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 Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that fish and game wardens earn an average annual wage of $50,470.1 The top 90 percentile earn an annual wage of $71,510.1

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References:
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes333031.htm

Page Edited by Charles Sipe.