Ranger Physical Ability Test

Park rangers have many unique responsibilities, some of which can be physically demanding and dangerous, including law enforcement activities. A park ranger’s capability to perform those functions can affect personal and public safety. Physical fitness underlies a park ranger’s ability to perform many aspects of the job. The minimum fitness standards identified below are the requisite levels for a ranger to effectively learn the frequent and critical job motor skills.

The physical ability test (PAT) is comprised of four tests, listed in the typical order it is administered:

  • Sit-ups (one minute timed)
  • Maximum push-ups (no time limit)
  • 1.5-mile run / walk
  • 300-meter run


Self-directed warm-up may consist of:

  • General warm-up is 2 to 3 minutes of easy jogging, jumping jacks, etc.
  • Stretching for 5 to 7 minutes, including stretches for shoulders, back, upper and lower legs.



This test measures the muscular strength/endurance of the abdominal muscles, which are used in self-defense and high intensity arrest-simulation training. Further, these muscles are important for performing tasks that involve the use of force, and it helps maintain good posture and minimize lower back problems.

Score in repetitions: 30 – 38 Mean: 34


  • Lie on back, knees bent, heels flat on the floor. Hands should be held behind the head, with elbows out to the sides. A partner holds down the feet.
  • In the up position, the elbows must touch the knees and then return to the lying position (fingers must touch the examiner's hand) before starting the next sit-up.
  • Perform as many correct sit-ups as possible in one minute.



This test measures the muscular strength/endurance of the upper body muscles in the shoulders, chest, and back of the upper arms (the triceps) used in high intensity self defense and arrest simulation training. This is important for use of force involving pushing motion breaking one’s fall to the ground, use of the baton, etc.

Score in repetitions: 21 – 35 Mean: 28


  • Get down on the floor in the front leaning rest position and perform one test push-up to properly locate the foam cube (4 in. held by fitness instructor) at the costal arch and above the zyphoid.
  • Lower body until the foam cube is slightly compressed and arms are at least parallel to the floor then pushes up again. The back must be kept straight, and in each extension up, the elbows should lock. Resting in the up position (only) is allowed.



This test is a measure of cardio-respiratory endurance (or aerobic capacity) used in extended control and defensive tactics training. This is important for performing tasks involving stamina and endurance (pursuits, searches, prolonged use of force situations, etc.) and for minimizing the risk of cardiovascular health problems.

Score: 13:35 – 14:31 Mean: 14:02



This test measures anaerobic capacity used in high intensity baton and defensive tactics training, and is important for performing short intense bursts of effort such as foot pursuits, rescues and use of force situations.

Score in seconds: 56 – 71 Mean: 62.5

Scoring the PAT battery

The PAT score for each test item is recorded and added on the individual participant’s sheet. The passing score is 160, with the range of scores for each test between 30 and 50.

Example: The below measures are merely for illustration and are only approximate values.

  • 34 sit-ups = 40 points
  • 38 push-ups = 50 points (note that 35 push-ups and above receives the same maximum points)
  • 1.5-mile run completed in 14:31 = 30 points
  • 300-meter dash completed in 60 seconds = 45 points

The example shown above totals 165 points. The total possible PAT battery score is 200 points.

Participants who score below the 30-point level have failed the test but will be allowed to continue on the other test items with the option to re-test on any of the following: sit-ups and push-ups. Participants who scores above the 50-point level on a given test item will not be awarded more than that 50 points to apply towards the other test items.