COSA Advice on building credentials


I apologize if anyone considers this inappropriate for this forum, but I know you are the right professionals to answer my questions, so I figured I would try.

I am looking for career advice. I have been a civilian park ranger for most of my career, and more recently had the title Natural Resource Specialist for two years. Because of my family’s needs, I resigned from that position about 16 months ago.

So now I am an "at-home parent" of elementary-aged children, and I have had the opportunity to take a few adjunct teaching assignments in biology. Currently I also volunteer at my daughter’s outdoor school, and am working with their staff on a local ecosystem demonstration landscaping project.

When I return to full-time work (or part-time in the nearer future), I would like to be more on the side of planning, landscaping, and ecosystem restoration. I have a B.A. in Biology and M.S. in Recreation (from Virginia Tech, where it is housed in the Forestry Department and is natural resource based).

I am looking for advice on how to build my credentials so that I can be more competitive for planning, landscape design, and/or restoration jobs in the future. I am a bit limited by location – I am in Colorado Springs, and could not commute to Denver regularly to pursue a Landscape Architecture degree at DU. My brief internet search has not turned up any promising landscape architecture programs online, although there are some Landscape Design and AutoCAD classes that look promising.

I would love any advice you can offer on what you look for when you are hiring these types of positions, and/or any accredited, legitimate online programs or certifications with which you are familiar that might help me to be more competitive in the future. Thank you for your time!

Melissa McCormick