Learn How to Become a Fish and Game Warden
1) While earning a college degree is not required by every state's fish and game/wildlife department, many fish and game wardens have found that a college degree has made them better at their jobs and also set them apart from other job candidates.
The most common degrees held by fish and game wardens are a Bachelor's Degree in Biology, Bachelor's in Environmental Science, or a Bachelor's in Criminal Justice.
2) Contact your state's Department of Fish and Game to review their specific requirements, and find out when their test dates are.
Fish and Game Warden Duties
Fish and game wardens are most often commissioned peace officers in the state they work in. Fish and game wardens patrol lakes, rivers, beaches, wetlands, coastlines and deserts. Their primary duty is to enforce their state's Fish and Wildlife code and all state and federal boating, hunting and fishing laws. Fish and game wardens may also be responsible for seizure of the fish, game or equipment associated with violations of the Fish and Wildlife Code.
Game wardens also present educational programs to the public, provide assistance to other law enforcement agencies, and ensure public safety when there are concerns regarding mountain lions, bears, coyotes, cougars and other types of wildlife in populated areas. Fish and game wardens wear uniforms and carry a firearm.
Fish and Game Warden Requirements
In a Hurry? Request free information from select online Criminal Justice and related bachelor's (4-year) degree programs.
The requirements to become a game warden vary slightly from state to state. Most states require applicants to be at least 21 years old, but a few states allow game wardens to be 18. Fish and game wardens must not have any felonies, must have a valid driver's license, be in good physical condition and be a United States citizen. Special agents with state Fish and Wildlife Departments often need a 4-year college degree. A 2-year associate's degree with full-time fish and/or wildlife experience or law enforcement experience may substitute for the 4-year college degree requirement in some states.
Job growth in this career is projected to be very modest as there are far more individuals seeking game warden jobs than there are jobs. By earning a 4-year degree, you may set yourself apart from many other job applicants.
In addition to earning a degree, other steps that will help you develop the skills you need to become a game warden are the following:
- Staying in good physical shape
- Gaining a knowledge of the outdoors and outdoor activities
- Studying natural-resource laws and law enforcement techniques
- Finding a summer internship in resource management, outdoor recreation or law enforcement
- Becoming a state law enforcement agent
Fish and Game Warden Salary
Now that you know how to become a game warden, you're probably wondering about game warden salaries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2012-13 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median national annual salary for fish and game wardens is $48,070. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.
The BLS also reports that the states with the highest concentration of fish and game wardens are Florida, California, Georgia, Texas and Tennessee.
Request free information from the schools below to find out how earning a degree can help you become a game warden.
Online Criminal Justice Schools
- BSCJ - Law Enforcement (Online)
- MSCJ - Law (Online)
- Bachelor of Arts - Law Enforcement Administration (Online)
- Bachelor's - Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement (Online)
- Bachelor of Science - Criminal Justice - Law Enforcement (Online)
- Bachelor's in Criminal Justice - Police (Online)
- Bachelor of Science - Public Administration: Law Enforcement
- Master's in Criminal Justice with Federal Law Enforcement Specialization (Online)
- M.S. in Criminal Justice - Law Enforcement (Online)