Becoming a Fish and Game Warden

It is the responsibility of fish and game warden to ensure that all codes and rules and regulations are met pertinent to fish and wildlife. These professionals are required to perform several law enforcement tasks like:

  • Tracking and Investigating Wildlife Crimes
  • Managing Wildlife Population
  • Conducting Search & Rescue Operation
  • Developing Educational & Informational Content for the Public
  • Assisting and Preparing Reports Pertinent to Damage Caused by Wildlife
  • Compiling Biological Data
  • Ensuring Public Safety from Wildlife in Populated Areas
  • Assisting With Conservation Programs

If you wish to understand how to become a Fish and Game Warden, then here is some information that might help you.
Here is a list of duties that these officials perform:

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Fish and Game Warden Career Guide
Fish and Game Warden
Task Description
Operating Equipment Running, maneuvering, navigating or driving vehicles such as forklifts, aircrafts or watercrafts
Communicating within and outside the organization Staying in touch with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, government, public and other such sources
Making decisions and solving problems Analyzing information and deducing results to find the best solution to the organization’s problems
Getting Information Observing, researching, receiving and recording information from various sources
Ensuring Safety Patrol natural areas to ensure safety of the wildlife and public
Investigating Accidents Analyzing accidents and determining their causes in relevance to nature and wildlife
Protecting Wildlife By ensuring all relevant regulations are being followed to protect and preserve native wildlife, plants and ecosystems

*Source: O*NET OnLine

How to become a Fish and Game Warden?

To be a Fish and Game Warden, there are certain educational requirements you need to fulfill, followed by specific trainings and workshops. Here is an overview of how to become a Fish and Game Warden:

Minimum Age Requirement 18 to 21 years
Education Required Associate’s Degree
Preferred Major Wildlife Management/Criminal Justice
Experience Required for Entry-Level Jobs None
Duration of Training Required 3 to 12 Months
Average Mean Salary (2021-2031) $ 58,190 per year

To become a Fish and Game Warden, a bachelor’s degree is typically enough. However, some states might waive off this education requirement if candidates possess an associate degree along with some law enforcement experience of a full-time fish and wildlife experience. The number of applicants for these jobs is usually much higher than the number of available jobs, so the competition is pretty tough. A four year bachelor’s degree might help give an applicant edge over fellow applicants. Once an applicant is selected, he/she is required to undergo intensive training for three to twelve months.

Other requirements for entering this field include good health and physical shape and a solid familiarity with the outdoors, nature, animals and in particular, Fish and Wildlife Code. The law enforcement policy and procedures must be studied and updated regularly. For further information, you can contact your state’s Department of Fish and Game.

Career Outlook for Fish and Game Wardens

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2021, there is no change in employment of fish and game wardens between 2021 and 2031. While there is projected employment of 6,700 employees by 2031, it will mainly be due to retirement or job change. Below are the states with the highest employment level in Fish and Game Wardens:

State Employment
Florida 680
Texas 490
New York 380
Tennessee 350
California 290

*Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Titles for Fish and Game Wardens

Whether you choose to work in these areas or elsewhere, there are plenty of job titles that you might want to look into. Possible job titles for this career include:

  • Conservation Officer
  • Wildlife Control Agent
  • Wildlife Enforcement Officer
  • Wildlife Officer
  • Refugee Officer

The potential for promotion in this field is pretty good. The typical hierarchy goes something like this:

Special Agent → Resident Agent in Charge → Assistant Special Agent in Charge → Special Agent in Charge → Chief of Law Enforcement

Salary Data for Fish and Game Wardens

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage for this occupation in 2021 was $ 58,190. The top paying states for Fish and Game Wardens are:

State Annual Mean Wage
New Jersey $82,400
California $82,120
Washington $78,080
Illinois $76,800
Hawaii $72,530

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021)

Work Environment for Fish and Game Wardens

One of the most important factors in any job hunt is the kind of work environment that the organization offers. This has a huge impact on your learning and overall output, and is therefore very important. For Fish and Game Wardens, the work environment typically involves the following:

  • Working in an enclosed vehicle or equipment almost on a daily basis
  • Being accessible through telephone all the time, coordinating tasks, giving updates and reports via the phone
  • Working in the outdoors, even in harsh weather conditions is an integral part of the job that most people in this field get to experience quite often
  • Dealing with external customers is an important part of a Fish and Game Warden’s job, so people skills come in very handy for these professionals
  • Dealing with lots of electronic mail is also a part of the job. Most of the communications for projects are done via electronic mail, so having a good knowledge of this system is mandatory

Bear in mind that managing intelligently in dangerous situations is a necessary skill. The job can sometimes put you into life-threatening situations, with wild animals or poisonous plants. So you need to be prepared to take on these challenges before you decide to enter this field.

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Frequently Ask Question

Question: What is the absolute minimum education requirement for becoming a Fish and Game Warden?

Answer: The educational requirements to become a Fish and Game Warden vary according to the state and the agency you plan on joining. Some states or agencies might think that a high school diploma or a GED is enough, you might have to get an Associate’s or a Bachelor’s degree to meet educational requirements for other agencies and jobs. If you want information on how to become a fish and game warden, read our article.