Just how much depends on your job position and how remote your park is. The closer you are to a city/town the more non-park related outlets you’ll have but remote locations mean the park becomes your work life as well as your only source or recreation when not working.If you are a back-country ranger so long as you go in and check out of the field at the right time and call/radio into dispatch at your appointed times you’re on your own. You can do your job how you see fit with very little oversight but you need to be comfortable with living off the grid with no company, modern conveniences, or connection with the outside world for extended periods of time. Working without vehicles and without power tools in a “designated Wilderness” You'll probably burn a lot of calories each day. So you'll need to plan how to get the needed food into the back country and keep it from spoiling without refrigeration. While in the back country you will to some extent always be on duty.As for front-country rangers that live on park it is essentially like living in a remote small town where all your neighbors are also your coworkers and your employer owns everything, including the house you pay rent on and the utilities. So the Park is your boss, landlord, maintenance personal, the utility company, the fire department, as well the Local, State, and Federal law enforcement. This means that they have access to your house at all times thanks to the housing contract you had to sign when you got the job. Did I mention that your coworkers and supervisor may also be your next door neighbor so disputes between neighbors or roommates are also office disputes and vice versa. They are all the same thing and many a time I’ve come into the office to my boss talking to me about a disagreement I had with my “neighbor” or “housemate.”So if you and your coworkers are all friendly agreeable types that see yourselves on the same team working for a common goal the neighborhood is great (cookouts, parties, camping and hiking with the neighbors/friends, exploring parts of the park not seen by visitors). It really can be an awesome life. However, eventually leadership will change, someone will get on someone’s nerves, or someone will do something to cross someone with power (i.e. a supervisor, LE Ranger, or a spouse of the previous two). When that happens Camelot crumbles really fast. Now, because you live at work with only your coworkers and no one else, there is no escape from the turmoil.In my experience it was better to be seasonal in this aspect because you got to leave before the crud started to stack up too high and intradepartmental politics didn’t see you as a threat because the “career guys” knew you’d be gone in 6 months. So even if they didn't like you they won't target you no matter how bad you made them look (due to your skills or lack there of) since you will never threaten their career advancement. But for a permanent if you get on the wrong side of the wrong person you’ll lose everything (career, house, neighbors, friends, retirement, health benefits) especially during your probational period or as a permanent LE Ranger that still has to go through FLETC and Field Training.Michael Hess is absolutely right about park management. For someone living on the park the Park Superintendent is an all powerful being. In the unlikely event you find a wise and benevolent one you enjoy it while you can and hope s/he doesn't leave or get forced out by the politicians before you leave. If you get a bad superintendent‡ you bide your time, keep your head down, and if you can—plan your escape before the situation consumes you (because it will).Additionally, for all employees despite the fact that as a Park Service employee you can't officially comment about the politicians in D.C. they have an enormous impact on your life both on an off park. The stupidity includes:Government shutdowns (you might get laid-off or may have to work through them and when it’s over you may or may not get paid regardless if you worked or not).Executive orders: good or bad one order and your job changes. Lately they’ve included orders to misinform the public “you can’t say anything about ‘Global Warming‡ or ‘Sea level rise” (Thanks Trump).Half your National Monument just got given away (Thanks Zinke/Trump).Congressional hearings They may be competent hearings or just showroom political antics but you still have to put up with them and their very real consequences.Bureaucratic directives: Like Executive Orders they may be good or bad but they change on a whim (usually of the new boss or politician that comes into power wanting to make a name for himself) hopefully your job or project you’ve been working on for years isn’t blown away with them.Budget Cuts: Your still expected to do the same job but now with half the staff. The result usually leads to an eventual raise in entrance fees to make up for the difference. Make no mistake these cuts and resulting rate hikes are political games planned by moneyed elites. They serve to limit the people that will be able to enjoy the park making your public park more of just another playground for the rich. The high price then gives those rich people more of an excuse to “privatize” the park. The privatization starts with the services in the park and then moves to justifications to privatize the park itself. Thus depriving the population even more from their right to their own country’s heritage. Consider this a warning to the average American. If you aren’t vigilant and don’t protect your public lands you will loose them and the freedom to roam and explore that comes with them.