How To Become A Texas Ranger

You’ve seen them and heard about them in all kinds of movies and TV shows, but if you really want to be a Texas ranger, then how do you make it happen?

You don’t have to be Chuck Norris (though it helps!) but there are actually quite a few requirements you’ll need to be aware of.  These range from formal, legal requirements to informal requirements of character. 

In this article, we’ll go through them, so you know what your roadmap is to becoming a Texas Ranger.  Let’s get into it.

Who Are The Texas Rangers?

If you want to become a Texas Ranger, it’d be best if you knew a little bit about who they are and where they come from. 

The Texas Ranger Division was founded in 1823 when Stephen F. Austin organized ten men to protect newly settled families that arrived in Texas (then still part of Mexico) after the Mexican War of Independence. 

Now, the Texas Rangers are Texas’ state bureau of investigation, meaning that it has a similar role in Texas that the FBI does at a national level.  They are involved in investigating murder and corruption, bringing fugitives to justice, riot control, protecting political figures, and more.

Basic Requirements To Become A Texas Ranger

Before you let yourself get carried away, you’d better check that you meet the minimum requirements first.  These are:

  • You must be a United States citizen – this includes naturalized citizens, so foreign birth isn’t a dealbreaker, as long as you have obtained US citizenship.
  • You must be a current employee of the Texas Department of Public Safety (the umbrella organization that directs and controls all law enforcement agencies in Texas) and a commissioned officer with the rank of Trooper II or above.  Becoming a Texas State Trooper has its own requirements, some of which overlap with those of becoming a Texas Ranger.
  • You must have eight or more years of experience conducting major crime investigations with a bona fide law enforcement agency.  Note that military police experience does not count toward this requirement.
  • You must be in excellent physical condition.
  • You must have a valid Texas driver’s license without any restrictions that could prevent you from performing your duties.

The good news about these requirements is that all of them are achievable if you don’t meet them.  If you have your heart set on becoming a Texas Ranger, you can work towards meeting these requirements.

What Kind Of Person Do You Need To Be To Become A Texas Ranger?

We’ve talked about the minimum requirements set by law, but that’s only the start of what it takes to become a Texas Ranger.  In reality, someone who meets those requirements but nothing else isn’t going to make the cut. 

The Texas Rangers aren’t an ordinary law enforcement unit, and they don’t take just anybody.  To put it into perspective, there are only 166 Texas Rangers in all of Texas, a state with a population of around 30 million. 

It’s not unknown for over 100 hopefuls to apply for one job opening as a Ranger, and if they don’t think any of these applicants is the right person for the job, then they might not hire any of them. 

All this is to say that Texas Rangers are a cut above.  With that in mind, what do you need to do to distinguish yourself and join their ranks?

1. Show Initiative And The Ability To Work Independently

As we just said, there are only 166 Texas Rangers, and they split the many responsibilities of the Rangers between them.  This means that a Texas Ranger needs to be able to handle any situation without being told what to do by a superior. 

Rangers often work with limited supervision, including when they have to work with other law enforcement agencies.  This is a large part of the reason why Rangers are required to have 8 years of service in criminal investigation before they’re even considered as Rangers. 

The experience gained by doing that is what gives them the confidence to handle any situation by themselves if need be.

2. Have A Great Track Record

It sounds obvious to say that you need to show you’re something special before the Rangers hire you, but it really can’t be overstated. 

Conduct successful investigations and go above and beyond the call of duty whenever you can, and your chances of impressing the Rangers enough to let them hire you will multiply. 

There’s not a set list of achievements that you have to cross off here – what stellar performance looks like will vary depending on what your role is – but the Rangers know talent and hard work when they see it.

3. Ace The Written And Oral Examinations

You didn’t think that joining the Rangers would just take a job interview, did you?  Well, that’s certainly not the case. 

The candidates who get the highest scores on the written examination will then go to the oral examination board.  It is this board that makes the final decision on whether or not you can become a Texas Ranger.

4. Have The Right Heart For The Job

This requirement is the vaguest and hardest to measure, but don’t think that means you can fake it.  The only real reason that the ideal candidate should want to become a Ranger is to do good in the world and make it a better place.

Having the right heart for the job isn’t just about your motivation for doing it, though.  It’s also about having the determination to keep working hard at all times. 

Ranger work takes a lot of drive, commitment and sacrifice, and unless you’re willing to go all-in on the job, then it’s probably not the one for you.  

5. Pass A Background Check

Before they decide to hire a candidate, the Rangers will conduct a thorough check into their background, and the results of this check must show good character and uprightness. 

Criminal convictions, for example, will almost certainly exclude you from becoming a Ranger.

Final Thoughts

So, now you know what it takes to become a Texas Ranger.  You’ve seen that there are a lot of requirements, from basic things like being a US citizen to more complex things like having the right heart and experience for the job. 

Very few people ever manage to become Texas Rangers but if you have your heart set on it, then start by making sure that you meet all the requirements laid out in this article. 

It might be difficult, but if you’re the right candidate, then there’s no reason it shouldn’t be you!

Robert Miller