Ranger Physical Ability Test

Updated January 2021

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 these 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 three tests, listed in the typical order it is administered:

1. Push-up Test - 90 seconds to complete 20 push-ups

Purpose

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 the pushing motion i.e., breaking ones’ fall to the ground, use of the baton, etc.

Procedure  

  • 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).
  • Lower body until the foam cube is lightly compressed and arms are at leas 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.
  • Perform at least 20 push-ups in 90 seconds to pass. 

2. Sit-up Test - 90 seconds to complete 25 sit-ups.

Purpose

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.

Procedure 

  • 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 at least 25 sit-ups in 90 seconds to pass.

3. Squat Thrusts - 3 minutes to complete 35 squat thrusts to pass.

Purpose 

This test measures anaerobic capacity while utilizing nearly every major muscle group.  This test is important to show the ability to get up off the ground multiple times in a row, which is necessary in defensive tactics training and other job-related duties.

Procedure 

  • Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides. 
  • Push hips back and bend your knees, squat down, and place your hands on the floor in front of you, shoulder-width apart. 
  • Keeping your hands in place, back flat, and core engaged, kick your feet back to a plank position: arms and body straight, hands in line with and slightly wider than your shoulders. 
  • Reverse the sequence to return to the starting position. 
  • Perform at least 35 in 3 minutes to pass.

Scoring the PAT Test

The PAT score for each test element is scored as pass/fail.  You must pass all 3 elements in the correct order to pass the PAT. 

You can watch a video demonstration of the updated PAT testing process on WA State Criminal Justice Training Commission’s website: Update To The Physical Ability Test (PAT) (wa.gov).