How To Become A Texas Ranger
Joining the Texas Rangers can be a challenging and rewarding career choice for those interested in pursuing a position in law enforcement. The Texas Rangers were officially formed in the 1800’s and continue to serve and protect the people of Texas to this day. To become a ranger you will have to currently work as a Texas State Trooper, have already met the training and education requirements, and make it through the selection process. Before you further consider becoming a Texas Ranger, it can be helpful to understand the duties, requirements, and qualifications that you will need in order to be successful.
Only those applicants who are currently employed by the Texas Department of Public Safety will be considered for the position of Texas Ranger. If you are not already in such a position, you will need to obtain one before applying.
Professional Experience and Skills
Becoming a Texas Ranger will require you to have already obtained professional experience and skills. Before your apply, make sure you have had at least eight years of previous professional experience working with a law enforcement agency. Having a level of high achievement and excellent performance ratings will increase your chances of becoming a Texas Ranger.
Education and Training
One requirement you must meet to join the Texas Rangers is eight years of experience working as a criminal investigator or law enforcement officer. Criminal investigators in Texas must have a degree and police officers have two options to entry: either be 21 years of age with a high school diploma or GED, or be at least 18 years of age and hold an associate degree.
Entrance Exam and Oral Interview
You must pass the entrance exam and only candidates with the highest passing scores will advance to the Oral Interview Board for further questioning before the final selections are made. Of note is very little recruiting is ever conducted for Texas Ranger roles, and it is common for many officers to apply for only a few openings.
Rangers are required to complete 40 hours of training every two years, but most Texas Rangers complete far more training than that. Many pursue forensic investigative training in such subjects as hypnosis, which has been used to solve criminal cases in the state.
Specialized Programs and Career Paths
Once you are accepted, there are several career paths that operate under the main Texas Rangers division. Candidates can choose from these special operations teams if they want to get trained and specialize in a particular area of law enforcement.
Texas Ranger Salary
Texas Rangers enter the field at what would be the equivalent to the rank of Sergeant in the Texas Department of Public Safety law enforcement chain of command. This is the minimum rank they can enter the unit, according to the TDPS website. The TDPS 2021-2023 Salary Schedule says the annual pay for a Step 1 entry-level Sergeant is $81,615. The top tier of experienced Sergeants (Step 5) earn $97,087 annually.
How many Texas Rangers are there?
Currently, out of the thousands of law enforcement officers in the state of Texas, there are 234 full time employees, 166 of whom are commissioned Rangers. This speaks to the elite status of the group, who despite their small number, have statewide jurisdiction.
Are there any women Texas Rangers?
Yes. In fact, in 2020 two women—Wende Wakeman and Melba Saena—were the first females to be promoted to Ranger captains in TDPS history.
What is the average age of a Texas Ranger?
The average age of a Texas Ranger in 2020 was 44 years of age.
How did the Texas Rangers start?
In the year 1823 there were approximately 600–700 people living in the Texas territory near the Mexican border. Stephen F. Austin, realizing these colonists were vulnerable, called them together to organize a group to provide protection to the settlers. Austin called this select group the Rangers because they ranged over the entire territory that became Texas and gave rise to the group currently known as the Texas Rangers. After the revolution and through 1840 the Rangers primary duty was to provide protection from the Indians. The term “Texas Ranger” did not appear officially in a piece of legislation until 1874.
If you want to learn more about Texas Ranger history, or how to become a Texas Ranger, the following resources are a great place to start:
- Texas Department of Public Safety–Texas Rangers: Read the history, find requirements for the job and learn what you’ll need to do to join this elite special team of law enforcement.
- What Texas Rangers Do–Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum: Home of the Texas Rangers Museum where you can study cases, read histories, buy merchandise and find out what you’ll need to know from the Texas Rangers themselves.