If you love being outdoors and working in nature, becoming a game warden might be an interesting career for you to consider. Game wardens work in areas like parks, reserves, and forests to ensure that the public respects wildlife rules and regulations.
Game wardens, also called conservation wardens, are law enforcement officers who patrol outdoor areas to ensure that hunting and fishing regulations are obeyed. Their duties also include accident investigation, public education and search and rescue operations. State game wardens may hold an associate's degree, while those at the federal level need a bachelor's degree. Post-hiring training at an academy is required as well.
|Required Education||Associate's or bachelor's degree in law enforcement, wildlife management or another relevant field|
|Other Requirements||Training academy program; on-the-job training may be required|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||2%|
|Median Annual Salary (2015)*||$52,780|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Game Warden Degree Information
Related majors for this career field may include wildlife management, biological sciences, law enforcement or natural resources management. Some of these undergraduate degree programs also provide a concentration or specialization in conservation law enforcement. Coursework in these programs prepares students for this multifaceted career by blending police training with wildlife preservation skills. Courses may include parks and recreation, land-use management, natural resources policy, legal investigation tactics, patrol procedures, self-defense and criminal law.
Game Warden Training Program Information
Game wardens are also law enforcement officers, according to the BLS, which means they need specialized training. State and federal training requirements vary. In most cases, after being hired, game wardens start out as cadets. One of the first training programs usually includes basic law enforcement training. In these programs, students learn about general policing skills, which could include courses such as traffic enforcement, crisis intervention, law and police duties.
Additional training programs are often required. For example, game wardens need firearms training, and this training may or may not be included in basic training programs. Workers may also need to complete specific game warden training programs, which can include formal training programs or informal on-the-job training. Topics covered during game warden training may include search and rescue tactics, wildlife laws, evidence collection procedures and report writing. Workers also receive training about enforcing the laws for game hunters.
Game Warden Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The BLS projected an increase of about 100 jobs for fish and game wardens from 2014 to 2024, which represents a 2% increase. This is a slower growth rate than the average for all occupations during this period. As of May 2015, the BLS reported that the median salary for fish and game wardens was $52,780.
Besides a love for nature, game wardens need to have an undergraduate degree in a relevant field like wildlife management or enforcement. Game wardens also need to complete a specialized training program like basic police training. More job preparation may be had through on-the-job training, a specialized game warden training program and firearms training.