How to Become a Fish and Game Warden

Fish and game wardens or conservation officers are peace officers that are commissioned in the state in which they perform their job duties. They ensure that the Fish and Wildlife Code in their state is enforced, and they also implement the fishing, boating and hunting laws of the state and any federal laws that pertain to these activities. Duties include seizing items that are related to infringements of the Fish and Wildlife Code, including fish, game, or illegal equipment. They also assist other law enforcement groups when wildlife, such as cougars, bears, or coyotes, inadvertently wander into residential areas. They also assist in search and rescue operations. Fish and game wardens are uniformed officers who carry firearms.

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Fish and Game Warden Requirements

The age requirement for fish and game wardens is 21 years of age in most states; however, the minimum age in some states is 18 years of age. They must have a bachelor’s degree, but some states will waive this education requirement if the applicant has a two-year associate’s degree program in addition to law enforcement experience or full-time fish and/or wildlife experience. As there are usually more applicants for fish and game warden positions than there are job openings, a four-year degree can give an applicant an edge over other applicants. Once a person is selected to become a fish and game warden, he or she undergoes further study at a training academy for approximately 3 to 12 months.

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In addition to a degree, fish and game wardens must also be in good physical shape, familiarize themselves with the outdoors and the laws contained in the Fish and Wildlife Code, and study law enforcement policy and procedures. As this is a law enforcement position, expect a background check and polygraph in most states.

How to Become a Fish and Game Warden

  1. To become a Game Warden, you must have or get the right education level for your state.
  2. Understand if you qualify for other dimensions outlined (e.g., minimum age by state requirements).
  3. Contact your state’s Department of Fish and Game, e.g., http://wdfw.wa.gov/enforcement/careers/howtoapply.html.
  4. Request free info from a school below if you need to attain the minimum education requirement. Featured schools have online programs for best flexibility of working while getting your degree.

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Fish and Game Warden Salary

The median annual wages in 2008 for fish and game wardens were $48,930. The salary ranges between $37,500 and $61,290. The lowest ten percent of fish and game wardens earned less than $30,400.00 and the highest ten percent earned more than $81,710. Median annual wages were $48,960 for fish and game wardens employed by the federal government, $50,440 for those employed by the state, and $35,810 for fish and game wardens employed by the local government.

Fish & Game Related Degrees from Accredited Criminal Justice Schools

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Penn Foster Schools
Campuses: 1Online
Popular Degrees:

  • Wildlife & Forestry Conservation

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American InterContinental University Online
Campuses: 1Online
Popular Degrees:

  • Bachelor's of Science in Criminal Justice - Law Enforcement

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California University of Pennsylvania
Campuses: 1Online
Popular Degrees:

  • Land Management (Bachelor of Arts)
  • Land Management (Certificate)
  • MA in Social Science (Applied Criminology)

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Walden University
Campuses: 1Online
Popular Degrees:

  • M.S. in Management - Sustainable Management
  • B.S. in Human Services - Criminal Justice 
  • Ph.D. in Social Work - Criminal Justice

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Virginia College
Campuses: 1Online
Popular Degrees:

  • MS - Criminal Justice
  • BS - Criminal Justice

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Keiser University
Campuses: 1Online
Popular Degrees:

  • Criminal Justice, BA
  • Criminal Justice, AA

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Grand Canyon University
Campuses: 1Online
Popular Degrees:

  • M.S. in Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement
  • B.S. in Justice Studies
  • B.S. in Elementary Education: Science (Leads to initial teacher licensure)

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Colorado Technical University Online
Campuses: 1Online
Popular Degrees:

  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice: Human Services
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice

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Liberty University
Campuses: 1Online
Popular Degrees:

  • BS in Criminal Justice
  • AA in Criminal Justice
  • Masters in Criminal Justice: Command College

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Capella University
Campuses: 1Online
Popular Degrees:

  • MS - Criminal Justice
  • PhD - Criminal Justice
  • BS - Criminal Justice

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Page Edited by Charles Sipe.